The stream is over
It is being reported that World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) has decreed that its stars must cease all “detrimental” third-party deals/engagement, which is presumed to include live streaming on Twitch, YouTube, and other social media platforms.
In a letter obtained by Wrestling Inc. and clarified by industry insider Bryan Alvarez, WWE CEO Vince McMahon ordered WWE stars to terminate all ongoing third-party activities within 30 days, or face the possibility of fines, suspension, or termination at the company’s discretion. While the letter references activities that are “detrimental to [the] company”, the non-specific wording at what constitutes “detrimental” has reportedly left some talent confused and frustrated.
In response to online criticism from both fans and current and former WWE stars, the company has since issued a second statement reaffirming the decision.
In recent years, many top WWE stars have used platforms such as YouTube, Twitch, and Cameo to connect with their fans. Wrestlers Dakota Kai, AJ Styles, Cesaro, Mia Yim, and Asuka are among those who frequently stream video games, hold charity marathons, or simply converse with their followers. Such activities have increased during 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact those within the pro-wrestling industry, causing a drop-off in all-important merchandise royalties and ticket sales, while devastating the independent scene.
As all WWE wrestlers are designated “independent contractors”, (a phrase that has long been a source of major controversy within the business,) it remains to be seen whether this new “third-party” decree can or will be upheld from a legal perspective. It is believed that WWE will further expand on this ruling to its talent at this week’s TV tapings.
Vince McMahon threatens to punish talent engaging with third parties [Wrestling Inc.]