The COVID-19 pandemic has cost WWE in more ways than one – despite producing content on a regular basis amidst the global crisis, the billion-dollar promotion rapidly lost a lot of money which eventually led to Vince McMahon making widespread cuts across the board to recover from the financial damages for the time being.
About 40 employees were laid off by WWE yesterday as more releases, “in the hundreds”, are expected to be announced sooner than later.
On Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer reported that the latest talent cut isn’t all too surprising considering the fact that the roster was already overloaded. WWE had previously stockpiled wrestlers to keep them away from AEW and now that Tony Khan‘s promotion already has a well-decked roster, Mr. McMahon can afford to release those talents without any imminent threat of competition.
“They have way way too much talent for the slots that they had. And the reason they had so much talent is because they didn’t want AEW, you know, to get talent. I mean, that was the key, so they were stockpiling talent. And right now, obviously, everything’s changed with AEW in the sense of, they’re… it’s not like they’re going to be able to pick up a ton of guys.”
According to Fightful Select, all released Superstars will have non-compete clauses attached. The non-compete will extend for a period of 90 days for those who were previously part of RAW and SmackDown. NXT talents will have a 30-day non-compete clause.
At this point, it’s very unlikely for AEW to sign all the names WWE have released so far. While some big names like Kurt Angle, Luke Gallows, Karl Anderson, Rusev, EC3, and Zack Ryder are worth considering, it remains to be seen which ex-Superstars are worthy of joining the AEW roster. However, taking the non-compete clause into account, no released wrestler can sign with any other promotion for the time being.