World Wrestling Entertainment releases dozens of employees in response to the Coronavirus

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The WWE’s response to the Coronavirus continues to spark public backlash as this week the company, which was recently deemed an essential business by the Governor of Florida Ron Desantis, fired dozens of employees in what they said were necessary cost reductions in response to the Coronavirus. Among the talent released were WWE Hall of Famer Kurt Angle, former WWE Tag-Team Champion Heath Slater, former Intercontinental Champion Zack Ryder, and numerous other wrestlers, producers, and referees. 

The announcement came on Wednesday and was met with harsh criticism from the WWE Universe. The hashtag “Cancel WWE Network” was used by many disgruntled fans who were sad to see some of their favorite wrestlers released. Many pointed out that the release of dozens of employees seemed unnecessary given the fact that in a WWE shareholder conference call this week the companies’ liquid assets were valued at approximately $500 million dollars. 

The WWE defended its’ actions in a public statement by pointing out that its’ business has slowed down quite a bit due to the Coronavirus pandemic, and that the cost-cutting measures will save the company four million dollars annually. In regards to the released employees, the company stated simply “We wish them all the best in their future endeavors.”

The WWE and its owner Vince McMahon have definitely had a rough 2020. Ratings have been steadily declining due to the premier of a rival wrestling company known as AEW, and with the decline in ratings has come a drop in the companys’ stock price. Today the companys’ stock trades at around $40 a share while one year ago it was hovering around $100 a share. In my opinion, WWE stock will continue to decline as the company has just received another financial hit this week. The XFL, which was founded by Vince McMahon and owned in large part by the WWE, recently filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy. After this happened, Vince McMahons net worth plummeted by over one billion dollars from 2.9 billion to 1.9 billion dollars. 

For now, the company is still producing its weekly shows, just without an audience. However, this might not be the best idea due to the fact that at least one WWE employee has tested positive for the Coronavirus. Many fans have been speculating who this mystery employee is, and many believe it is former WWE Champion Roman Reigns. Reigns was scheduled to wrestle at this year’s Wrestlemania but pulled himself out of the event at the last minute. It will be interesting to see if and when the WWE decides to release the name of the infected employee, and also if the WWE will cancel it’s events. In my opinion, it is what is best for the health and safety of all WWE employees.  

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