WWE announces cutbacks and other cost reductions due to COVID-19

Originally published at https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/04/15/wwe-announces-cutbacks-and-other-cost-reductions-due-to-covid-19/

On Wednesday at noon ET, WWE CEO & Chairman Vince McMahon held a brief video call with employees of the company to provide an important update.

The call was followed by a press release that was issued outlining the ways in which the company has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and the cuts they will be making.

The cuts, furloughs, and other actions being taken will provide the company with $4 million in savings per month, achieving $140 million in improved cash flow primarily by delaying its move to its new headquarters originally targeted for early 2021.

No talent cuts have been announced yet. (UPDATE: Talent cuts have been announced.)

Below is the release from the company:

WWE (NYSE: WWE) today provided an update on measures taken by the Company in response to the current impact of COVID-19 on the organization.

Due to COVID-19 and current government mandated impacts on WWE and the media business generally, the Company went through an extensive evaluation of its operations over the past several weeks. This analysis resulted in the implementation of various short-term cost reductions and cash flow improvement actions including:

*Reducing executive and board member compensation;

*Decreasing operating expenses;

*Cutting talent expenses, third party staffing and consulting;

*Deferring spend on the build out of the Company’s new headquarters for at least six months.

Given the uncertainty of the situation, the Company also identified headcount reductions and made the decision to furlough a portion of its workforce effective immediately. The decision to furlough versus permanently reduce headcount reflects the fact that the Company currently believes the furlough will be temporary in nature.

The Company’s reductions of employee compensation and headcount result in an estimated monthly savings of $4 million along with cash flow improvement of $140 million primarily from the deferral in spending on the Company’s new headquarters. Additionally, the Company has substantial financial resources, both available cash and debt capacity, which currently total approximately $0.5 billion, to manage the challenges ahead. Management continues to believe the fundamentals of the Company’s business remain strong and that WWE is well positioned to take full advantage of the changing media landscape and increasing value of live sports rights over the longer term.

The Company will provide further details when it reports its first quarter 2020 results next Thursday, April 23 after the close of the market.

I’m not gonna parade myself as an expert but if I could piece all the info I’ve heard and read, Vince and Company were spilling money into the streets giving Mike Bennett $500K to not go back to ROH tried to pay Rhyno just to sit at home instead of going back to Impact and pretty much fired Barrios and Wilson because they didn’t understand why you were trying to pay the Revival to keep them from going to AEW. I don’t hate billionaires but won’t defend them so as someone who is having a hard time getting answers from this shitty Florida Unemployment website my heart absolutely goes out to anybody being let go today especially this late into the Pandemic

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How are independent contractors furloughed?

Now is the time to start a union (more like yesterday) but this current crop of talent is mostly just happy to be on the roster. I hope this is a reality check.

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Since they are not employees you just have to let them go

The talent cuts just happened. Drake Maverick, Karl Anderson, Luke Gallows, Curt Hawkins, EC3, and Lio Rush… wonder if more are to come.

A furlough is a leave of absence basically - so a leave of absence from what? They are independent contractors apparently

They left Gallows out on the Twitter account

BREAKING: WWE has come to terms on the release of Drake Maverick (James Curtin), Curt Hawkins (Brian Myers), Karl Anderson (Chad Allegra), EC3 (Michael Hutter) and Lio Rush (Lionel Green).

The website also has Eric Young released

So cruel but instead of releasing people and coming with a full list later, the list is just updating as guys and gals get the call

Add Heath Slater

Zack Ryder just keeps hanging on. Hopefully Rusev gets the call, so he can go to AEW, along with Gallows and Anderson. I dont want to see AEW pick up anyone else on that list.

That’s future 2023 WWE World Champion Heath Slater now. #3MB

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I wonder if they’ll do anything with NXT UK, I’d say it’s done it’s purpose.

Also I wonder if Finn Balor will get moved back up, isn’t he on main roster wages

From PWinsider 4 producers, Finlay, Shane Helms, Lance Storm and Mike Rotunda let go

Wow, Lance who started like half a year ago? And he closed his school because of it FFS.

And Heath Slater, man… he’s got kids, come on…

Destroying the flourishing British indie scene was it’s purpose and it did that a long time ago. I’d argue maintaining that dominance is why it won’t be going anywhere soon.

Far from the craziest (or most important) thing happening in the world, but this is insane as a wrestling fan. At the current rate at which guys are hitting the free agent market - not to mention backstage changes that I’m sure are happening everywhere to different degrees - rosters all over the world are going to look different when things are up and running again.

Wonder when Rotunda found out…

Didn’t Lance Storm close his own wrestling school to rejoin WWE just a month or so ago? Bloody hell.

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Curious if any of the talent being let go opted-in to the release. Jericho is going to have plenty of guests for his pod coming up.

These things usually include a payout and I could imagine talent being ready to move on finally given the opportunity to were willing to accept it.

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Anderson and Gallows are dreadful. Watching them is more painful than watching the Best Friends, The Dark Order and Private Party. I was going to say why would AEW possibly hire them but they hired Brody Lee and Matt Hardy so they are likely a shoe in.

This is nuts now 9 producers let go via PWinsider