WWE has released a number of superstars as it takes measures to cope with the coronavirus pandemic.
Chief among them is the legendary Kurt Angle, but who else has been placed on furlough by Vince McMahon?
Which WWE stars have been released?
An updated WWE statement revealed that as well as Kurt Angle, popular Bulgarian Rusev was one of the WWE superstars to be released.
It read: “WWE has come to terms on the release of Kurt Angle, Rusev (Miroslav Barnyashev), Drake Maverick (James Curtin), Zack Ryder (Matthew Cardona), Curt Hawkins (Brian Myers), Karl Anderson (Chad Allegra), Luke Gallows (Drew Hankinson), Heath Slater (Heath Miller), Eric Young (Jeremy Fritz), Rowan (Joseph Ruud), Sarah Logan (Sarah Rowe), No Way Jose (Levis Valenzuela), Mike Chioda, Mike Kanellis (Mike Bennett), Maria Kanellis, EC3 (Michael Hutter), Aiden English (Matthew Rehwoldt), Lio Rush (Lionel Green), Primo (Edwin Colon) and Epico (Orlando Colon Nieves). We wish them all the best in their future endeavors.”
Will the wrestlers return once the coronavirus pandemic is over?
Although the WWE statement suggests that the furloughed wrestlers will not return, Vince McMahon has not ruled anything out, saying the WWE is “well positioned” to deal with the crisis.
An earlier statement released on Wednesday confirmed cuts of over £3million per month are to be made along with a temporary £110m saving from delaying the construction of WWE’s new headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut.
It read: “Due to COVID-19 and current government mandated impacts on WWE and the media business generally, the Company went through an extensive evaluation of its operations over the past several weeks.
“The Company’s reductions of employee compensation and headcount result in an estimated monthly savings of £3.2m along with cash flow improvement of £110m primarily from the deferral in spending on the Company’s new headquarters.
“Additionally, the Company has substantial financial resources, both available cash and debt capacity, which currently total approximately £400m, 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.”
What have the wrestlers said?
Drake Maverick, one of those released, shared a video of him choked up tears after learning his fate.
Fighting back tears, he said: “There’s a lot of people that I’m not going to gave a chance to say goodbye to, that I really love, that I really care about.”
And Rusev wrote on Twitter: “Thank you all, Rusev out!”