AJ Styles, Cesaro, Aleister Black & Zelina Vega and Mia Yim all suspended their Twitch channels yesterday. This follows on from a company email at the beginning of October which declared WWE would be taking over talent's Twitch accounts by November 1. WWE will officially own the accounts and Superstars will receive a percentage of the revenue the channel's generate which will count against their downside guarantees.
PWInsider's Mike Johnson recently noted that WWE took control of Superstars' Twitch accounts because the company is looking to relaunch their presence on the live streaming platform and wanted to remove anything that could potentially run opposite to their own strategy. WWE is looking to give their own Twitch channel a big push before the end of 2020.
Some WWE sources also posited the theory that new CRO and President Nick Khan is looking to reposition WWE as an in-house management firm for talent so all third party opportunities have to go through the company.
WWE Superstars tried to convince Vince McMahon to change his mind about the Twitch ban in a meeting earlier this week. Talent wanted to maintain the channels because Twitch has helped many generate "a great deal of money" during a time when they have been unable to earn bonuses on top of their downside guarantees. Superstars traditionally earn bonuses through live events and merchandise sales, but house shows are non-existent and merchandise royalties are down because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sources on WWE's side downplayed these fears and pointed to the fact that talent have reduced road expenses since they aren't touring and almost everyone on the roster signed new contracts with higher downside guarantees last year.
The meeting with McMahon was seemingly unsuccessful, but Aleister Black revealed he and Zelina Vega are due to have "a conversation" with WWE about the situation at tonight's SmackDown taping.