Mass layoffs hit WWE superstars amid Endeavor purchase

A wave of layoffs hit some major superstars following the official merger of WWE and UFC by Ari Emanuel’s Endeavor.

Last Updated on September 27, 2023


WWE didn’t need to wait until Friday night to lay the smackdown on its employees, as mass layoffs were initiated on Thursday following the merger of the pro wrestling giant and UFC, led by Endeavor.

More than 100 employees — mostly from the WWE — got some sweet chin music this week that they were being released amid the move to cut costs in the Endeavor purchase. While not everybody will be a household name, there are still some major sports entertainers on the list. These include 19-year veteran Dolph Ziggler, a former WWE World Heavyweight Champion and Money in the Bank winner; Shelton Benjamin, who had one of the longest Intercontinental Championship reigns ever (putting him in the company of The Rock and Mr. Perfect); and the vastly underutilized Elias (we hope Ezekial still has a job at least…).

Most of the WWE personnel who were let go – and some notable superstars – were in complete shock as news broke. Take a look at Australian wrestler Emma’s post, in which she said it was a “dream” to wrestle in her home country on such a big stage, only to have it squashed less than one hour later:

Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel previously stated, “I think we had a range of $50 to 100 (million initially), with regard to back office and costs. We’re on our way to kind of doing that. We did that with the UFC, we are on our way here (with WWE)…There’s also a lot of savings as it relates to the production side because of their production facility, and our production facility.”

On the WWE and UFC merger, Tony Khan, who owns All Elite Wrestling (AEW) — the promotion that has a major following and is considered the top competitor to WWE — said of the Endeavor purchase, “It will be interesting to see what happens in the world of sports, combat sports, and pro wrestling. I love pro wrestling, it’s an amazing business. I think there are a lot of really exciting things happening with sports media rights.” “Pretty exciting” may not be the best term for the layoffs, but it will be interesting to see what the future holds for WWE…

What do you think of the mass layoffs? What sort of fate does this spell for the WWE? Give us your thoughts below.

Source: Bloody Elbow

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Mathew is an East Coast-based writer and film aficionado who has been working with periodically since 2006. When he’s not writing, you can find him on Letterboxd or at a local brewery. If he had the time, he would host the most exhaustive The Wonder Years rewatch podcast in the universe.