WWE Releases Kurt Angle, 9 Wrestlers Amid Coronavirus Cutbacks

WWE is one of the few sports organizations that is still operating amid the coronavirus pandemic. However, the company is dealing with the same issues as everyone else, as it was announced on Wednesday Kurt Angle and nine wrestlers have been released from their contracts. Angle has retired from in-ring competition, but he was working as a producer. The eight wrestlers who have been released are Drake Maverick (James Curtin), Curt Hawkins (Brian Myers), Karl Anderson (Chad Allegra), Luke Gallows (Drew Hankinson), Heath Slater (Heath Miller), Eric Young (Jeremy Fritz), EC3 (Michael Hutter), Aiden English (Matthew Rehwoldt), and Lio Rush (Lionel Green).

Once Angle was told the news, he went to Twitter to express his appreciation for his time with WWE. He wrote: "I wanted 2 say thank you to the WWE for the time I spent there. I made many new friends and had the opportunity to work with so many talented people. To the Superstars, continue to entertain the WWE Universe as well as you possibly can. They’re the best fans in the world." Angle returned to WWE in 2017 after spending time on the Independent Circut, New Japan and Impact Wrestling.

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When Maverick was told the news he had an emotional response. He said in a video that was posted on Twitter: "It's affecting people's lives. It's affecting people's jobs. It's affecting the way people make a living. "I'm very fortunate that WWE is still allowing me to compete in the NXT cruiserweight title tournament, but it's very likely that those will be the last matches that I ever have. There's a lot of people I'm not gonna get a chance to say goodbye to that I really love and I really care about. ... It's not about a title anymore. It's about my life. It's about the fate of my family, paying my bills."

This comes on the heels of WWE being deemed an essential business by the state of Florida, which means it will continue to film shows at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando. But the company is doing furloughs as part of its financial structuring, and this also includes reducing executive salaries. The furloughs are expected to be temporary, so this could mean guys like Angle, Maverick and the other wrestlers released could return sometime in the foreseeable future.