World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) like every other major wrestling company only ever seems to make headlines in the mainstream media when its involved in controversy. In all honesty they do not help themselves in the best of times. The company’s recent dealings with Saudi Arabi have been a PR nightmare. Especially after the Kingdom of Saudi Arabi allegedly ordered the assassination of Saudi journalists and critic of the Saudi government Jamal Khashoggi inside the country’s consulate in Istanbul, Turkey in 2018. Despite this WWE still decided to run one of their biannual shows in Saudi Arabi shortly after per the ten-year contract signed between WWE and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This is without mentioning the countries horrendous stance when it comes to the rights of woman and the LGBT community. All this has even made many of the wrestlers in the company refuse to travel to these shows because of the views and actions of the Saudi government and other reasons such as religious beliefs on the wrestler’s end.
Unfortunately, these shows go ahead for the simple reason that Saudi Arabi are paying WWE huge money to put these massive shows on in their country. If you watch any of the shows its pretty much a glorified propaganda piece aimed at Western civilization to show them how advanced and committed to change Saudi Arabia supposedly is. The whole situation stinks of greed on the part of WWE and the mainstream media rightfully picked up on it and called out the company.
Once again greed is a factor in the latest gross move taken by the company. Everyone has felt the effect of Covid – 19 even a global business-like WWE. Recently they had to move their biggest show of the year Wrestlemania in an almost 70,000-seater football stadium in Tampa to their training facility in Orlando behind closed doors. Losing the company an estimated $20 million. WWE CEO Vince McMahons XFL had to declare bankruptcy recently which you can read more about on our website cheap plug. Following that former XFL Commissioner Oliver Luck is suing McMahon personally for wrongful termination this has left McMahon business reputation in tatters.
Just to add to this bad press WWE last week decided to have the biggest mass firings of on screen, behind the scene and office talent in the history of the company. The releases are reported to be in the hundreds (Estimated 40% of the company) and has left all these people without a job adding to their stress in the current climate. Also, with every other major wrestling company not running shows due to Covid – 19 its left many of these employees without any other companies to go and work with. This was a deliberate and petty move on the part of WWE as a lot of the talent that just got cut asked for their releases to go elsewhere before this pandemic and it was rejected. If the original release requests got accepted a few months ago they could of went to work for the likes of AEW, New Japan, NWA, TNA, MLW and Ring of Honour instead of just been left out in the cold with no options.
The disgusting part of all of this is the fact they did not have to do it. McMahon himself recently announced to investors that WWE had $500 million in cash reserves to support itself. That is without the giant television deals it has with the USA Network from their weekly Raw and NXT shows and Fox for their weekly Smackdown show. Despite relocating Wrestlemania, no fans attending any shows and falling ratings the company is still making profit.
The company held its quarterly earnings report call where they report their earnings, outgoings and other such financial information to their investors and the media. The timing of these releases and this report has not been lost on people. Now with hundreds of less employees earning a wage from the company its just going to be used as more evidence that the company is not spending too much money to ease investors fears during this pandemic. With WWE saving a reported $700,000 a month with these cuts.
This is a company that just paid a 53-year-old Goldberg $1 million for a month’s work that involved mostly talking segments and about ten minutes of actual wrestling. Which is not his fault he just accepted an opportunity that all of us would in that given situation. It is not a company that scrapping the barrel to pay its staff its making money hand over fist through many ways even during this pandemic.
I know people are quick to scoff at anything wrestling related, but it was a dark and sad day in the history of WWE. It showed a real lack of loyalty to the talent that break their backs for the company day in and day out. The talent that continued to travel and perform at shows set behind closed doors at the WWE Performance Centre after WWE has deemed an essential service by the state of Florida putting their and their family’s health at serious risk. Some who do not even live in Florida have now gone weeks and even months without seeing their family. Instead living in Florida during the pandemic just to wrestle for McMahon. Every wrestling fan will tell you wrestling is fun and great escape especially in these trying times, but it is certainly not essential.
Here is the list of on screen and notable talent let go by the company on what is now being called Black Wednesday. This is without naming all the talented behind the scene staff that now find themselves out of work.
Main Roster Talent:
Drake Maverick (James Curtin)
Curt Hawkins (Brian Myers) – Has a baby on the way
Karl Anderson (Chad Allegra)
Luke Gallows (Drew Hankinson)
Heath Slater (Heath Miller) – 14-year veteran
Aiden English (Matthew Rehwoldt)
Eric Young (Jeremy Fritz)
EC3 (Michael Hutter)
Kurt Angle – Hall of Famer
Sarah Logan (Sarah Rowe)
Mike Chioda (Referee) – Working with WWE since 1989
Primo (Edwin Colon)
Epico (Orlando Colon Nieves)
Rowan (Joseph Ruud)
Mike Kanellis (Mike Bennett) – Just became a father again
Maria Kanellis – Just had a baby 5 months ago with husband Mike Kanellis
Zack Ryder (Matthew Cardona) – 15-year veteran
No Way Jose (Levis Valenzuela)
Rusev (Miroslav Barnyashev)
Taynara Conti (Taynara Melo de Carvalho)
Tino Sabbatelli (Sabatino Piscitelli)
Nick Ogarelli (Nick Comoroto)
Mars Wang (Xiaolong Wang)
Dorian Mak (Dan Matha) – In a bad car crash days before release
Lio Rush (Lionel Green)
Kassius Ohno (Chris Spradlin)
Producers and coaches that have been furloughed by the company meaning they have been released but could come back.
Dave (Fit) Finlay – With WWE 18 years
Shane (Hurricane) Helms
Scott Armstrong – With WWE 14 years
Ace Steel (Chris Guy)
Kendo Kashin (Tokimitsu Ishizawa)