There was a time, very recently in fact, that WWE would keep superstars under contract and even offer contracts for more money to people knowing they’re not going to be used. Now, the situation is different and amid a global pandemic and a football league folding, WWE is putting people on furlough and releasing them from their contracts.
WWE did just that as they “future endeavored” at least 15 wrestlers (with more to come) on Wednesday, which is part of their overall cost cutting structure. Those released include, but are not limited to, Drake Maverick, EC3, Karl Anderson, hall of famer Kurt Angle, Lio Rush, Luke Gallows, referee Mike Chioda, Rowan, and Sarah Logan. In addition, at least nine producers have either been furloughed or released. This comes off the heels of Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson of The Revival having their requested release granted as they had been wanting out for a while.
This week, it was revealed that WWE, and all sports were deemed an “essential” by Florida governor Ron DeSantis. Vince McMahon’s announcement last week about WWE going back to doing live shows came a day after the pro-Donald Trump America First PAC pledged $18.5 million to the Tampa and Orlando area. WWE films their shows in their Performance Center in Orlando while Vince’s wife, Linda, runs America First.
There is a potential silver lining for these released performers. If independent promotions can survive the COVID-19 epidemic, hopefully these people can find themselves work for the foreseeable future. That’s a big unknown for the time being however. And you also got bigger promotions like AEW, who has recently shut down production and probably not looking at signing too many people, might be interested. No matter what, it’s not a great day for the pro wrestling industry.
UPDATE: Rusev tweeted a thank you to indicate he has been released.
Thank you All, Rusev out!
— Miro (@RusevBUL) April 15, 2020