A Friendly Disclaimer: First things first, this isn’t a clickbait column meant to make people lose their minds or complain that I’m making fun of people losing their jobs. The WWE’s recent Wednesday Wipeout resulted in over 20 WWE Superstars losing their jobs as well as a number of backstage personnel including longtime referee Mike Chioda, writers, and backstage producers including WWE Hall of Famer Kurt Angle. It’s terrible that these men and women are out of work and while most of them will likely return to work somewhere (including the WWE somewhere down the road), it’s devastating news. As distressing as these releases are, they show 1) how vulnerable wrestlers are; and 2) how Vince McMahon sees his personnel as dispensable as a Kleenex after he watches a Brock Lesnar bout or the Asian porn Jim Ross once clued him in on.
It’s been said a million times and does not need an elaborate explanation but it is important to remind people that wrestlers have all the obligations of employees, but are treated as independent contractors. WWE Superstars have no benefits, can’t work outside the WWE, and are typically tied to long-term deals (that the WWE can conveniently end at any time). They are employees in the eyes of everyone but Vince McMahon.
As we’ve seen today (and many times in the past), Vince McMahon has no loyalty to even the most long-term employees. Referee Mike Chioda worked for the WWE dating back to 1989 and
is was the longest-tenured referee in the company’s history. Performers like Zach Ryder, Heath Slater, and Curtis Hawkins have been with the WWE for what seems like forever, but as we know, not only is the card subject to change at any time but so is the roster.
No matter how many anecdotes we hear of Vince McMahon taking care of wrestlers or having his favorites, he’s repeatedly shown he doesn’t give one fuck about his
employees independent contractors. As mentioned earlier, this is nothing new. When the WWF made cuts back in the mid-90s, it told long-term employees to take massive pay cuts or hit the bricks. Longtime WWF personality Lord Alfred Hayes wasn’t having it and walked out, but let’s be realistic, how many wrestlers or actual employees stand up for themselves?
Ultimately, there’s blame to go around with both the wrestlers and Vince McMahon. Whether it’s a union or some other type of collective, wrestlers will remain at Vince McMahon’s mercy as long as they refuse to take a stand together. As for Vince McMahon, he’s undoubtedly about what his father said about wrestlers. “”Wrestlers are like seagulls. All they do is eat, shit, and squawk all day.”
Yes, it’s terrible that so many people are unemployed (although for some like Rusev, Karl Anderson, Luke Gallows, Erick Rowan, and Mike and Maria Kanellis, this is more an opportunity than a setback) but it’s a reminder of how little power wrestlers have and how this will continue as long as they lay down not only in the ring, but in the office.
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