Friday brought the news that yet another person working for WWE had been fired, top SmackDown writer Chris DeJoseph. Which, sadly in these times, isn’t anything new. Since mid-April’s Black Wednesday, where WWE released or furloughed a reported 40% of its staff, new names have still been coming out almost two months later – with the promotion only initially announcing the main roster wrestlers that had been let go. We had to wait until producers, writers or NXT wrestlers confirmed their own departures on their personal social media.
WWE firing DeJoseph initially seemed like more of the same. Someone cut in the mid-April releases, but their name only becoming public now. But according to multiple sites, DeJoseph was actually only fired late last week, and it’s because Vince McMahon grew “irate” with his conduct backstage.
Which I’m sure has us all asking the same question: wait, who’s Chris DeJoseph?
Presumably meaning Chris The Joseph in English, similar to Rock ‘The Dwayne’, DeJoseph first worked for WWE from 2004 – 2010 as a backstage writer, and was used onscreen as the comedy character Big Dick Johnson. On leaving, he became a Story Producer of non-wrestling, but also kind of wrestling structured reality shows Redneck Island, American Grit, Celebrity Big Brother and Big Brother USA. During his nine-year WWE hiatus, he was one of the founding members of Lucha Underground, and was briefly made the co-executive producer of MLW shortly before he was rehired by WWE in 2019 – where he only just received a promotion in December to become one of the lead writers on SmackDown. The Joseph was a very experienced, senior creative member backstage.
But as we’ve seen with previous top writers and producers on SmackDown, like Eric Bischoff, Road Dogg and Ryan Ward, you’re more prone to Vince’s wrath and at risk of being replaced by someone he prefers from Raw.
RingSideNews first reported that The Joseph’s firing had nothing to do with WWE’s cost-cutting during the pandemic, and was in fact due to “highly unprofessional behaviour”. Dave Meltzer corroborated this on Wrestling Observer Radio, pointing out he had only “just gotten a promotion very recently” and:
“It was a disciplinary thing. I don’t know all the details but I know it was a disciplinary thing… Something happened with Vince and I don’t know exactly what it was but he was let go. He was fired on Friday. Everyone got the word on Friday afternoon.”
SEScoops has added it was indeed Vince’s call to fire him, after McMahon became “irate| over The Joseph’s “highly unprofessional” behavior. Which probably means he had the audacity to sneeze in a meeting. Bad cow, The Joseph. BAD COW.
According to SEScoops sources who worked closely with The Joseph, “he was struggling to keep up with WWE’s grueling schedule.”
It’s speculated The Joseph was caught by surprise by his firing, as he was still live-tweeting SmackDown as late as Friday, posting about being happy for Producer Adam Pearce leading the locker room in the Jeff Hardy fallout angle. In an attempt to piece together a timeline, WrestlingNews.co points out that two episodes of SmackDown were taped last Tuesday, so the incident with McMahon might have happened in a conference call with the writers later in the week, where they were all meant to come up with creative direction for the forthcoming tapings. Presumably so Vince can then scrap it all and rewrite last minute.
But while The Joseph’s firing was a good old fashioned piece of McMahon backstage heat, that doesn’t mean WWE is done with their ruthless cost-cutting strategy.
WWE Contract Clause Allows Top Stars To Wrestle Elsewhere
After WWE’s company executives and officials were told last week they would be facing pay cuts due to Steve Corino – I hate you Steve Corino! – Dave Meltzer is reporting that referees and producers have now had a 20% cut in pay. Interestingly, however, the wrestlers still with the company – meaning those not fired back in April – are yet to have their contractual money reduced, and that cuts to their pay are considered a last resort by WWE.
Which, at first, sounds really nice. WWE are ensuring the pay of the men and women who put their bodies on the line inside the ring. They do care about people! They really care!
Unfortunately, according again to Party Pooper Meltzer, the real reason wrestlers’ pay has remained untouched is actually because of more business, business, business.
Fightful writes that if any of WWE’s wrestlers receive a pay cut, that will technically make them free agents, meaning they can be picked up by another wrestling company, like AEW. Which means, for instance, if Seth Rollins had his pay reduced by 10%, WWE would’ve breached their contract, allowing him to start appearing anywhere he wants. Like, you know, an actual independent contractor.
And like a cruel ex-girlfriend who’s now saying she wants you back after it was her who ended things with you JUST TELL ME WHERE WE STAND MEGAN, I CAN’T KEEP DOING TH- WWE have suddenly decided they want their Angle back.
Kurt Angle Returning To WWE?
After Kurt Angle returned as the special guest referee for Matt Riddle and Timothy Thatchers gruesome Fight Pit match on last week’s NXT, WrestlingNews.co is reporting “everyone internally suspects that [he] is coming back to WWE for good,” as “Vince doesn’t want to lose him to AEW.”
Apparently WWE executives don’t think Kurt would wrestle anywhere else – because how can you top being retired by Baron Corbin at WrestleMania, it’s like the Undertaker Shawn Michaels II of disappointment!? – but they still worry his name could draw viewers anywhere he went.
But according to a worrying new report, WWE might not be as safe to return to as it claims…
WWE Taping Safety In Doubt
Both the Wrestling Observer and Fightful are reporting that despite WWE suggesting on Raw they were testing talent for COVID-19 before allowing them to work the tapings, the company only took people’s temperatures and asked if they felt unwell.
