WWE mass culling: Kurt Angle, Rusev among those released

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STAMFORD, Conn.: WWE Wednesday provided an update on measures taken by the company in response to the current impact of COVID-19 on the organization.

Due to COVID-19 and current government mandated impacts on WWE and the media business generally, the company went through an extensive evaluation of its operations over the past several weeks. 

This resulted in the implementation of various short-term cost reductions and cash flow improvement actions including:
Reducing executive and board member compensation;
Decreasing operating expenses;
Cutting talent expenses, third party staffing and consulting;
Deferring spend on the build out of the company’s new headquarters for at least six months.

Given the uncertainty of the situation, the company also identified headcount reductions and made the decision to furlough a portion of its workforce effective immediately. The decision to furlough versus permanently reduce headcount reflects the fact that the company currently believes the furlough will be temporary in nature.

With live-event revenue gone, the company took steps toward "short-term cost reductions and cash flow improvement" that included cutting many notable members of its roster.

Included in those cuts were WWE Hall of Fame member Kurt Angle and long-term top-tier performer Rusev from their WWE contracts. In addition to roster members, WWE cut or furloughed many producers, including a host of retired wrestlers who aid in the construction of events and individual matches.

WWE have released a whole host of their staff so far. Here is the list in full: 
- Kurt Angle 
- Rusev (Miroslav Barnyashev)
- Drake Maverick (James Curtin)
- Curt Hawkins (Brian Myers)
- Karl Anderson (Chad Allegra)
- Luke Gallows (Drew Hankinson)
- Heath Slater (Heath Miller)
- Aiden English (Matthew Rehwoldt)
- Eric Young (Jeremy Fritz)
- EC3 (Michael Hutter)
- Lio Rush (Lionel Green)
- Sarah Logan (Sarah Rowe)
- Mike Chioda
- Primo (Edwin Colon) 
- Epico (Orlando Colon Nieves)
- Rowan (Joseph Ruud)
- Mike Kanellis (Mike Bennett)
- Maria Kanellis
- Zack Ryder (Matthew Cardona)
- No Way Jose (Levis Valenzuela)
- Deonna Purrazzo 
- Aleksandar Jaksic

Also on the culling list were: 
Aiden English (announcer)
Mike Chioda (referee)
Kurt Angle (producer)
Billy Kidman (producer)
Mike Rotunda (producer)
Dave "Fit" Finlay (producer)
Pat Buck (producer)
Shawn Daivari (producer)
Scott Armstrong (producer)
Sarah Stock (producer)
Shane Helms (producer)
Lance Storm (producer) 

WWE stated: "The company’s reductions of employee compensation and headcount result in an estimated monthly savings of $4 million along with cash flow improvement of $140 million primarily from the deferral in spending on the company’s new headquarters. Additionally, the company has substantial financial resources, both available cash and debt capacity, which currently total approximately $0.5 billion, to manage the challenges ahead. Management continues to believe the fundamentals of the Company’s business remain strong and that WWE is well positioned to take full advantage of the changing media landscape and increasing value of live sports rights over the longer term.

"The company will provide further details when it reports its first quarter 2020 results next Thursday, April 23 after the close of the market."