According to a report from Fightful Wrestling, there are multiple members of the WWE across brands who elected to pass on signing on new contracts in 2020.
Free agency is often an important and exciting time in professional sports. As athletes move from organization to organization, fans wonder what their overall impact will be. The same could be said about professional wrestling as contracts expire, wrestlers are released and speculation builds. A report from Fightful Wrestling revealed that several WWE performers have opted to pass on new contracts, making this a developing story worth keeping an eye on.
In a Fightful Select post of Friday, the outlet reported that at least half a dozen members of the roster have begun to “shuffle their feet or outright pass on signing new deals presented to them.” The report does not mention who these individuals are, but this is an intriguing shift in practice within the WWE as of late.
There was a time pre-pandemic when WWE consistently announced new names heading to the Performance Center to join the organization. This was described as a talent hoarding practice that tied talent up in larger contracts, effectively keeping them away from potential competitors. According to Fightful the deals offered in late-2020 were smaller than those provided earlier in the year or 2019, which has led to the current situation.
As with anything in professional wrestling, the contract situation with these performers can change over time. As the country and the rest of the world continue to work out what travel and live events look like in the near and far future, these performers may have to have a different conversation with WWE. Plus, WWE has shown it is willing to jettison talent for cost-cutting measures. In 2020 there were multiple rounds of cuts that led to talent and behind-the-scenes personal being released. Those steps pushed WWE to have a record-breaking year for revenue generation.
A new year is in front of the world of professional wrestling. As things continue to change in the industry, expect contract negotiations such as these mentioned in the Fightful Select report to continue to occur. It is too early to predict the outcome, but if the industry has shown nothing more is that performers can pop up in a new organization and shock the world.