By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
The WWE is not immune to the economic fallout of COVID-19 pandemic, as the top wrestling promotion in the world made numerous cuts to their in-ring roster, as well as their backstage personnel, on Wednesday.
Beginning with at the top, the most notable departure came with the release of Hall of Famer Kurt Angle. The 51-year-old Angle, who had 11 different title reigns and a King of the Ring win over his WWE career before he returned to the company in 2017, had been working as a producer backstage since his retirement from in-ring competition following WrestleMania 35. Following the announcement, Angle took to Twitter to thank the WWE for the opportunities he was given upon his return.
Angle was not the only producer released on Wednesday, as Fit Finlay, Shane Helms, and Lance Storm were also released.
The cuts also came for Rusev. The first Bulgarian-born wrestler to appear in the WWE, Rusev’s release comes after a six-year run on the WWE main roster, and with three United States championship reigns to his name. Rusev’s real-life wife and ‘Total Divas’ star, Lana, was not part of the cuts announced on Wednesday afternoon.
The list of other singles competitors released on Wednesday also included Drake Maverick, Lio Rush, Heath Slater, Eric Young, Rowan, No Way Jose, Aiden English, and EC3. Sarah Logan was the lone, active women’s division wrestler to be released from the roster, while Mike and Maria Kanellis were also released from their contracts.
The company also cut some tag teams from their books, too, with the release of Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson, Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins, and Primo and Epico. Gallows & Anderson, who were re-signed to new deals last summer, were part of ‘The OC’ with AJ Styles, were featured in WrestleMania 36’s Boneyard Match between Styles and The Undertaker.
Referee Mike Chioda, who was the longest-tenured referee in company history, was also released from his contract.
These moves will reportedly save the WWE approximately $4 million per month.