NXT’s Candice LeRae Reportedly Departs WWE

NXT superstar Candice LeRae is reportedly gone from WWE following the expiration of her contract.

According to Fightful Select, LeRae is now a free agent, with her WWE contract having expired on May 6. This report comes after LeRae's profile on WWE's website was moved to the "Alumni" section, seemingly indicating that she was no longer with the company. Notably, WWE and NXT wrestlers whose contracts expire are not bound by the same non-compete clauses as those whose contracts are prematurely terminated. In other words, LeRae would be free to wrestle for another promotion straight away.

LeRae's husband, former NXT Champion Johnny Gargano, himself departed WWE back in December 2021 when his own contract expired. It was previously reported that LeRae's WWE contract was set to expire in spring 2022 and that she was not expected to return from maternity leave beforehand. LeRae gave birth to her and Gargano's first son, Quill, this past February.

With that in mind, while she is technically free to sign with another promotion as soon as she likes, it remains to be seen when exactly LeRae will return to wrestling. Gargano has not stepped back into the ring since his own WWE departure back in December, with the two seemingly putting the focus on their family for the time being.

WWE has yet to issue an official statement on LeRae's apparent departure. LeRae herself has also yet to directly address the matter, though her recent social media posts certainly lend credence to the reports. On Instagram, LeRae shared a photo of herself alongside fellow NXT alums Dakota Kai and Tegan Nox.

Kai was among the 10 NXT talents recently cut from WWE's roster on April 29. She is currently under a 30-day non-compete clause. Nox, meanwhile, was called up from NXT and joined WWE's main roster in July 2021. She was released from WWE the following November. Nox's 90-day non-compete clause would have expired this past February, though she has yet to turn up in another promotion.

LeRae made her professional wrestling debut in 2002. While she has wrestled for many promotions over the years, she is perhaps best known for her time in Pro Wrestling Guerrilla (PWG) from 2006 to 2016. LeRae debuted for WWE as a member of the NXT developmental brand in 2017.

While she was never officially called up to the main roster, LeRae did compete at the 2020 iteration of WWE's Royal Rumble pay-per-view. Later that year, LeRae and Gargano former The Way, an NXT stable consisting of Austin Theory, Indi Hartwell, Dexter Lumis and Persia Pirotta. The group disbanded in 2021 after LeRae announced her pregnancy, Gargano's contract expired and Theory was called up to the main roster. Lumis and Pirotta were later released from their contracts alongside the aforementioned Dakota Kai this past April.

Source: Fightful Select, via Cultaholic

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