Back on April 15, WWE released 37 Superstars including Rusev, Heath Slater, Sarah Logan, Doc Gallows, Karl Anderson, and EC3. Nine producers and Gerald Brisco were furloughed while Kurt Angle and longtime referee Mike Chioda were let go. The releases came after the company announced they would be making cutbacks because of the coronavirus pandemic, despite estimates showing WWE is still on course to make record profits of $280 million in 2020.
Kevin Seifert at ESPN revealed Vince McMahon had been planning to make the cutbacks for some time and initial preparations began before WrestleMania 36 on April 4 and April 5. Within a report on the collapse of the XFL, Seifert noted McMahon wanted to stabilise the wrestling behemoth as he was expecting an extended period of lower revenues. WWE has broadcast all programming behind closed doors from the Performance Center in Orlando, Florida and Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida since the March 13 episode of Friday Night SmackDown.
Without fans being able to attend shows, WWE is largely reliant on TV rights fees for revenue, along with subscriptions to the WWE Network and merchandise sales.