As mentioned in our latest Rumor Roundup, WWE’s recent announcement that its “independent contractors” can not use their names and likenesses on services such as Twitch and Cameo has drawn a range of reactions from all over.
Most folks publicly commenting are no longer working for WWE. Their responses to the news are still in line with their characters, though.
CM Punk’s was cheeky, with a coded message:
Alright guys. Girls. Are they gonna fire— player/coach (@CMPunk) September 5, 2020
Everyone? Just keep doing you. Don’t
The former Renee Young made a polite joke:
Sooooooo guess now would be a good time to launch my Twitch and Cameo??— Renee Paquette (@ReneePaquette) September 4, 2020
Paige, who about this same time changed the name of her Twitch channel from “OfficialPaigeWWE” to “sarayaofficial” (we’ll see if that works, since word was WWE is claiming ownership of talent’s legal names in addition to their kayfabe one - although that has since been refuted by sources of Fightful Select), was defiant:
Nope.— PAIGE (@RealPaigeWWE) September 4, 2020
While Hall of Famer Mick Foley was a disapproving dad-type:
Banning wrestlers from making extra money on third party deals - twitch, YouTube, cameo - strikes me as a crummy thing to do.— Mick Foley (@RealMickFoley) September 5, 2020
Just my opinion.
And Kevin Nash is all business in Mick’s replies:
Especially as 1099 independent contractors. You're an employee if you have to show up at specific time and are restricted monetary gains in your personal time. Ask for your health insurance coverage and profit sharing— Kevin Nash (@RealKevinNash) September 5, 2020
Soon-to-be Hall of Famer Dave Bautista chimed in with a “no comment” retweet from a politician. While the third party ban could factor into a lot of wrestlers’s decisions about whether to sign with WWE, it’s Andrew Yang’s that has the potential to be the most problematic for Vince McMahon. Yang is a lawyer, entrepreneur and recent Presidential candidate, and he thinks he’ll soon have even more pull in Washington.
Bautista’s retweet is just the start of Yang’s thread. The entire text of it is below that.
“If I’m not the Secretary of Labor I’m pretty confident I’ll have his or her number to talk about the ridiculous classification of WWE wrestlers as independent contractors while controlling their name and likeness for years, even for something as benign as Cameo.
“Come on Vince – you’ve already deprived the folks breaking their backs for you of healthcare, security, recovery time, retirement benefits and fair treatment re: licenses and royalties. At least let them make a living off their own names. Many of them need it.
“I grew up a wrestling fan and it’s been sad to see so many of my childhood heroes pass away early. I’d feel better knowing that they and their families were being fairly treated – I look forward to doing what I can for the next generation of performers. I know how tough it is.
“Vince you’d better hope your old friend Donald wins because change is in the air and changes are long overdue where your corrupt labor practices are concerned. It would give me great pleasure. The people know.”
Will this blow over, or blow up in Vince’s face? There’s value in working for WWE, and the company can still outbid pretty much anyone for the big names. But if you’re on the fence and want to build your individual brand as a safety net/investment in the future, this could influence talent to head elsewhere. And if it brings a serious re-examination of WWE’s use of the “independent contractor” designation...