Because wrestlers are famously forthcoming to management about anything that stops from wrestling.
Apparently the NXT talent used in the crowd last week had their temperatures checked at Full Sail University and were then bussed to the Performance Center in Orlando for the batch tapings of Raw and SmackDown. This seems to be a de-escalation of procedures, as during March’s WrestleMania 36 tapings, staff were being tested for COVID-19 specifically, where one unidentified member of the on-air team actually tested positive for the disease, which WWE themselves later confirmed.
For comparison, similar organisations like the UFC and AEW are carrying out specific tests for the COVID-19. UFC President Dana White has said they are using both nasal swab and fingerprick antibody tests, with “over 1,100 tests” carried out for last month’s UFC 249 alone, at an expense of $150,000.
Even then the process is far from accurate, with some studies finding as many as 29% of swab tests provide false negatives, meaning people still have the disease even though they didn’t test positive.
But don’t worry, WWE have taken a different kind of safety step: banning the buckle bomb.
WWE Bans Move
The Buckle Bomb has seen two very high profile injuries in the last five years, with Seth Rollins ending Sting’s career with one at Night of Champions 2015, and then tearing Finn Balor’s shoulder with a barricade variation at SummerSlam 2016, prompting the inaugural Jam that Jam champion to relinquish the title the following night.
And now, following Nia Jax scarily botching the move against Kairi Sane on Raw last month, PWInsider is reporting “powerbombs into the turnbuckles aka bucklebombs from the list of authorized moves used by talents during in-ring performances.”
Meltzer added on Wrestling Observer Radio that some backstage had lobbied for the Buckle Bomb to be banned for quite some time, but Jax’s one on Sane “was the straw that broke the camel’s back and then Vince banned it.”
Who knows how McMahon’s mind works? Hopefully us, in two years time.
Vince McMahon Biography Announced
As the writer of the True Believer Stan Lee biography, Abraham Riesman, has announced his next project is “a biography of Vince McMahon, who went from a dyslexic boy growing up in a trailer park to the iconoclastic Chairman and CEO of the multi-billion dollar WWE empire.” To be released by the large publishing company Simon & Schuster in 2022 with the title… Ringmaster.
What would you call Vince McMahon’s biography? Give me your suggestions in the comments down below because I’ll be replying FROM OUTTA NOWHERE and reading out the best on Wednesday’s show!
But Vince isn’t the only one having to fight off controversy…
AEW Racism & Homophobia Controversy
This week’s episode of AEW Dark was set to air Shawn Spears taking on indie wrestler and former Monster Factory Pro Wrestling Heavyweight Champion Clutch Adams. But Twitter user @Nalitman reposted a series of racist and homophobic tweets Adams made back in 2013 against then-NFL quarterback Tony Romo – asking “Is this the kind of guy you’re gonna promote? Thought you guys were about inclusivity” while tagging AEW executives Tony Khan, Cody Rhodes and Kenny Omega.
Cody quickly responded, announcing “His match has been removed.”
Adams himself has apologised in a statement to 411Mania, writing that he was 19 at the time of the posts in 2013, and was “trash-talking friends about a football game on Twitter.” He was “ignorant to the pain that those words could cause people”
Danny Havoc Passes Away
Unfortunately, as is all to often the case right now, we have to end this episode on another wrestler passing away at a tragically young age.
Game Changer Wrestling has announced the death of Danny Havoc, aged only 34. Havoc made his name in CZW as a Deathmatch legend, and numerous wrestlers have expressed their condolences online – with Drew Gulak tweeting he had only just sent a present in the mail to him last week, and Sami Callihan posting he wouldn’t be who he is today without Havoc, and reminding us all to reach out to your loved one, as life is so short.
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And you can do just that for our fan appreciation livestream today with myself, Luke, Laurie, Pete, Andy, Louis and Adam – where we’ll also be launching our Support WrestleTalk, Support Each Other campaign to help viewers struggling with their mental health.
Set your reminder for the show by clicking the event image onscreen now, which will take place at 12pm Eastern, 9am Pacific, and 5pm in the UK. And watch Adam Blampied’s latest list video the 10 worst WWE main events of all time by clicking the video below that. I’ve been Oli Davis, and that was wrestling.
Vince McMahon WWE incident causes firing of lead SmackDown writer Chris DeJoseph – https://wrestletalk.com/news/report-wwe-fired-lead-smackdown-writer/
Kurt Angle returning to WWE – https://wrestletalk.com/news/big-name-released-by-wwe-expected-to-return/
WWE pay reduction backstage – https://wrestletalk.com/news/wwe-continuing-to-cut-costs/
WWE new precautions for tapings – https://www.fightful.com/wrestling/details-how-wwe-handled-coronavirus-testing-recent-tv-tapings-talent-audience
AEW racism and homophobia controversy, with Cody Rhodes pulling Clutch Adams AEW Dark match – https://wrestletalk.com/news/aew-removes-match-after-wrestlers-controversial-tweets-surface/
Clutch Adams apologises in statement to 411Mania – https://411mania.com/wrestling/beyond-wrestling-aew-cut-clutch-adams-homophobic-racial-slurs/
WWE Ban Buckle Bomb – https://wrestletalk.com/news/report-wwe-bans-in-ring-move/
Danny Havoc passes away – https://www.fightful.com/wrestling/danny-havoc-has-passed-away