WWE culls wrestling roster due to COVID-19-related cutbacks

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc (WWE) has decided to terminate contracts with several of its wrestlers in order to keep the business up and running.

It looks like even the mighty WWE can’t escape the colossal economic effects brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.  Various sports leagues have been assessing their financial condition to determine if it is still viable to continue the season or cut it short and the WWE is no exception.

WWE tightens its belt

The WWE is well known for its stable of superstars, including such legendary figures as Andre the Giant, Hulk Hogan, John Cena, The Rock, and others. The company has been evaluating several business strategies to try to maintain its operations during this time of economic crisis and has ultimately decided to cut some of its “talent expenses.”

To that end, the WWE is terminating the contracts of several of its wrestlers as well as furloughing office employees. The company has yet to say exactly how many of its wrestlers are being given their pink slips, but the list reportedly runs the gamut and includes former champions and newcomers alike.

The mass termination comes fresh on the heels of the WWE resuming both its weekly broadcast from the WWE Performance Center as well as Wrestlemania 36 – both without a live audience for the first time ever.

22 WWE wrestlers with terminated contracts

As mentioned previously, the WWE isn’t providing a lot of detail about which wrestlers are being let go. Here is a partial list of confirmed WWE terminations:

  • Kurt Angle
  • Drake Maverick
  • Karl Anderson
  • EC3
  • Lio Rush
  • Curt Hawkins
  • Eric Young
  • Heath Slater
  • Luke Gallows
  • Aiden English
  • Sarah Logan
  • Mike Chioda (referee)
  • Rowan
  • Epico
  • Primo
  • Mike Kanellis
  • Maria Kanellis
  • Zack Ryder
  • No Way Jose
  • Rusev
  • Aleksandar Jaksic
  • Deonna Purrazzo

In addition, Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder – better known as the tag team The Revival – were released from their contract on April 10.

WWE Chairman-led XFL files for bankruptcy

In related news, the XFL, a professional football league started by WWE chairman Vince McMahon to fill in the void between the Superbowl and the start of the NFL pre-season, filed for bankruptcy last week.

This was McMahon’s second attempt at a professional football league. The first, also called the XFL, was started in 2001. Feeling that the NFL had become too dull, he thought that by blending elements of professional wrestling with those of football would give fans the excitement they craved.

Fans disagreed, however, and due to poor attendance at games as well as plummeting television ratings, the league shut down after just one season.

Images courtesy of WWE/YouTube Screenshot

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