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Report: WWE Cutting Back On Live Events, Some Talent Unhappy

Superstars will receive more time off...

In the past four years, WWE's attendances have been declining rapidly. Since 2016, the average attendance at main roster shows has dropped by 22.2 percent from 6300 to an average of 4900 by the end of 2019, according to Brandon Thurston at Wrestlenomics.

The drop has been even worse when only live events are taken into account to the point where WWE is actually losing money by running the shows. Dave Meltzer reported in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter that the lower attendances have also affected the company's stock price as it gives the perception that the company and its product is becoming less popular.

In response, WWE has decided to cut back on the number of house shows they run. Previously, both Raw and SmackDown would run four house shows per week excluding TV, but in February both rosters will only run seven live events in total and there will be just 14 house shows in March.

Many Superstars on the main roster were not informed about the cutbacks until they received their booking sheets for February and are unhappy about the change. Meltzer noted that because wrestlers on the main roster are classed as independent contractors, they are paid per event, as opposed to receiving a flat salary. This means they will now be paid less and their earnings from merchandise sales will also be reduced.

For the avoidance of doubt, Meltzer penned: "There looks to be a major change in the house show business. With the shows having started to lose money last quarter, plus with them drawing less, the attendance decline has hurt the stock price and given the perception (accurately by the way) that the brand’s popularity is declining, they are cutting way back. Instead of two brands doing four shows per week as has been the case for years, house shows have become more rare...This should in theory cut down on the injury rate, so that’s a good thing. The bad thing is that for talent, house shows are usually more fun, and for younger talent, that’s where you get to improvise a little and improve your game.

"There was a good amount of talent who had no idea about the cutback in house shows until they got their February booking sheets and saw how much it was cut down. While the top guys are making a lot of money these days, the rest of the crew will have their income affected by working so many fewer dates. One noted there was a happy medium between four shows a week and TV and maybe two more shows very other week and it’ll affect both pay and for the big stars, will hurt their merch sales significantly so many are unhappy about how this went down."

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Aidan Gibbons

Written by Aidan Gibbons

Cultaholic's resident newshound.