In a startling shakeup in the world of professional wrestling, reports are rolling in that WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) is bracing for a significant round of staff layoffs as it transitions into the newly formed TKO Group Holdings, following its merger with UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship). CEO Nick Khan has, reportedly, sent an internal email to all employees, informing them about the planned layoffs.
It appears that the company is set to commence the layoffs process today, ushering in a new era characterized by profound changes in its operations. The stalwarts of the wrestling world are expected to work remotely, allowing the Human Resources team privacy as they process the layoffs. Khan, in his email, showed deep appreciation for the creativity, talent, and dedication of WWE employees, commending them for their significant contributions.
But while uncertainty looms for some, opportunity might be on the horizon for others. WWE also announced a Campus Rush collegiate athlete recruitment tour for their WWE NIL program. The tour, scheduled from September 14 to December 6, will visit six universities and colleges across the United States as WWE continues to scout talent for its ever-growing stable.
The media rights landscape for WWE may also see some shifts as the company adapts to its new business structure. During the recent BofA Securities Media, Communications, & Entertainment Conference, FOX CEO Steve Tomsic offered his thoughts on renewing media rights deals. However, he did not comment specifically on the potential renewal of FOX’s rights deal with WWE for SmackDown.
In a surprising turn of events, Bayley, the beloved WWE superstar, is auctioning off her ring-worn gear on eBay to benefit the Hawaii Animal Rescue Foundation, giving fans a chance to own a piece of pro wrestling history as they contribute to a good cause.
Post-sale to Endeavor, top WWE executives received significant bonuses, with WWE CEO Nick Khan receiving the highest at 15 million, followed by WWE Executive Producer and Head of Global Television Distribution Kevin Dunn at 7 million. WWE CCO Paul “Triple H” announced a bonus of 5 million, matching that of WWE CFO Frank Riddick.
Speculations are now swirling around regarding the potential synergy between UFC and WWE. UFC Senior Vice President Lawrence Epstein expressed hope that every UFC fan might become a WWE fan and vice versa. However, UFC President Dana White diverged from this viewpoint, insisting that the two fan bases are quite different with minimal crossover.
As part of the merger process, WWE CEO Nick Khan also expressed the possibility that UFC fighters may find extended careers in WWE after their MMA careers concluded. Although UFC fighters are expected to maintain their focus on UFC, once their UFC run ends, they may potentially explore career options with WWE.
Indeed, these are transformative times for the industry. As WWE segues into the TKO Group, the company is clearly at the cusp of a significant change in its history. Regardless, the future holds uncharted territory, potential challenges, and opportunities alike for the world of professional wrestling.