Drake Wuertz, who WWE released today (May 19) along with at least seven other contracted talent, wasn’t shy about sharing his questionable, controversial views. He espoused them on camera at public meetings, and posted them online.
There were indications he was similarly forthright with his religious extremist, conspiracy theory-driven views on the job at NXT - including a report the company barred him from being at the Performance Center during a suspension earlier this year.
But with his firing, more people with firsthand knowledge of Wuertz’s behavior in the workplace have come forward to Fightful Select. The major takeaway for the overall report, for me at least, is what took them so long to part ways with him?
- Several people told Sean Ross Sapp the referee brought “nuclear heat” on himself over the past year after WWE warned him about attending events unmasked and while unvaccinated.
- Wuertz also made several “power plays”, where in the course of angling for a better position in the company he would try to “get heat on” other people to better his chances.
- In a particular troubling note, it’s said minorities had issues with “the way things were worded by Wuertz.” EJ “Ezra Judge” Nduka (who was also released today) once almost got “physical” with Wuertz in such a situation. Wrestlers of color complained to management about incidents like that multiple times.
- Florida reporter Jon Alba said something similar earlier, tweeting “In the past 3 weeks, multiple WWE and NXT Superstars told me they believed Drake Wuertz was racist, and felt uncomfortable around him at the WWE Performance Center. One noted they even felt odd with him reffing closed-door matches at the PC.”
- Fightful says “no fewer than ten wrestlers” have told them they didn’t feel comfortable or safe around Wuertz.
- He would “loudly criticize” wrestlers for getting vaccinated or even getting a routine flu shot.
- Last but not least, before last year’s TakeOver: In Your House, which happened during the height of last summer’s global reckoning on racism, Triple H gave a speech to the locker room about inclusivity. When he mentioned being accepting of all religions, “Wuertz’s attitude immediately changed, and he aggressively gathered his belongings and left.”
You could understand WWE wanted to attempt to work with someone who was very highly thought of in the business until relatively recently, and to help someone people care about. But in addition to this behind-closed-doors behavior, reporter David Bixenspan’s been documenting Wuertz’s equally upsetting public actions for months now, too.
Sounds like Triple H and his team risked alienating - and worse - a lot of people by taking this long to address Wuertz’s descent into radicalism.
Today they decided they couldn’t risk it any more.