Unsurprisingly, the latest news about WWE’s policy on its wrestler’s third party business relationships with online services like Twitch is not going over well with the roster. Probably equally unsurprising? Talent is said to be reluctant to speak up about it.
That’s according to the latest Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Dave Meltzer confirmed Wrestling Inc’s report that WWE will be taking over wrestler’s Twitch accounts in four weeks, paying them a portion of the revenue those accounts generate against the downside guarantee in their contracts.
It’s payouts counting as part of wrestlers’ downside that’s causing the most upset. With PPV bonuses a thing of the past and no house show revenue to look forward to, money from third parties had been taking their place. If this new policy goes into effect, extra work being done to create content on Twitch would just be part of the guaranteed minimum amount WWE is already contracted to pay talent.
Communication on the issue does sound muddled. The Observer spoke to sources who said they were aware of the new policy, and that the Inc story was correct. Some said they’d received an email from WWE about the Oct. 2 deadline for terminating relationships with third parties, first reported on last month. Others had only heard about the new wrinkle from their fellow wrestlers, but not directly from the company.
Overall, the locker room is surprised WWE is pushing the new policy, especially in light of the mainstream attention the story initially brought, and with it the threat of increased government regulation should Joe Biden win the Presidency in the upcoming election. One wrester is quoted as saying:
“This is amazing because it’s really going to open up the independent contractor issue. All these smart attorneys surrounding Vince and this is the battle he wants?“
“This would be infuriating to me if I had spent time building up my social media channels only to have WWE take them over from their ‘independent contractors.’ People are angry and rightfully so.”
Thus far, we’ve seen one notable “independent contractor” seemingly comply with the new directive to cease dealings with third parties:
More to come...