WWE Releases Superstars and Producers in Cost-Cutting Measure
The coronavirus pandemic has hit every industry, and pro wrestling is not immune. Early Wednesday afternoon, WWE announced it will be cutting costs and working to improve cash flow.
The announcement reads, "Given the uncertainty of the situation, the Company also identified headcount reductions and made the decision to furlough a portion of its workforce effective immediately. The decision to furlough versus permanently reduce headcount reflects the fact that the Company currently believes the furlough will be temporary in nature."
The Vince McMahon-led corporation began making an announcement of talent being released on its website. A running list has been regularly updated during the course of the day, but the current list of names includes: Kurt Angle, Drake Maverick (James Curtin), Curt Hawkins (Brian Myers), Karl Anderson (Chad Allegra), Luke Gallows (Drew Hankinson), Heath Slater (Heath Miller), Eric Young (Jeremy Fritz), EC3 (Michael Hutter), Aiden English (Matthew Rehwoldt), Lio Rush (Lionel Green) Rowan (Joseph Ruud) and Sarah Logan (Sarah Rowe).
In addition, a number of backstage producers have been wished well in their future endeavors.
BREAKING: WWE has come to terms on the release of Drake Maverick (James Curtin), Curt Hawkins (Brian Myers), Karl Anderson (Chad Allegra), EC3 (Michael Hutter) and Lio Rush (Lionel Green). We wish them all the best in their future endeavors. https://t.co/cX449nNSLU
— WWE (@WWE) April 15, 2020
To everyone on Gods green earth. Thank you for the kind words. I’ve been doing this for 46 years(Wrestling)I pray you all get through this and we can share a hug and drink again. Stay healthy. (SD)
— Fit Finlay (@ringfox1) April 15, 2020
Many of the names on the list are those who have not appeared regularly in WWE programming in recent weeks, including EC3, Eric Young, and Curt Hawkins. But others, like Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows, who were featured as recently as late March in WrestleMania's Boneyard Match, were more surprising. However, with no live events taking place, it seems tough choices had to be made to reduce the locker room. The names of the superstars who've been released have been trending on social media.
I knew I shouldn’t have answered that call. 😁🤷🏻♂️
— Hurricane Helms (@ShaneHelmsCom) April 15, 2020
Earlier in the week, WWE was officially deemed an “essential service” in Florida, allowing the crew to film SmackDown, Raw, NXT and other shows from its Performance Center. All Elite Wrestling (AEW) has its content very much in the can for the next few weeks leading into plans to air its Double or Nothing pay-per-view in a similar setting in May. This has been an especially rough week for McMahon, as the XFL was forced to file for bankruptcy.
The landscape of the business is sure to change as a result of recent developments. A lot of those who've been let go have the potential to do more than the opportunities they were receiving. The hard fact is there is only so much TV time and spots to fill it. However, guys like current WWE Champion Drew McIntyre have shown you can come back. It’s not necessarily the end of the road. The future is what you make it in this business.