WWE issues statement regarding talent on third party outlets

Originally published at https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/09/05/wwe-issues-statement-regarding-talent-on-third-party-outlets/

WWE has issued a statement addressing Friday’s report of the company clamping down on talent participating with third-party outlets, which was conveyed through a meeting and follow-up memo.

In a response to POST Wrestling’s inquiry, WWE issued the following statement to our site among several media outlets:

Much like Disney and Warner Bros., WWE creates, promotes and invests in its intellectual property, i.e. the stage names of performers like The Fiend Bray Wyatt, Roman Reigns, Big E and Braun Strowman. It is the control and exploitation of these characters that allows WWE to drive revenue, which in turn enables the company to compensate performers at the highest levels in the sports entertainment industry. Notwithstanding the contractual language, it is imperative for the success of our company to protect our greatest assets and establish partnerships with third parties on a companywide basis, rather than at the individual level, which as a result will provide more value for all involved.

We had asked about which third parties were specifically named that talent must stop using and were not given an answer. WWE talent has a presence on many of these outlets including Twitch, Cameo, and TikTok.

The decision to restrict talent from using these parties within the next 30 days was first reported by Raj Giri of Wrestling INC.

Based on the statement, it would suggest WWE is seeking partnerships with these outlets and are protecting their right to negotiate on behalf of their talent rather than allow them to make individual deals themselves.

Since the memo came out, several performers have switched to using non-WWE names on various platforms, although it’s unknown if WWE will stand in the way of their talent using them under different aliases.

The move by the company has re-energized discussion on the company continually labeling their talent as independent contractors and whether such restrictions should push them closer to that of employees. Andrew Yang, who was seeking the nomination as the Democratic nominee in this year’s presidential race, voiced his concern over this issue on Friday night. Yang had previously spoken up on similar issues for MMA fighters.

Slightly off topic but I guess it makes me old that I’ve never even heard of Cameo before all this.

Warner Bros and Disney don’t prevent their stars from using these third party outlets. And again a lot of these performers are using their legal name and one that isn’t associated with their WWE characters. Just a completely ridiculous comparison

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This.

Yeah, okay - so Disney / Marvel / Sony isn’t letting Tom Holland go around doing stuff as Spider-Man for financial gain outside of their realm. However, they can’t stop Tom Holland the human from making money off his celebrity.

It’s absolutely insane that WWE is trying to control this on the people who work for them marketing themselves as their real life personalities.

An example…Kevin Owens is Kevin Steen - but there is very little difference between how the character her plays in WWE, and the characteristics he showed off prior to signing and working indies. So KO is very much Steen the character. And Kevin is Kevin in the real world. So where does WWE get to draw the line?

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Ya it’s weird. I get it if say Windham Rotunda wanted to make money on the side as “the fiend”, but they shouldn’t have the right to block someone from doing a cameo under their real name. Or doing a YouTube channel under their real name.

Can’t help but wonder if they loose it all for this one. If WWE keeps pushing, eventually they are going to get burned.

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Exactly.

A guy like Xavier Woods has basically created a second career with his YouTube channel. Why would he ever let WWE put a stop to it, for what? Simply because he’s not making them money from doing it?

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Agreed. I’ve watched up up down down, and from what I have seen the entire time he’s “Austin creed” he’s not playing “Xavier Woods from New Day”.

I’m curious how this plays out. The weird thing, WWE has actually promoted Up Up Down Down before.

Yeah, they sell Up Up Down Down merch on WWE Shop. It’s impossible to predict the whims of Vince at a given time, but I feel like Woods’s channel has some sort of backing from the company and should be able to continue. But who the hell really knows?

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At the end of the day, I think it’s just Vince shooting himself on the foot when realizing that his talents figured out how to make money without him. He’s just pissed they thought about this before him.