Although WWE has decided to push forward with WrestleMania 36 and its weekly television shows as the coronavirus pandemic continues to disrupt activities around the world, a new report suggests that there are some wrestlers in the company who are expecting a wave of releases once the outbreak is controlled and business slowly returns to normal.
As explained in a report from WrestlingNews.co, WWE’s bottom line may be severely affected due to the precautions it has taken for this year’s WrestleMania weekend. Much like recent episodes of Monday Night Raw, Friday Night SmackDown, and NXT, WrestleMania 36 will be aired from an empty Performance Center, and with no fans in attendance, that means the company won’t be earning from ticket sales and merchandise. All told, this could result in WWE missing revenue forecasts and potentially cutting some costs.
Speaking to WrestlingNews.co‘s Paul Davis, an unnamed WWE wrestler expressed their concerns about a possible series of talent releases at some point this year, noting that the entire wrestling industry — including popular rival company All Elite Wrestling — is affected by the coronavirus outbreak.
“I think guys know they can’t depend on AEW as their safety net because they are going through their issues with canceled shows. This will be tough for a lot of guys and for a lot of people in [the wrestling business] overall.”
➖ Luke Harper
➖ Sin Cara
➖ The Ascension
All released from WWE today pic.twitter.com/PLSWSmECVd
— B/R Wrestling (@BRWrestling) December 8, 2019
The last time WWE released multiple wrestlers on the same day was in December 2019, when the company parted ways with four superstars — Sin Cara, Luke Harper (now known as Brodie Lee in AEW), and Konnor and Viktor of The Ascension. In the case of the first two wrestlers, these moves were not made to cut costs, but rather because they had previously gone public about requesting to be let go by WWE.
As noted by Davis, the general “feeling” in the WWE locker room is that most main-event and mid-card talents will likely remain employed, regardless of whether or not the promotion institutes cost-cutting measures in light of the pandemic’s impact. However, he added that lower-card wrestlers who are seldom used on television or on house shows are the ones who are the most worried about potentially getting cut later in the year.
Further commenting on the matter, Davis wrote that there is “no question” that the broader pro wrestling business will face some challenges once the coronavirus situation is under control. While travel restrictions will eventually be lifted and social distancing guidelines relaxed, thus allowing wrestling promotions to run events in front of fans, as usual, there’s a very good chance that some of them may be hesitant to attend these shows like they used to.