Last month, WWE reacted to the coronavirus pandemic by releasing or furloughing at least dozens of talent and employees. These cuts were not made because WWE is financially struggling. WWE is actually on track to have record profits in 2020. The cuts were made in order to maintain those projected record level profit margins.
On the latest episode of Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer details how New Japan Pro Wrestling is dealing with the financial crunch of this global pandemic. Unlike WWE, they aren’t cutting any jobs:
“They’re feeling the economic hurt. So what they did was, all of the highest paid guys in Bushiroad, all the board of directors...they all agreed to to take pay cuts, ranging from 15% to 95%. And in doing so, they are cutting zero jobs.”
One of the common defenses of WWE’s talent cuts last month was that they are a publicly traded company, and they have stockholders to answer to. NJPW’s handling of the pandemic shows that it’s a flimsy excuse at best, as Meltzer further describes:
“Bushiroad is a publicly traded company that’s losing money. They’re not making money. They’re not having their greatest year in history. They’re probably having their worst year in history because all their companies are doing shitty. They have to make cuts, they’re losing money. They did not cut one job.”
WWE’s ability to bring in huge amounts of money is overwhelmingly driven by their television deals, which is the most resilient revenue stream they have in the face of this pandemic, due to their ability to air empty arena wrestling shows on television each week.
The bottom line is that if companies like NJPW and AEW have gone this long without yet cutting one job, then WWE could have done the same. But they chose not to, because they chose profits over people. It’s as simple as that.