Vince McMahon has had a terrible week. Between the XFL shutting down and plans for WWE 2K21 being canceled, he has lost a large amount of money in a short amount of time. The impact of COVID-19 caught up with McMahon’s flagship company, World Wrestling Entertainment, today as well. Despite continuing to hold performances, including WrestleMania, in front of no fans during the pandemic, the financial burdens could not be overcome as WWE released a host of employees and in-ring performers.
WWE Announces Major Employee Releases
Many WWE employees who don’t have that luxury lost their jobs today.
Talent, producers, ring crew and special effects workers alike were all subject to an immediate release from their contracts, leaving them without jobs and without pay.
As many wrestling fans probably know, most WWE contracts are not guaranteed. You have to wrestle to get paid, and when they are done with you, they can cut your contract off immediately and will owe you nothing.
Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, that is exactly what happened to a large list of people, which I’m sure will keep growing through-out the day.
What This Means for NXT
Questions remain unanswered regarding the plans for NXT talent. It was announced that they would all be receiving 30 days of pay and then are “free to do what they want.”
I have no idea what this means.
Does it mean they can stay in NXT and ride out the storm if they want, or go talk with AEW and IMPACT to see what they offer before coming back? How long will they have to make this choice, and most importantly does it apply to everyone?
You can’t seriously tell me Triple H is going to let the likes of Adam Cole, Velveteen Dream, Tommaso Ciampa, Johnny Gargano, Keith Lee, Pete Dunne, Io Shari, and the rest of the incredible main eventers go because of Coronavirus?
What if one or two of the members of Undisputed Era decide they want to leave, and now the most consistent thing you have had on your show for the last two years is suddenly gone?
There will be more news coming out on this throughout the coming days, so stay tuned for a follow up article when everything is more clear.
Released On Screen Talent
As of now, the on screen talent that have been released for sure includes:
- Kurt Angle
- Drave Maverick
- Zach Ryder
- Curt Hawkins
- Karl Anderson
- Luke Gallows
- Heath Slater
- Eric Young
- Erick Rowan
- Sarah Logan
- No Way Jose
- Mike & Maria Kanellis
- Mike Chioda
- Deonna Purrazzo
- Aiden English
- Lio Rush
- Jerry Soto
WWE called each superstar individually to inform them of their release. The only comment they have made publicly was their signature, “We wish them all the best in their future endeavors” in the form of a tweet.
Future In Question for Ex-Superstars
These superstars range from incredibly successful careers, to life long middle card men, to talent that just never got the right break. I would expect to see some of the bigger names pop up on AEW or IMPACT, among other promotions, but this may be the end of the road for others.
WWE horded talent, and letting unused talent be free is usually something that is celebrated in the wrestling community, but no one ever wants to see it come about this way.
Whatever happens next, I do truly wish them the best of luck.
Here are some of the former WWE Superstars who have already weighed in with their thoughts