AEW commentator and WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross recently talked about the releases from WWE earlier this week. In what is being called by some as ‘Black Wednesday,’ WWE released a number of on-air and backstage personnel. There has been talk online regarding WWE’s decision to do this, with some reports indicating that the company has a substantial war-chest and would still be extremely profitable if no-one was released or furloughed.
Over the past few years, it could be reasoned that WWE have been ‘stockpiling’ talent. With the influx of Superstars to NXT and NXT UK it’s clear that WWE had been looking to get as much quality on their books as possible. Some fans and media have concluded that WWE would do this to stop competition from getting anyone of note. This is a fair point, when you look at the likes of NXT UK, which seemed to have been created to counteract the return of World of Sport in the UK.
Jim Ross would discuss the idea of ‘stockpiling,’ and whether or not it would/has had a detrimental effect on AEW and the talent themselves.
“At some point in time, you’ve almost got to go into some of these talents and say ‘look, the economy’s changed the model has changed'” Jim Ross began on a Patreon Exclusive episode of Grilling Jr. “‘Things are different than they were before, and we’ve got to adjust.’ So not unlike an NFL contract, we need to renegotiate your deal.’ I just think that there’s more to come on this [release] thing, unfortunately. But I think that some of these had massive salaries. For guys are coming in and working three or four times a month? It’s just not good business, and a lot of people believe that the reason all these talents are being stockpiled is because WWE did not want to make it an easier road for AEW to travel, to build their brand. As in, being able to sign some under-utilized and talented people. And so, if that was the reason all along? To me, that was very short sighted.”
Jim Ross was previously the Head of Talent Relations in WWE; so he has a firm grasp of this type of hiring/firing. “It also tells me that maybe people there don’t have total confidence in their own management philosophy” JR stated. “WWE? they’re the f*cking NFL, right!? They didn’t need to stockpile everybody in the world.”
It looks like WWE is done with releases for now. WWE does not announce employee releases so many of those names will not get out. Some wrestlers may be offered contracts to return at some point but there is no denying that this was one of the worst weeks in WWE history.