November 9, 2004
SLAM! Speaks: WWE roster cuts
By SLAM! Wrestling Staff
As we all know by now, WWE made a significant amount of roster cuts last week.
Gail Kim, Rico, Jazz, Rodney Mack, Johnny Stamboli, Chuck Palumbo, Test, A-Train, Billy Gunn and Nidia were cut last week in one of the largest lay-off weeks in company history. The cuts surprised many observers, both by the personalities and number that were released. The buzz in some circles is that the cuts aren't even over yet.
With this in mind, the SLAM! staff has gathered for an emergency meeting, and offered their opinions as to why the cuts have happened. Here's what we thought.
To have talent waiting in the wings being paid to encourage the active rosters doesn't make any of the shareholders happy.
My take is that it was strictly a business decision as the year comes to an end. Actually, I am surprised it didn't happen before. On a business standpoint, to keep employees standing by for possible future use is not smart business, and to make it like a valid decision, Vince McMahon will have to let even more wrestlers go before the year is over. I would say another six or seven is probably what will happen by the year's end.
Those firings can only bring positive news to the WWE, especially if it involves bookers with terrible ideas.
Corey David Lacroix
End result, non-utilized talent laid off, which will go a long way in appeasing
Wall Street in showing WWE made a profit for the fiscal year, helped by a reduction/elimination
in wages. With the money the McMahons make alone they could have easily saved
some jobs, but since when has morality out paced profits in corporate America?
As has been reported, WWE is looking to possibly switch networks when their contract with Viacom runs out. Currently, WWE runs five hours of programming on Spike TV (Raw - 2, Velocity - 1, Heat - 1, Experience - 1). It's safe to say that there are very few networks that would give that much time to WWE, especially with very low ratings for some shows. If you look at the names on the list, most have been primarily working on either Velocity or Heat over the past couple years (the exceptions being Gail Kim and Rico). So these cuts really were to one segment of the WWE population, and there will be other secondary show mainstays (like Stevie Richards, Shannon Moore and Rosie) that will be cut as WWE re-adjusts their programming hours.
That said, business is business and in this case, some of the cuts were necessary; however, the release of Gail Kim, Jazz and Rico makes no sense to me, as Jazz and Kim had lots to offer the womens division and Rico was well received by the live crowds and had a great angle running with Miss Jackie and Charlie Haas.
I wouldnt have an issue with talent releases if it meant that WWE was
going to be signing new talent from the indy scene who can fill the void with
exciting matches and some fresh characters. Unfortunately, I suspect instead
WWE will be bringing in more tall muscular guys who either arent given
the chance to show what they can do, or arent very good to begin with.
Now it's your turn. Why do you think WWE made so many roster cuts this past
week? Do you think there will be more? E-mail us and share your thoughts with
the wrestling world.