There was a ton of discussion recently about WWE stars’ status as independent contractors. The talk was started by WWE putting restrictions on their stars using third-party platforms. This drew the ire of former US Presidential candidate Andrew Yang.
Andrew Yang went on record saying WWE was greedy for not employing their wrestlers. However, now he has spoken with WWE star Dolph Ziggler with Ziggler taking both sides of the argument. Here is the quote from Ziggler’s appearance on Yang Speaks, courtesy of Fightful:
“It’s a gray area. For ten years, I’ve gone back-and-forth like, ‘how does this make sense?’ But I see some points. As much as I’d like to stick it to the man, there are some points that they make. I am representing that company when I do a comedy show or go on FOX News. Long-term, when it comes to me getting, say, a deal with Muscle Milk. I did that, theoretically, it is because of WWE and someone knows me, possibly. If they want to do a deal like, ‘Hey, we’ll give you a couple $100 bucks and all the Muscle Milk you can drink,’ Well, WWE behind the scenes could be working on a $5 million deal with Muscle Milk and I just ruined it.
So there’s a little bit of both sides we have to understand. You’re still working for a brand, for the most part, as long as it’s not bad-mouthing the company and a couple of other things, you get more leeway and the paperwork is there to protect them, whether you think it’s fair or not. You ask and sometimes you get told, ‘It wouldn’t be great for the company, but you make your own decision.’ It took me 12 years of doing things and being sent to other countries on a PR tour to get them to trust me to do something else. I get both sides, but also when it comes to independent contractors, we should be able to do whatever we want and wear what we want as long as we’re there on Monday to do the match, I get that.”
There have been tons of stories over the years of WWE stars not getting opportunities despite being independent contractors. For example, CM Punk told the story on Colt Cabana’s podcast that he was told he wasn’t allowed to have sponsors put ads on his tights.
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