As noted earlier this week, there is some heat from management on Sami Zayn over his decision to pull out of WWE shows during the pandemic.
It’s been said several times that some wrestlers are not happy about having to work these shows. That is not to say that all of them are unhappy because some are happy to be there and feel that they would not be receiving a paycheck right now if not for McMahon deciding to continue on with the weekly TV shows.
Dave Meltzer noted in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter that there are several people in the company who are not comfortable at all about working right now but, due to job security reasons, they are not going to take WWE up on their offer to sit at home.
According to a couple of WWE sources I spoke with, the feeling among some people at TV this week was that stripping Zayn of the Intercontinental Championship was done to send a message. WWE will always say that wrestlers can take time off and not worry about their spot and that certainly would apply to a top star like Roman Reigns, but for others that is not a guarantee and wrestlers in the mid and lower card certainly took notice.
Jordan Devlin is the NXT Cruiserweight Championship and has not defended the title since early March. His travel situation is different because he is not able to make it to the United States from Ireland due to travel restrictions. It did not go unnoticed by wrestlers how, unlike the situation with Zayn, Triple H didn’t strip Devlin of his title and instead decided to hold a tournament to crown an interim champion with the idea being that he would eventually meet Devlin to unify both titles. McMahon could have done the same with Zayn and chose not to.
Several of the wrestlers that were released last month had spoken up in some way about the pandemic or their spot on the card. Lio Rush was the first WWE star to publicly state that he would not work during the pandemic and then he was released. Taynara Conti and Deonna Purrazzo both expressed unhappiness and were both released. Karl Anderson expressed unhappiness with the Saudi Arabia travel situation last November and he was released along with tag team partner Luke Gallows, who did not publicly complain. Rusev was another wrestler who had been expressing unhappiness with his spot in the company before he was released.
Others were released because creative did not have anything for them but a good amount of the wrestlers let go had gotten a rep for complaining and WWE management tends to be negative towards wrestlers who do not play ball.
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