In the wake of a stressful Royal Rumble that included a multitude of changes, morale in the WWE locker room is reportedly the lowest it’s been in decades, if not all time.
While the Royal Rumble was a great night for winners Brock Lesnar and Ronda Rousey, the event has been heavily criticized as it was plagued with changes made to both the men’s and women’s Royal Rumble matches. A report from PWInsider noted that morale among talent was low after the event due to frustration with all these changes and the “complete chaos” that took place.
Another report noted that the absence of Triple H and TJ Wilson contributed to dissatisfaction among talent as they have been instrumental in planning Royal Rumble matches in the past and their absence was felt. Shane McMahon, who helped orchestrate the men’s Royal Rumble match, reportedly had major heat after the event and it has since come out that he is no longer with the company.
A new report from Fightful Select confirms that locker room morale in WWE is the lowest it has been in decades, and notes that it is perhaps the lowest it’s ever been.
The report states that Fightful has spoken to many members of the WWE roster, ranging from those who are rarely on TV to consistent main eventers, and have heard of increasing frustrations with the direction of the company across the board.
The men’s Royal Rumble was a particular point of frustration as talent weren’t happy with the production of the match, complaining that it failed to make special moments and also didn’t capitalize on the angles leading into the match itself. According to the report, a repeated point of contention was that the majority of the talent in the match weren’t properly highlighted.
The report also states that one longtime talent said that they get the vibe that nothing matters in WWE outside of “maybe” four people, and over a half dozen roster members pointed to problems with continuity in storytelling and nobody being designed to do anything of note.
Several talent that spoke with Fightful lamented that they feel like they don’t have a voice in the company and are reduced to make pleas on social media to bring attention to their characters. One particular roster member said they’ve “never felt less heard” in the entire time they’ve been with the company and that attempts to speak with Vince McMahon are either ignored or addressed hastily, or – in some instances – turned on their ear as plans are made out of spite to directly contradict the talent’s recommendations.
The report also notes that there have been many instances of contradictory decisions made over the past few months that change the course of plans for talent, changing the story direction to something the talent had already pitched and had denied previously.
In an era of declining ratings, it seems that fans are dissatisfied with the direction of programming, but one talent says that the WWE locker room is in the same boat:
“If you see a complaint with merit and in good faith about something that lacks sense, logic or continuity, I almost guarantee we have complained too, it just never changes anything.”
Amidst these increasing frustrations, Fightful notes that several WWE wrestlers believe the company will eventually be sold, as it’s the only way to rationalize some of the decision making going on at present.
It should of course be noted that these views aren’t representative of the entire locker room and represent the individual experiences that were expressed.
One member of the WWE roster who’s made his dissatisfaction with the company public is Mustafa Ali, who recently posted a video to Twitter and announced that he had requested his release from the company, saying:
“I have a message that is much bigger than my dreams in pro wrestling.
“Despite my best efforts, I will not be able to deliver this message while working with WWE.
“Therefore, I am requesting my release from WWE.”
When his request wasn’t granted, he also made it clear that he had no interest in participating in the now-maligned Royal Rumble.