WWE releases over 80 wrestlers in 2021, and it’s fair to say the promotion came under a lot of criticism from both former talents and critics as a result.
One person who has rarely given his opinions on such matters is John Cena, but speaking on the Rich Eisen Show, Cena shared his thoughts on WWE’s releasing policy.
“There’s a lot to unpack there. I will say this. When I started in the WWE, the WWE had just absorbed WCW and ECW, and also had two developmental territories. The rosters were abundant is probably a good word. When I started in WWE, there were releases twice a year. And it created stakes for developmental talent and it created stakes for talent to try and make a name for themselves, because we just knew. We knew in a calendar year, shortly after WrestleMania and either before or after the holidays, there would be cuts. There always were. And that seemed to stop right around when we really began to redefine ourselves with our new school, Ruthless Aggression era style of characters of me, Brock, Randy, Dave.
“When those guys began to anchor in and develop programs going into the next decade or more, and we started to expand our reach, we started to have more programming. The talent rosters started to get big. And I think a lot of it, WWE’s hiring strategy, I think a lot of it might’ve, and once again I’m not thinking for the WWE. This is just me posing a different perspective. I think a lot of it might have been a little slightly defensive hiring. Because there was, and still is, a giant boom right now in sports entertainment. People are absorbing this content, they’re engaging. People are making a name for themselves outside of the WWE, it’s no longer a one stop shop. So I think with this flux of passionate people who love sports entertainment, people do get a name for themselves outside of WWE. If the WWE feels that maybe they can be a fit in that world, they’re going to try to give that person a shot. They’re also really bullish on continuing to hire new talent.”
He went on to say he did feel bad for all the talent let go by WWE, and continued to emphasize how WWE going from hiring to firing talent will impact the way the promotion is viewed by fans.
“I know obviously this a touchy subject and it’s going to elicit perspective from everyone, and everyone is entitled to their perspective. I think the sad thing here is people who have this gift aren’t being allowed to use it and people are out of a job. And that is the absolute saddest thing, that people no longer can work for a company they called home for a period of time. I feel for everybody who’s had to go in that direction. But all of us, myself included, our journey will eventually have an end. And when you’re in it sometimes, you don’t always have that perspective.
“I personally, from my early days in the WWE, always had the perspective that it could be over tomorrow for any or all of us. Because if they can fire Steve Austin, there’s no way I’m even close to his ability. And that means they can fire me. But that’s just the culture I was brought up in. I was brought up in biannual cuts and it happened all the time. I think that WWE went through such a long period of not releasing anybody, and now they’re kind of getting back into that rhythm again. And it’s a really abrupt shift to someone who’s not familiar with that. And my heart goes out to everybody who has to get that sad news, because that’s a tough conversation to have.”
Credit to WrestlingInc for the transcription.
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