KEY POINTS

  • WWE released a handful of in-ring talents and producers to reduce their operating expenses
  • COVID-19 and government-mandated guidelines were cited as the reasons for the budget cut
  • Some of the talents that were cut include Drake Maverick, Rusev, former GM Kurt Angle and long-time WWE referee Mike Chioda

World Wrestling Entertainment made a stunning announcement that they will be releasing a number of talents effective immediately. The move was made as part of the company’s plan to cut the budget and operating expenses.

According to a report from BusinessWire, WWE's decision was based on measures undertaken by the government to combat the coronavirus. The restrictions have already severely affected the promotion.

Aside from releasing some of their talents, the company is also considering trimming its consulting and third party staffing. They may also cut down on operating expenses and impose pay cuts on executives and board members. The construction of the new headquarters will likely be put on hold.

Some of the in-ring talents that were released include Rusev, Deonna Purrazzo, Erick Rowan, Zack Ryder, Curt Hawkins, Heath Slater, No Way Jose, Mike and Maria Kanellis, Lio Rush, Drake Maverick, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson of The O.C.

Former RAW General Manager Kurt Angle and longest-tenured WWE referee Mike Chioda were not immune to the WWE roster cut, as per Wrestling News reports.

WWE will be able to save around $4 million every month from the pay cuts and headcount reduction. There will also be an improved cash flow of $140 million in deferring their payment for the new headquarters.

The state of Florida has given the company the go-signal to continue their live shows despite the “Safer at Home” order as they classified WWE shows doing an “essential service,” noted CNN.

The decision to lay off talents came as a shock to a lot of fans when the announcement was done just a couple of weeks removed from Wrestlemania 36.

The annual pay-per-view event got positive feedback from the fans. Highlights of the organization's biggest event of the year included the Boneyard Match between The Undertaker and A. J. Styles, the Firefly Fun House match between John Cena and “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt, and Drew McIntyre’s victor over Brock Lesnar to become the first British WWE world champion.

Some of the identified superstars went to their personal social media accounts expressed their statements about the recent developments announced by WWE. While few of them saw the decision as a door for a bigger opportunity, some of them used it as a chance to thank the organization for taking them under its wings.

Vince McMahon Vince McMahon is the chairman and CEO of WWE. In this picture, McMahon is introduced during the WWE Monday Night Raw show at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Aug. 24, 2009. Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images