Examining WWE’s Latest Round of Releases: Braun Strowman and More

7

Here we go again. Again. WWE has once more decided to release a bunch of people due to so-called “budget cuts” and we’re all left wondering why and how this happened.

Last year, there was a big cull and we all thought it wasn’t too strange, considering it the start of a pandemic and post-WrestleMania. More releases were scattered throughout 2020, but even then, it felt like it was just leftovers.

Then, it happened again this year on the same day. At best, we argued that it could have been a tax thing, but we knew something was up. You don’t report record profits multiple quarters and then still have budget cuts.

Then, another round of releases happened with NXT. And then, further still, the media divisions were dismantled and shuffled around with more releases. There were literally reports about how WWE told people that was it and no more releases were to come.

But here we are. Six more people have lost their jobs—at least. And at this point, history has shown there shouldn’t be a moment of thinking the storm has passed. We could be in the eye of the hurricane and tomorrow, there could be even more releases.

What gives? Why is WWE doing this? For that matter, why these people in particular?

The Big Picture(s)

I recently wrote up a post that was trying to look on the optimistic side of things. Boy did that not age well. The basic gist of it was that they’re restructuring things and soon enough, they’ll go on a spending spree and the company as a whole will be better off because of it, even though it sucks for the people who are losing their jobs.

Now, just a few days later, I no longer feel such optimism. Instead, I’m filled with doubts that WWE as it stands will even remain the way it is within a year.

Something is up. This isn’t just a matter of having too big of a roster, feeling sick of the clutter and wanting to trim the weeds like what WWE used to do back in 2011 and such when they’d release guys like Eli Cottonwood and Ricky Ortiz.

There has to be a bigger picture in mind, and there are three possible scenarios I can imagine being why this is happening:

Reasoning 1

Nick Khan’s ascension and newfound power is in full-effect. He’s looking at WWE not from an entertainment perspective, but from a pure numbers game. Every time someone’s contract is coming up, he’s tossing out the idea that they might not be worth it and this is going to happen to EVERYONE going forward.

They’ll try to renegotiate every single person to make less money because it just looks good on paper to not have as many expenses. Basically, the new guy in control is an accountant who is only looking at employees as numbers and 5 beans is better than 4 beans, even if you steal one from someone else.

Note that I hope this isn’t the case, nor do I have any knowledge about this. It’s pure speculation.

Reasoning 2

WWE is afraid that the lower ratings and the lack of interest is going to severely hurt the company going forward. They’re trying to stockpile as much revenue as they can to keep them afloat for what they think is an even bigger catastrophe, rather than the awful situation they’re in right now.

Basically, it’s like running out in the rain and getting wet because you know you have to put your car windows up or it’ll ruin the interior.

Instead of fixing the problem with Creative, they’re hoping to just grit it out and weather the storm on pure cash.

While I have no degree in business management and such, I can’t help but to think this is actually shortsighted and foolish. It strikes me as the type of mentality businesses have where they unknowingly speed up their demise, rather than save themselves.

Ever see a restaurant that isn’t doing as well because the food/atmosphere/service/etc isn’t all that great, so they UP their prices to try to make up for the lack of customers? In their minds, they’re counterbalancing the lost revenue. However, all that does in the long run is damage. Suddenly, more people will think “the food isn’t worth that price” and stop showing up, so they’ll repeat the cycle until there isn’t anyone left.

The issue is that you are drawing less people into your restaurant, rather than the prices being off. If you have a full house every night, you can charge a minimal increase and make more profit and it won’t greatly affect you, but if you drive away your customer base, how do you expect to get them back?

Likewise, if WWE keeps releasing talent and has even less to work with, meaning more rematches, weak storylines and feuds that are stretched out far beyond their welcome, just in order to compensate for the lack of variety, then how do they expect to get more people interested in their product to watch?

Reasoning 3

They’re selling. Frankly, I think this is the most likely situation, too.

The streaming service bubble is about to burst. There are far too many signs of this. MGM was bought out by Amazon. Disney+ is doing well and will need to expand to offset the losses from the pandemic. WarnerMedia and Discovery is something more people should be talking about.

I’m becoming more and more suspicious about the Peacock merger. For a while, I thought it was just a means to get an influx of cash in WWE. A five year deal that they can then switch to a new service afterward.

Now, I think we’re in “the before times” prior to Comcast making a big play. We all know cable isn’t going to last much longer. People don’t want to pay that much money for hundreds of channels they don’t watch just because it’s a bundle deal. The value of it isn’t there.

But if a corporation like Comcast can buy out Warner and have access to all that material, as well as Peacock and WWE, suddenly, there’s a strong foundation. They sell you their internet service with their options to buy the individual streaming platforms a la carte. Then, they give you a bigger bundle deal that’s more expensive, but a better deal. Instead of paying (arbitrary numbers here) $100 for your internet, with $10 for Peacock and $10 for HBO Max and $10 for Discovery and $10 for DC Universe and $25 equipment rentals, for $165, they’ll give the whole thing to you for $150. That way, you won’t think about how you don’t need HBO Max, Discovery and DCU and end up paying them $135.

Comments are closed.