Yesterday, WWE released 23 Superstars including Luke Gallows, Karl Anderson, EC3, Drake Maverick, and Rusev. Nine producers were also furloughed while Kurt Angle was let go. The decision came after the company announced they would be making cutbacks because of the coronavirus pandemic despite estimates showing the company is still set to make record profits in 2020.
Shortly after Superstars started to be released, many fans started to call for wrestlers to unionise on social media and others within the wrestling world have only added their voices to the debate.
Long-time advocate for the unionisation of professional wrestlers David Starr tweeted: "The wrestling business sells the necessity of a labor movement better than anything else ever could. U N I O N I Z E."
Brandon Thurston at Wrestlenomics also advocated for wrestlers to "stand together and unite" as he wrote on Twitter: "Maybe there's a way wrestlers could formally stand together and unite, and collectively look out for one another."
Even wrestling news site SoCal UNCENSORED called for the unionisation of wrestlers as they called WWE releasing Superstars by text "shameful." The news site tweeted: "Willing to bet any talent furloughed gets that time added onto their contract just like during injuries. Also, laying off people by text? Shameful. Wrestlers need to unionize."
Whether yesterday's events lead to any change in the professional wrestling landscape remains to be seen. If history is anything to go by, however, it is unlikely WWE Superstars will band together to form a union. Two weeks before WrestleMania 2, Jesse Ventura held a locker room meeting in which he pitched the establishment of a union. However, the meeting didn't go anywhere after Vince McMahon phoned Ventura the next night and threatened to fire him if he ever mentioned it again. Ventura later found out Hulk Hogan "ratted" on him to McMahon only hours after the meeting.
Since the former Minnesota Governor's efforts, there has been little advocacy for the unionisation of professional wrestlers within the industry beyond We The Independent's work with Equity in the United Kingdom.