Some high-profile names were among those who were let go by WWE on April 15. Due to coronavirus-related budget cuts, the WWE announced on that day it would lay off employees and on-screen talent.
Key releases include former Drake Maverick, Lio Rush and Zack Ryder. The organization let go of long-time referee Mike Chioda as well. The organization made the announcement via a press release.
BREAKING: WWE has come to terms on the release of Drake Maverick (James Curtin), Curt Hawkins (Brian Myers), Karl Anderson (Chad Allegra), EC3 (Michael Hutter) and Lio Rush (Lionel Green). We wish them all the best in their future endeavors. https://t.co/cX449nNSLU
— WWE (@WWE) April 15, 2020
The decision came the day after the organization was deemed essential in Florida. This decision came as part of a financial reconstruction. This involved reducing executives’ salaries and halting the construction of a new headquarters. WWE assures that these layoffs are only temporary.
Maverick, 37, will appear in the cruiserweight tournament this month. After that, he said his career is likely over. He posted an emotional twitter video to say his “immediate thoughts.”
“It’s affecting people’s lives. It’s affecting people’s jobs…” said Maverick in his twitter video. “I’m very fortunate that WWE is still allowing me to compete in the NXT cruiserweight title tournament, but it’s very likely that those will be the last matches that I ever have. There’s a lot of people I’m not gonna get a chance to say goodbye to that I really love and I really care about.”
Maverick broke out in tears as spoke the quote above. Former WWE Wrestler Kurt Angle replied to his tweet. He assured Maverick everything would be alright, and he would return to the ring.
Now that it has been deemed an essential service, WWE can resume live shows on television. The shows will air from their Orlando training facility and from Full Sail University in Winter Park.
A spokesperson confirmed to ESPN that there will be live shows without fans. WWE airs three shows a week: Raw, NXT (both on USA Network) and Smackdown (Fox).
WWE is the only league operating during the pandemic at this time. This includes Wrestlemania back on April 4-5.