The last week in WWE has led many, including the editorial staff of this magazine, to some serious soul searching about their very fandom and if they can follow a company that does what it has done, and more specifically the attitude of its owner. However, on reflection, we are journalists and we must tell the story as we see it. Without favour. So for the record, from press releases, tweets and reactions this has been the week in the WWE.

9th April 2020

WWE having come out of WrestleMania with a taped series of shows because of the COVID-19 restrictions in most US states. Hours before Monday Night RAW was due to be shown, Governor Ron DeSantis (Republican) announces that professional wrestlers are “essential workers” and can perform freely in the state. It emerges that Gov. DeSantis has strong links with Linda McMahon who had given around $20 Million to the state of Florida through her Super Pac, the day before his ruling on the status of WWE performers.

The XFL announces the suspension of operations, releases all players and talent from their contracts and is put up for sale, filing for bankruptcy. The league had been a critical success and was widely lauded for its professional outlay. The league nearly made it to the end of its first season, however, the COVID-19 restrictions put an end to play. McMahon sets off on the long trek to find a buyer.

13th April 2020

During the Monday Night RAW production, WWE comes under pressure for asking a seventy-year-old Jerry Lawler to fly across the country for commentary. Lawler makes a racist comment concerning Akira Tozawa and is widely panned for it. The next day Jim Cornette jumps to his defence. 

This does not reduce the controversy.

April 14th

Vice’s Dark Side of the Ring documentary series looks back at the Jimmy Snuka controversy of 1983. The scandal has been widely reported down the years within wrestling, but it is the first time that the whole story has been widely reported by mainstream media since the case was reported in 1983. A deep dive investigation by the show into the death of Nancy Argento brings more negative publicity to the WWE.

15th April 2020

WWE announces the departure of over 30 in-ring talents and producers including Rusev, Kurt Angle, David Finlay, Shane Helms, Deonna Purazo, Aiden English and EC3. Many other talents are furloughed. Having been told that day of their futures Drake Maverick is one of the first to make public comments. 

Seth Rollins records a message for fans which is pilloried as he exclaims that he “Can’t understand the negativity towards WWE.” 

He is asked about his commentary by Independent wrestler David Starr;

Rollins responds;

Vince McMahon is named amongst a large panel of businessmen and legislators to aid President Trump in getting America “Open for business” in a post coronavirus world.

Donald Trump names WWE’s Vince McMahon as adviser to restart US economy


16th April

WWE Hall of Famer Howard Finkel, “The Fink”, legendary ring announcer passes away aged 69.

Fightful Select  (paywall) reveal a transcript of a video produced by WWE of Vince McMahon explaining the situation to employees. McMahon sates;

“Effective immediately, we are reducing executive and board member compensation, decreasing talent expenses, cutting third party staffing and consulting, and improving our cash flow by delaying the production of our new headquarters for at least six months. Despite all these measures, given the uncertainty we are facing today, unfortunately, we have to temporarily reduce headcount. As such, a number of WWE employees will be furloughed from the company today.”

It becomes clear that WWE is the only major player in the wrestling industry to make mass cuts of this type.

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