So last night, just as I was preparing to go to bed in fact, the news emerged that Zelina Vega (a manager and also more recently a singles wrestler) had been released suddenly by WWE. Or at least on the basis of it it appeared to be out of the blue… A tweet from Vega herself in which she said “I support Unionisation” that appeared TEN MINUTES before the announcement of her release soon led itself to unravel a series of really sad truths that many of us were aware of, but with the release of Vega it appears more apparent than ever. I personally believe that the release of a very talented performer has been done to make an example of her… in this blog I’ll explain why… In short this is a really sad and quite frankly DISGRACEFUL state of affairs and I for one am disgusted by it.
The fka Thea Trinidad finally made her mark in WWE over in NXT, when she turned up as a business associate of the then floundering partyboy character Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas. Her ruthless and aggressive style of management quickly rubbed off on her client, who in successive TakeOvers Andrade had singles wins over Johnny Gargano, Drew McIntyre and Gargano again in one of the best matches of the year in becoming NXT Champion, and a great one at that. This MONEY act soon made their way up to SmackDown and then Raw, where although the run never hit the heights many of us had hoped for it was clear to see that in Vega WWE had a STAR.
In more recent times in particular being as fans are unable to attend shows, the more personal interactions we’ve been able to have with WWE’s stars has been online, via platforms such as Cameo and Twitch. As well as the fan interaction it is also a great source of income for superstars whom, although on guaranteed deals they will almost certainly be earning less now WWE is no longer touring. However in classic WWE-Vince McMahon style, they like to own EVERYTHING. They like everything to be their idea, they don’t like anything that isn’t originally theirs, and certainly they don’t like “their” superstars dong anything without their permission or without them. So WWE made it clear, and sent out a clear period of notice to all their WWE superstars to end all outside partnerships that they didn’t have via WWE, and to end all personal incomes that they use their WWE names for… so no more Twitch and no more cameo… So why is this so bad? Well.. I’ll explain…
This would be fair… if WWE superstars had all the things they should have as contracted performers. Wrestlers in WWE are technically independent contractors, so although signed to exclusive deals to only appear for that one wrestling organisation, nothing should stop them seeking other forms of income. As contracted performers they should have healthcare, insurance and have their work travel and hotels paid for right? If you go on a business trip the employer picks up the bill right? Usually yes, not for WWE… SO… WWE performers can’t gain other forms of income outside of WWE, but they have to pay for their own travel and expenses to work FOR YOU… yeah… doesn’t quite add up does it???
Now, unless you’ve been living on a deserted island recently, you will have heard (despite what a certain WWE alumni claims) that Joe Biden is to be the next President of the United States. Now what that means, among MANY things is that a man called Andrew Yang will now hold a very high position. And Andrew Yang has recently commented on twitter about some of the practices and the ways in which WWE treat their performers, or more the lack of support they give them. Andrew Yang has said he WILL chase up the WWE and hold them accountable. let’s hope so.
Why Zelina then? Well I personally think she’s being made an example of. Not only does she use both OnlyFans and Twitch, despite WWE’s clear objections. Well as I’ve said she’s also stated her support for a union among wrestlers, something which has LONG been rumoured and tried for. But naturally something WWE have always shown a strong dislike for. Tied to contracts where they can’t do anything else, and also have to fund everything themselves in order to go to work. Oh and should also mention they are the only wrestling company to make HUGE numbers of cuts during the pandemic, including to their roster of superstars. Despite posting record profits… disgraceful.
Zelina Vega isn’t the only talented performer WWE have fired during the pandemic, and I’ve no doubt she will find employment in wrestling again, she’s too good not to… maybe in AEW or Impact or Ring Of Honor where they actively promote and encourage their performers to seek outside opportunities to promote themselves, and to use sites such as Twitch. Oh, and they haven’t reported mass outbreaks of Covid cases either or any of those companies, unlike in WWE…
As a fan I’m really quite disgusted at how WWE hold their talent hostage to their contracts. They want to have their cake and eat it. They want to have them as employees but not give them any of the benefits they should. But when the ‘independent contractors’ try and get other work, WWE fume at it. They can’t get money they need to pay for stuff you guys wont… how’s that remotely fair? Something has to change about how WWE treats their wrestlers. Lets hope Andrew Yang is able to lead a charge against this now. And we hear less cases like Zelina Vega. And WWE don’t lose anymore talented performers like her, like Rusev, like Zack Ryder even… the list goes on and on…
WWE is an EVIL place to work. Just ask anyone who used to work for them.