I know wrestling isn’t something we normally cover here, but this is important. WWE is trying to take over the Twitch accounts belonging to the folks who work for the company.
WWE talent across the company has been informed that the company itself will forcibly seize ownership of any Twitch accounts under the superstar’s name in a few week’s time. What the heck does that mean? A report from Raj Giri at WrestlingInc. has revealed that WWE will officially own the Twitch accounts and talent will receive a percentage of the revenue from them. In short, WWE and Vince McMahon are forcing their talent to be beholden to the company in order to earn a living at all. WWE is claiming that it owns everything to do with the star themselves, even on entirely separate platforms.
The e-mail prompting this report also reminded stars that they should sever any ties to third-parties in terms of business relationships this week, or face punishment and possible termination. This will no doubt lead to some fallout, it’s just a question of how much more stars can take.
The predictable reaction to this is ongoing, fans and stars alike are very unhappy, to say the least. People being forced out of their own income streams because of the greed of one many and his sleazy company is becoming way too common a story in wrestling. Vince McMahon has been clamping down on the employees within WWE for some time, effectively freezing them out of working with anyone but WWE.
McMahon issued a new company rule recently that forced anyone signed with the brand to only work with WWE itself, and was forbidden from working with other promotions. Combine this with the reality that WWE lists all its stars as Independent contractors to avoid labor laws and other obligations, and you have a recipe for disaster. Among the things that WWE has become infamous for in this regard, was a scuffle over whether it had to support stars with healthcare access and support during the COVID-19 pandemic, just to illustrate the kind of mentality we’re dealing with.
And it all gets worse. This new Twitch takeover would see any revenue actually paid to the star deducted from their downside guarantees. Downsides in this business are basically unemployment insurance. If a star is unable to work and is signed to WWE, they are supposed to get a payment from this downside. That would now mean that WWE could reduce the amount paid out via downside guarantees if any wrestler decides to stream on Twitch to make money while they can’t go perform. Wrestling is a risky business, to freeze stars out of making money and to then take a portion of that money for themselves makes WWE and Vince look like the scum that they are.
Dave Meltzer reported in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter that WWE Superstars are “livid” with the changes but nobody will speak up about it. Most WWE stars are angry over the reduction in downside guarantees.
This culture of fear is very reminiscent of the kind of mentality towards dealing with abuse and crunch in video games. I wonder if either industry can collectively pull their heads from their bottoms.
It all just reveals that Vince McMahon has not merely been playing the greedy conservative businessman on TV all these years. He really is just that slimy. McMahon is worth hundreds of millions of dollars, and continues to demonstrate how little he cares about the cost of this wealth in real human terms.