Wrestling is a painful business. The stunts and moves the wrestlers do are real. Sure, the results may be predetermined by that elbow drop you see being performed or the German suplex you see being done is not fake. Bodies feel pain, occasionally break…sometimes permanently.
With COVID-19, even the juggernaut that is the WWE is feeling the impact. No longer able to command large audiences to come per week, wrestlers are performing in an empty arena with only screens placed in the stands in lieu of a live audience.
As somebody who’s been to a WWE event and one who grew up watching wrestling, this is incredibly surreal.
With the lack of crowds, comes a more important point. The lack of money for wrestlers. Wrestlers for the WWE sign contracts, they get a basic payment for performing and a cut of the profit for the merchandise their ‘character’ sells. No crowds mean nobody’s buying merch, which means very little money for wrestlers who risk their bodies every time they go out.
To supplement that, some of wrestling’s more recognizable faces have taken to side gigs. Some have started Twitch streams, a couple even have OnlyFans accounts.
Unfortunately, it seems like management isn’t happy at all that these men and women want to eke out a living while under contract with the WWE.
As Wresting Inc pointed out a couple of months ago, WWE claims that the contracts the wrestlers sign gives them the right for the company to control not only the characters the wrestlers portray, but their real name as well.
Confused? Here’s an example. Say Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson is still wrestling for the WWE. He can’t do anything with The Rock persona without WWE’s approval. On top of that, ANYTHING he puts his real name (Dwayne Johnson) is also subject to WWE ownership.
It’s absurd! That means you can’t do ANYTHING with your real name unless it’s fine with WWE. No Twitch streams, no Youtube channels, not even a DeviantArt page!
Come on! These people literally put their bodies on the line for the love of the sport and they get paid next to nothing (which they’re willing to live with). When they try to supplement that they get screwed.
I’m almost afraid to ask what’s next. Controlling what the wrestlers do in their free time? Who they talk to? Who they marry?