WWE gets richer while 100 employees get the boot

WWE gets richer while 100 employees get the boot

Time moves fast for a company trying to send its stock price up a percentage of a point. Yes, this is how big corporate America works. Cut employee expenditure to as lean as possible while maximizing revenue. WWE cashing in on a new $1.4 billion deal to move Smackdown back to USA Network is a perfect opportunity to grow the gap between the money coming in and the money going out, especially to talent that the company thinks is expendable. And TKO, the new venture formed from the merger of Endeavor — which runs the UFC — doesn’t have to care about optics. They’re too busy swimming in their 10-story vault of money.

The move back to cable for Smackdown is curious if you can forget about the amount of money they got for it. If wrestling is in a “boom” time, and WWE’s ratings and interest as well as a viable second company putting wrestling on TV three times a week would certainly indicate that, having a weekly show on network TV was certainly a component of that. WWE’s ratings on Fox would regularly crack 2 million and sometimes pierce 2.5 million, which it simply won’t on USA, whatever night it ends up being on. It might be lucky to get to half of that after the newness of the move wears off. The $300 million per year New York is getting from NBC Universal probably helps soften that blow.

It is interesting, to those who care about such things, that TKO’s stock cratered after the news of the TV deal, seeing as how they had spent months telling everyone they were going to get way more than that. Whoops! How will they ever make it by with $300 million a year? There’s still no word on new deals for Raw or NXT, but you can be sure it’ll be for enough money to have paid for the 100+ people both in front of the cameras and behind the scenes to stay on.

Corporate employees, superstars get pink slips

As for the wrestlers who are now laid off, there aren’t huge surprises but they’re also a collection of performers that did have big spots not all that long ago.

Rick Boogs had a Wrestlemania match a year and a half ago before an injury in that match halted his career. Riddick Moss has a prime spot on the card next to Baron Corbin and got a couple PPV matches out of it.

Mustafa Ali has been the poster boy for misused talent and the obtuseness of how Vince McMahon sees wrestling, and he was wrestling Seth Rollins six months ago.

Elias never captured the momentum of his first run around 2018-2019 thanks to injuries and bookings, but it wasn’t that long ago that he was one of the most over guys in the company.

An LA Knight before LA Knight (and I write that as someone who gleefully chanted, “We are scumbags!” after Elias called us all that at Allstate Arena at Money In The Bank in 2018). If these wrestlers had taken up those spots before, they could have easily again with the proper push.

Dolph Ziggler is the biggest name, considering he’s a former champion and always seemed to be the “break glass in case of emergency” guy whenever WWE needed a mid-card feud. How much Ziggler wants to wrestle anymore instead of his stand-up career is unclear, though.

But the heart of all this is this story from an all-hands meeting on Tuesday from PWInsider. This is what’s important to the man still running the company, even if he can barely walk. The right fealty, and lining his own pockets with more cash he’ll never get to. The idea that WWE had stagnated and needed this merger when all they’ve done for years is print money would be laughable if it didn’t cost so many people their jobs. But to the people making all the decisions, that’s all that matters, just the numbers, not what they mean in real life.

Follow Sam on Twitter @Felsgate and on Bluesky @Felsgate.bsky.social 

Original source here

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About the Author

Anthony Barnett
Anthony is the author of the Science & Technology section of ANH.