- WWE has released a mandate that forbids talent from engaging in third-party deals.
- Stars cannot use their wrestling names in outside ventures.
- WWE owns wrestlers’ trademarks and has the right to forbid external partnerships, especially if they’re not receiving royalties.
Vince McMahon rocked the wrestling industry with an edict that threatened his employees. This includes any partnership where an employee stands to make money independently of their WWE contracts.
Wrestlers Have Been Using Their WWE Names to Become Social Media Influencers
The issue came from wrestler Lana’s indulgence in promoting brands on social media. Lana has cultivated a provocative image to gain fans. Her recent partnership with Bang energy drinks is reported to be the final straw for Vince, as seen in the video below.
Apart from Lana, numerous other stars such as AJ Styles and Paige have created significant followings on platforms like Twitch and Cameo. Paige’s earnings have been reported to be as high as $40,000 per month through her Twitch account.
These stars have cashed in on the brand image WWE has afforded them. It’s also understandable why WWE felt the need to pull the plug on these liberties.
WWE’s Decision Has Drawn Major Criticism
McMahon’s decision has summoned interest from one-time presidential hopeful Andrew Yang. He’s made no secret of his disapproval by publicly denouncing the move. Former WWE star Dave Bautista shared Yang’s tweet to make clear what his opinion is as well.
McMahon has been under fire previously for the purported abuse of his employees. This stems from WWE talent being forced to pay some of their travel costs. They also have contracts that treat them as independent contractors rather than full-time employees.
WWE Hasn’t Done Anything Wrong
Despite the ongoing controversy, WWE has no obligation to allow its stars independent use of their names. These people would be nowhere had the company not provided them with the stardom that’s getting them these endorsement deals in the first place.
This includes former star CM Punk, who’s been joking about this situation, as seen in the tweet below. Maybe if Punk put as much effort in training for UFC as he does taking shots on Twitter, he might have won a fight.
Lana’s real name is C.J. Perry, but she’s been happy to use her WWE handle on social media. The same goes for Paige, real name Saraya Bevis, who even had WWE produce a movie based on her life in Fighting with My Family.
WWE is a business after all, so why would Vince McMahon want stars he’s made, using trademarks owned by him, to earn money he doesn’t get any royalties from?
Wrestlers Should Suck It Up or Pay WWE
WWE isn’t exactly in great shape, with The Rock buying off the XFL after Covid-19 forced Vince to put the league up for sale. In 2019, profits had taken a significant plunge even before the pandemic. In a statement released by WWE, the company clarified that wrestlers’ names are trademarked and legally belong to them.
If any wrestler has a problem with the ban, they should either try their luck with their real names or pay WWE. Nobody’s stopping them from leaving the company and becoming full-time influencers.
This is a money-making business. Wrestlers should act like adults and consider legal implications, no matter what anybody like Andrew Yang or CM Punk wants them to believe.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of CCN.com.