WWE is going through a rough time. Clearly. Aren’t we all? But just like most issues that have no distinct finality to them, the phrase “this too shall pass” applies, in more ways than one.
For the third time in the past month, WWE underwent yet another round of releases. In many ways, it looks like the ‘E is a sinking ship and those who aren’t abandoning are being tossed overboard or forced to walk the plank.
This is awful. Nobody wants to see anyone lose their jobs unless they deserve it, and “budget cuts” don’t fit in that category. In an ideal world, none of this happens and the only stories coming out this week would be fans arguing what the best 5-star match of the week was.
But we don’t live in that world, unfortunately. However, as awful as it is to go through this right now, and as much as this does not console the people who have lost their jobs, the optimistic point of view is to point out that “this too shall pass” and in the future, things are going to look quite different.
Again, before anyone thinks this post is an apologist backing the company, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. I think it’s terrible WWE continues to report record revenue and still harps on gutting departments with the philosophy that “budget cuts” are the reasons, when everyone should just admit it’s a matter of consolidation, power struggles and an effort to increase profit margins. “Increased revenue at the expense of our employees” is not the same as “we’re struggling and we need to let some people go to ensure our survival” by any means.
But we all know that, so let’s put that point of view aside for a moment and look at the big picture from another angle: this is the big crunch and the big bang is going to happen again.
WTF is the Big Crunch?
You should know what the Big Bang is. If you don’t, it’s the proposed birth of the universe when all matter that was tightly compacted reached critical mass and exploded outward.
The Big Crunch is the opposite. It’s the theoretical endgame of things. Essentially, the universe has been expanding and it will eventually reach a point where everything does the total reverse. Things contract back into a tightly-formed unit that reaches a new critical mass and creates another Big Bang, starting everything all over again.
Without diving too deeply into things, the Big Crunch doesn’t make a lot of sense compared to the heat death of the universe or the Big Rip or other alternatives. However, for the sake of this analogy, let’s just go along with it. While it may not apply to space/time, history has shown it does apply to a company like WWE.
What is WWE Crunching On?
WWE is in a transitional period. We all see it. There are many things going on right now that feel like the company (and the world around us) is in chaos.
Eventually, a few years from now, we’ll look back and see the repercussions of these decisions that are being made. WWE (and again, the world around us) is trying out a lot of things, looking for answers and hoping to find solutions in the many different experiments.
WWE let go of several key figures at the top of the management food chain several times recently. Co-Presidents George Barrios and Michelle Wilson were released in January of last year just prior to a pandemic nobody saw coming. That was a major shift in power that has yet to fully settle.
Black Wednesday happened in 2020. A massive round of layoffs gutted the producers, tons of talent and far more staffers than we can ever know, since we’re not privy to that information. It seemed like that could be the big cull and nothing else would follow.
Then, it happened again this year after WrestleMania. And then, a round of NXT releases. Yesterday, even more divisions saw themselves severely trimmed down, if not outright extinguished.
House shows had been on the decline even prior to the quarantine. Even WWE Shop finally stepped into the game of not ordering all their products in advance and adopted a more print-on-demand approach to cut costs.
Clearly, there is a philosophy in mind in WWE right now that things need to be simplified. It could be due to self-preservation with a fear that the bubble will burst and WWE will need to have that excess revenue to fall back on, or it could be a matter of someone getting too frustrated with a lack of organization in the power structure, or it could even be just the way certain executes do business and their attempt to secure as much control in their own hands as possible with less people who could counteract their ideas.
The Immediate Effects
Any decent human being’s immediate reaction to these types of releases is to point out that it is awful. As I mentioned above, nobody should want to see someone lose their job. There is no silver lining to seeing someone struggle to make a living unless they are a horrible human being who is getting taught a lesson, which isn’t the case here.
The next immediate effect is shifting the power balance. People are going to be expected to do the work of two or three people to compensate for the lack of manpower. That is going to see many frustrated, overworked and underpaid employees who are miserable and want to leave, while others may use that as a means to work their way up the corporate ladder by showing initiative where others fall flat.
We’ll also see some creative influences. When Paul Heyman was Executive Director of Monday Night Raw, more people like Murphy, Angel Garza and Aleister Black were being pushed. Once he was taken out of that position, we stopped seeing guys like Ricochet featured in prominent spots. Instead, more ideas like the subtitled pay-per-view names and a heavier focus on The Fiend and Alexa Bliss popped up, which might be Bruce Prichard inspirations.
Another repercussion that seems to be in effect at this particular time is building momentum with the same idea. By this, I mean “more of the same thing.” Have you ever found yourself cleaning one part of a room, only to then see that once you got the ball rolling, you kept at it until you cleaned the entire house? You paint a room and suddenly, you want to replace the floor, buy new furniture, etc? WWE may be going through those motions right now. Starting to trim the weeds, in so many words, opened up a path to a new garden that needs to be planted.
So What’s the New Big Bang to Come?
Assuming nothing crazy happens that absolutely wrecks WWE’s revenue stream, these profits will be used in the future to expand in multiple different ways.