Revealed: Backstage Reaction To WWE Releases
Internal WWE reaction to the latest releases revealed
Mass releases returned to WWE on September 21 and over 20 talents from the main roster and NXT have been let go by the company, including the likes of Dolph Ziggler, Shelton Benjamin, Riddick Moss, Mustafa Ali, and Emma.
WWE began to call talents about their releases only hours after a new five-year deal with NBCUniversal was made official that will see Friday Night SmackDown move to the USA Network from October 2024. The new deal is reportedly worth $1.4 billion.
According to Fightful Select, there was "some frustration" amongst the WWE roster that cuts were made shortly after the new deal was announced. Many WWE wrestlers believe cuts were aligned with the SmackDown rights fee and Elimination Chamber announcements to "minimise the negative impact on the company." TKO Group Holdings stock price tumbled on Thursday in the aftermath of the SmackDown deal, falling from $96.23 to $88.95 within an hour of markets opening. The share price is currently at $86.29 as of 9 am BST on Friday morning.
Several talents believed the days of mass cuts were over and deals would simply be allowed to expire, which appeared to be the method of late. A top star within WWE also said most of the talent released "barely had a chance" since they weren't booked. It was called a circle that couldn't be escaped.
Most of the talent released by WWE have 90-day non-compete clauses.