WWE released several prominent figures on Wednesday as part of cost-saving measures. The sports entertainment organization has been able to continue producing content in the relatively empty Performance Center, but the lack of live-event revenue due to the COVID-19 outbreak forced the company to part ways with a portion of its employees. Popular wrestler Rusev was among this group, and he responded with a very brief tweet.
"Thank you All, Rusev out!" he wrote on Wednesday, confirming the news. Several wrestling fans responded and revealed that they are "heartbroken" over this decision. Although a few were in denial and felt that Rusev was simply making this up as part of a storyline. This was made evident with comments about the Bulgarian Brute "just messing around."
According to CBS Sports, the list of those released includes Rusev, Karl Anderson, Luke Gallows, Drake Maverick, Eric Young, EC3, Lio Rush, Zack Ryder, Curt Hawkins and several other performers. Additionally, several behind-the-scenes employees were released. This includes Aiden English, Kurt Angle, Billy Kidman, Mike Rotunda, Pat Buck and Scott Armstrong. These moves are projected to save the company $4 million per month during the ongoing pandemic, per a press release issued on Wednesday.
"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," the statement read. "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."
Along with parting ways with a portion of the workforce, WWE executive Vince McMahon is also dealing with the XFL suspending operations and declaring bankruptcy. This was his second attempt to launch the professional sports league, but it did not complete the season. Operations were suspended in March as several sports league halted their seasons.
The XFL filing bankruptcy and the WWE layoffs come on the heels of sports in Florida being deemed "essential services" by the Florida Governor's Office. This means that WWE can continue filming matches in the coming weeks. The organization released a statement saying that they "believe it is now more important than ever to provide people with a diversion from these hard times."