A new report claims that morale is low among those backstage in WWE as many were “greatly shaken” by the recent round of NXT cuts.
News broke on January 5th that another round of WWE releases was taking place, with names like William Regal and Road Dogg among those being let go from the company. It was revealed the next day that former NXT Champion Samoa Joe was also gone from the company.
As part of a Q&A, Mike Johnson of PWInsider addressed the mood backstage among WWE employees he’d spoken to, calling the situation “heartbreaking.”
“In speaking to a lot (and a mean a lot) of current and former NXT talents and staff last night, it became more and more heartbreaking as they all knew it was the end of the place and the era that helped build their careers…
“It was a sad day. I can tell you firsthand there were people in the company who rarely have empathy for others as they are out for themselves who were greatly shaken by what went down.”
Johnson also noted that long-time employee William Regal’s departure from the company is perhaps the one to strike the most fear into the hearts of WWE employees, because his release indicates that no one is truly safe from being cut. Regal was instrumental in recruiting NXT talent and served as the on-screen NXT General Manager from 2014 until his release.
“Regal’s departure, perhaps more than anyone, told the tale to everyone across the board that no one is truly safe and should assume they will have a job for life. The basic reaction, across many people I spoke with yesterday and told is that if Regal could be dismissed, what hope did they have of a long career there?
“WWE put a lot of fear in the hearts of talents and staffers yesterday.”
When asked what the reaction is by those in WWE who do not feel in danger of being fired, Johnson reported that there is anger and confusion at this being a different company than the one they worked for a few years ago.
I spoke to a few people who work within Titan Tower last night and this morning and many of them are befuddled, to say the least. Some admitted are angry. Some pointed out that once again, it’s not the company it was a few years ago.
One person Johnson spoke to even joked that WWE President Nick Khan seems to be running the company more than Vince McMahon and wondered what this could mean for the company’s future if Khan were to ever leave as the changes made under his regime have been vast.
“One even joked that it’s Nick Khan’s WWE, not Vince McMahon’s company at this point and wondered what happens if Khan ever does falls out of favor, given that the company has been so gutted under Khan’s vision and should his vision ever end, what happens next and there would be some really awful growing pains in order to shift it to whatever the next gear might be. A lot of the long-time employees are gone and a lot of people who have migrated over are Nick Khan knights.
“No one I spoke to yesterday and today were happy. Many were sad. Many were frustrated. Some don’t even know how to guess what might be next.”
The former black and gold brand announced in September that it would be undergoing a complete overhaul and rebranding as NXT 2.0, complete with new rainbow colored graphics, a new bright look in the arena, and featuring an influx of new talent.
This latest round of NXT cuts proves that the changes are far from just cosmetic, and reports have speculated that the company is looking to dismantle everything about the old vision for the brand. Some staff reportedly believes the cuts were made to “directly remove” several people that Triple H had hired directly into NXT.