The WWE is still holding shows despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, moving its programming to its training center in Orlando without fans and even holding its WrestleMania in a football stadium, instead of postponing it.
Florida, for some insane reason, deemed professional wrestling an “essential business”, which prompted Vince McMahon to return to live shows every week.
Now, wrestlers are being released as WWE deals with the economic impact of COVID-19. On Wednesday, it was announced that legend Kurt Angle and a bunch of other wrestlers were being cut from the roster.
Tag-team partners Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson, Drake Maverick, Curt Hawkins, EC3, Lio Rush, Heath Slater, Aiden English and Eric Young. Sarah Logan, Erick Rowan, Primo and Epico Colon were also reportedly released. Several producers, including Lance Storm and Fit Finlay, were also released, as was referee Mike Chioda.
Lio Rush acknowledged his release in a tweet, writing “To all of my fellow co workers, whatever happens today or the remainder of this week….just know, we’re all going to be good.”
“I wanted 2 say thank you to the WWE for the time I spent there,” Angle wrote on Twitter. “I made many new friends and had the opportunity to work with so many talented people. To the Superstars, continue to entertain the WWE Universe as well as you possibly can. They’re the best fans in the world. #itstrue.”
“It’s affecting people’s lives. It’s affecting people’s jobs. It’s affecting the way people make a living,” said Maverick, 37. “I’m very fortunate that WWE is still allowing me to compete in the NXT cruiserweight title tournament, but it’s very likely that those will be the last matches that I ever have. There’s a lot of people I’m not gonna get a chance to say goodbye to that I really love and I really care about. … It’s not about a title anymore. It’s about my life. It’s about the fate of my family, paying my bills.”
“We believe it is now more important than ever to provide people with a diversion from these hard times,” WWE said in a statement Monday. “We are producing content on a closed set with only essential personnel in attendance following appropriate guidelines while taking additional precautions to ensure the health and wellness of our performers and staff. As a brand that has been woven into the fabric of society, WWE and its Superstars bring families together and deliver a sense of hope, determination and perseverance.”