Recent WWE Firing Viewed As “Shocking” Backstage

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At the end of February, it was reported that WWE’s Senior Vice President of Talent Operations & Strategy James Kimball had been fired from the company following an HR violation.

The violation led to Kimball being fired immediately according to a report from Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful. He joined WWE two years ago after spending much of the previous decade working for UFC. He left his role as Vice President of Operations at the UFC Performance Institute to join the sports entertainment giant. Upon joining WWE, Kimball worked extensively on the company’s NIL program, trying to unearth the next generation of Superstars.

A further report from Fightful Select shed more light on the situation, noting than an “HR violation” could mean a broad variety of things, and that there wasn’t necessarily another person involved in the behind-the-scenes incident. The report also notes that people within both UFC and WWE were surprised by Kimball’s sudden departure, and one talent said they believed he would be with the company for years to come.

The report also made it clear that Kimball’s firing had nothing to do with Vince McMahon‘s return to the company in early January. The former WWE CEO retired in July amidst an investigation into alleged sexual misconduct and hush money payments, but he announced on January 5th that he would be electing himself back to the Board of Directors in order to help facilitate a sale of the company.

James Kimball Was Fired From WWE Over A “Backstage Incident”

Dave Meltzer shed a bit more light on the situation in a recent edition of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, writing that Kimball’s firing was the direct result of a backstage incident. There was no word on what the incident entailed.

“Senior Vice President of Talent Operations and Strategy James Kimball was fired last week. Fightful first broke the story and said it was due to a human resource violation. The only thing we heard is that there was an incident that happened but no details of exactly what it was.”

“He was hired in August 2020 as Vice President of Business Operations and was promoted twice into his current position.

“He came to WWE after working for UFC from 2010 to 2020 where he was Vice President of Operations for the Performance Institute.

“Kimball was the point person for a lot of the tryouts WWE had been doing and for the NIL program with college athletes and was a big part of the process of trying to line up top-level college athletes for the company.”

Amidst the corporate landscape of the company changing, WWE is currently on the road to WrestleMania, and John Cena is set to make his return to Monday Night Raw tonight in Boston, MA. He is expected to further a storyline between himself and Austin Theory ahead of their clash on the Grandest Stage of Them All.