After a number of event cancellations, complete and controversial changes to the way they produce television, and a WrestleMania event with no fans, it was only a matter of time before WWE would be forced to make some major, serious cuts. Not even tens of millions of dollars and being deemed an “essential business” could prevent them.
On Wednesday afternoon, Vince McMahon held a conference call with WWE employees that announced furloughs and cutbacks for WWE staff, the company, and its independent contractors (i.e., you know, the wrestlers), said to be, “hard decisions that reflect the current reality.”
Per the call (with a h/t to Mike Johnson over at PWI), McMahon stated that WWE would cut back on pay for board members and executives and cut the overall number of employees, including many of the Superstars themselves. Some will be let go outright and some will go on furlough, and they’ll find out which one they are via text. WWE will also be delaying the move of their headquarters to a new building in Stamford as a cost cutting measure.
WWE released the following statement to investors:
“Given the uncertainty of the situation, the Company 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.”
The statement also notes that WWE, “has substantial financial resources, both available cash and debt capacity, which currently total approximately $0.5 billion, to manage the challenges ahead,” which makes the warning of major cuts across the board feel odd. Not to mention the talent who have literally put their health and lives on the line to keep WWE programming on TV amid a global pandemic, only to find out by text a week later that you’ve been furloughed.
While no releases have been announced yet, we’ll make sure to let you know who makes the cut, and who doesn’t. The Revival was cut last week ahead of the announcement. No matter what, this is set to be a major change in the landscape of professional wrestling and WWE’s order of operations going forward, and we wish everyone affected by the announcement the best.