WWE announces the release of Zelina Vega

Originally published at https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/11/13/wwe-announces-the-release-of-zelina-vega/

On Friday evening, WWE announced via its website that they have released SmackDown performer Zelina Vega.

Before WWE made the announcement, Vega tweeted, “I support unionization”. The release was already known about internally before Vega tweeted that message and it was not the cause.

Vega had been one of the main roster performers that had been active on Twitch alongside husband Aleister Black. The two announced recently they were unsure when they would be back streaming following WWE’s edict for main roster talent to stop engaging on third-party platforms independent of WWE.

Earlier this week, it was noted that Vega had launched an OnlyFans account under the pseudonym “Megan Minx”. She was charging fans up to $1,000 for ten pictures where they could choose the cosplay outfit she wore with a non-nude policy.

Shortly after news of the release, Vega posted on Instagram with the message “see you on Twitch”

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Thea Trinidad Büdgen (@zelina_vegawwe)

Vega, real name Thea Budgen, worked in TNA from 2011-13 as Thea Trinidad and later as Rosita and left once her contract expired.

She was signed to WWE in June 2017 and appeared on-screen as the manager for Andrade Cien Almas. The pairing was kept together when brought up to the SmackDown roster in April 2018.

When the empty arena shows began at the Performance Center, Vega was prominently featured in a speaking role most weeks as a foil for new WWE champion Drew McIntyre and often featured in multiple segments on RAW.

Vega started wrestling more often over the past few months, including challenging Asuka for the RAW women’s championship at Clash of Champions in September.

At the WWE Draft in October, they split up the act with Garza on RAW, Vega on SmackDown, and Andrade listed as a free agent.

Last week, Vega lost in a three-way qualifying match for the Survivor Series involving Ruby Riott and Natalya.

Good for her. WWE needs to solve this massive issue fast or they will continue to lose talent. I assume Alestair Black is gone soon too.

She is extremely talented and would fit in any promotion in North America.

It looks especially bad because her last tweet was about unionization, she timed that perfectly. Someone alert Andrew Yang ASAP

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God Bless this woman. I had been saying I’d be curious how WWE would handle Only Fans.

Also, props to her for the tweet. Just cool to see it happen

It all comes down to this - if they’re independent contractors they should be allowed to have other sources of income like Twitch.

If Vega was fired for refusing to give up those sources then that is obviously BS and WWE should be punished.

WWE can’t have it both ways - either give them benefits or let them be true independent contractors. Good for Vega for taking a stand on this issue and let’s hope others do. WWE has been limiting performers ability to make money outside WWE for way too long

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This is wild. Absolutely wild.

Respect for Selina. Alas, one bird does not bring spring, but let’s see. Maybe some of the other bots will come out of their stupor, stand their ground and make this an actual issue for Vince and co.

From a “wrestling” standpoint it’s no big loss. From a character standpoint this is very disappointing, I always liked her as a performer.

This definitely isn’t a good look, but Ill reserve my judgement for when more information comes out.

Is nobody going to talk about the fact that there are fans out there who are paying $1000 for her to take 10 cosplay photos? Is it me, or is that not weird?

Good for her though, if there is a market for it, go for it.

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The supply of horny people with disposable income is endless and varied and yeah, i don’t blame anybody catering to their audience one bit. In fact, think i might have to setup an OF too at this rate.

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We need Andrew Yang vs. Vince McMahon at WrestleMania in a Unionization Paperwork On A Pole Match. It’s the only way to settle this.

Well it sounds like they’ve been butting heads over this for a while and the two week push, that came out of nowhere, now makes more sense. They obviously wanted to appease her with the push while convincing her to stop complaining. Her opening an OnlyFans account would’ve annoyed them even before their new rules but for her to open one after the new rules were announced tells me she wanted to throw out a “fuck you” and knew she would get released because of it. That’s my take anyway.

This idea that she was released just because of a tweet sounds like complete nonsense. That’s obviously what the idiots on social media are going with… Either way, her days were numbered as soon as she was separated from Andrade. Good luck to her anyway.

Makes for a fun narrative. But in a publicly-traded company of that size, even Vince McMahon isn’t capable of firing somebody out of nowhere and having it ready for public announcement in under an hour.

The real question is, will she continue to vociferously rail for unionization as a righteous fighter against the system… or just sign somewhere that lets her keep her OnlyFans money?

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Dave Meltzer reported she was making more money from outside sources than in WWE. Not everyone needs to fall in line when they have other sources. What a stupid and unfair edict from wwe. Bruce Prichard can keep his cushy job AND keep his podcast but all these performers with no house shows and in a pandemic cant make money on their own.

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Old PPVs discussed on Prichard’s podcast routinely jump up among the most viewed content on WWE Network. Fair or unfair, Prichard’s pod is good for business.

(For scope, I personally hung on to the Network about a year too long just because of OSW and Rewind-A-Wai)

It’s all just very stupid timing too. Why decide to crack down during a pandemic when everyone has been hit financially?

And also when it’s getting the attention of politicians. Their pal and HOF inductee is exiting the White House and Linda will suddenly have zero influence. Very stupid

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WWE performers should be employees and not independent contractors.

I don’t understand why there was not “real movement” of a union during the pandemic stoppage (I’m sure WWE still did their programming but others did stop) for pro wrestling, mixed martial arts and boxing even if it’s just a “players union” (like in sports) where the people in it can pay dues and pay to get medical benefits (pay as a “group” to get medical, dental, vision, pre-paid medical expenses), some sort of pay into retirement, legal/other advice (legal questions, buying say a house, financial questions, etc) along with having rights when it comes to working conditions (say the building is not safe and that people are not left overseas for long periods of time).

It could even be say WWE and others join a union already in existence like SAG.

I don’t blame Zelina Vega for trying to make more money when WWE is not touring and if she makes more from outside income than with WWE good for her. I don’t think she should go to AEW or any other pro wrestling company unless she really wants to. If she can pay her expenses on endorsements keep doing that.

Also how does WWE not have some of social media coordinator (or whatever you want to call them) that knows and can look into Twitch, Only Fans and other sites that can help WWE talent make money? Along with someone who deals with endorsements where the talent can go to them and say this company wants me to try their out their product on my social media is that alright.

It’s stupid that WWE has let performers go and limits how performers can make money (when they cannot tour and it does not interfere with WWE) during a pandemic. It’s not like they did not make lots of money during the pandemic (having good TV rights and being in a couple of buildings helps along with non live event money that they have always had (Shopzone, Network, etc).

Yes after things are “back to normal” they can do what they want within reason of course.

Yep after the pandemic gets dealt with they need to crack down on the “loophole” that WWE uses to have their performers be considered independent contractors.

Is there even a real loophole? Or can WWE just afford to “out-lawyer” their talent?

Ya I dont think there is any loophole. The talent all sign as independent contractors, WWE treats them like employees, and the talent don’t challenge it outside of the rare twitter post. Its really simple.

Why? Because the people on top get paid so much money that I truly don’t believe they care. Most of the mid-low card talent likely dont want to risk their jobs making a stink. Assuming this release is directly connected to all this which I’m sure it is, what WWE is clearly doing here is sending a message to their performers by making an example out of Zelina, and unfortunately this will probably work unless ALL (or at least most) of the talent come together and fight back.

Maybe talent are waiting until Biden is sworn in to do something. Probably not the worst idea, though I doubt it.

Everything you said is true and it’s very very sad.

Especially the bit where talent sign as "Independent Contractors " but are treated as "employees " with no benefits. It’s gotten now so obvious that with a new administration it needs to he challenged in court.

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