WWE talent cuts: Kurt Angle, Rusev among those released in response to coronavirus impact


Like many businesses, WWE has not been immune to the economic impact of the global coronavirus pandemic. They have, however, moved forward, holding weekly television shows as well as WrestleMania 36 from the empty WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida. With live-event revenue gone, the company took steps toward “short-term cost reductions and cash flow improvement” that included cutting many notable members of its roster.

Included in those cuts were WWE Hall of Fame member Kurt Angle and long-term top-tier performer Rusev from their WWE contracts. In addition to roster members, WWE cut or furloughed many producers, including a host of retired wrestlers who aid in the construction of events and individual matches.

Among those released on Wednesday were:

  • Rusev
  • Karl Anderson
  • Luke Gallows
  • Drake Maverick
  • Eric Young
  • EC3
  • Lio Rush
  • Zack Ryder
  • Curt Hawkins
  • Heath Slater
  • Sarah Logan
  • Erick Rowan
  • No Way Jose
  • Primo & Epico Colon
  • Mike Kanellis
  • Maria Kanellis
  • Deonna Purrazzo
  • Aleksander Jaksic
  • Aiden English (announcer)
  • Mike Chioda (referee)
  • Kurt Angle (producer)
  • Billy Kidman (producer)
  • Mike Rotunda (producer)
  • Dave “Fit” Finlay (producer)
  • Pat Buck (producer)
  • Shawn Daivari (producer)
  • Scott Armstrong (producer)
  • Sarah Stock (producer)
  • Shane Helms (producer)
  • Lance Storm (producer)

Vince McMahon held a call on Wednesday with WWE employees in which he revealed a series of cost-cutting measures the company will undertake in response to the ongoing fallout from the pandemic. A corporate press release followed, focusing on four primary actions.

Those actions were: 

  • Reducing executive and board member compensation
  • Decreasing operating expenses
  • Cutting talent expenses, third party staffing and consulting
  • Deferring spend on the build out of the company’s new headquarters for at least six months

The press release stated WWE “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.”

That headcount reduction, per the statement, will save the company an estimated $4 million per month during the pandemic.

McMahon is also dealing with the recent suspending of operations and declaration of bankruptcy for the XFL, his second attempt to launch the professional football league. The league did not complete its season as sporting events began shutting down in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.





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