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WWE to Release 10 Percent of Overall Staff

From: Examiner.com

It seems as if the economy has also hit the publicly traded World Wrestling Entertainment. Back in November when the company released their third quarter financial reports they announced that profit had slid 37 percent over the quarter and WWE CEO Linda McMahon said the company would be looking to trim $20 million from their budget. Sure enough over the next week after that announcement six on-air talents were released from their contacts. In the following weeks that followed two developmental training talents, another on-air talent and high-ranking backstage employee Bruce Pritchard were also released from the company. Older wrestling fans may remember Pritchard’s former on-air role as the evil preacher “Brother Love.”

Today, January 9, it was officially announced by the company that the releases would continue.

They sent out this following official press release to explain their actions:

WWE® Reduces Staff by 10%

World Wrestling Entertainment® today announced a 10% reduction of its staff across all areas of its global operations. This reduction will result in annual savings of approximately $8 Million in compensation and benefit costs. Additionally, the Company will incur an approximate $3 Million one-time restructuring charge in the first quarter of 2009.

The staff reduction is consistent with the Company's previous commitment to implement stronger cost controls, increase earnings and margins, and reduce its cost base by $20 million in 2009. In addition to staffing, the Company has completed a comprehensive evaluation of its operating and capital expenditures and has identified additional efficiencies. Collectively, these initiatives will strengthen the Company's financial performance.

"These efficiencies will help position the Company for the long term, by placing it in a stronger, more flexible position," said Linda McMahon, CEO, WWE. "With these actions, we believe we can execute our key strategic initiatives, including our digital strategy and international expansion, in a more profitable manner."

The layoffs wouldn’t just affect on-air talent, the usual scapegoats when it comes to employee releases, but also office personnel. It was also reported today that many high ranking office personnel who have worked for the company for a long time have been let go as well, and some of the office workers are calling this the "Titan Tower Massacre." It seems as if the company was trying to reduce their overall pay scale, so some higher paid employees were in bigger danger. Security was called to escort out laid off employees of the property.

Almost immediately after that announcement of the on-air talents began rolling out.

So far today the company has released three on-air talents: D-Lo Brown (AC O’Connor), Bam Neely (Justin LaRouche) and Val Venis (Sean Morley). The press release was buried deep in their news section. Val Venis has been working uninterrupted for the company since 1998, which was is quite an impressive length of time for a wrestler to be working at the same company.

Referees Kevin Keenan, Mike Posey and Jimmy Korderas also have all been released. Korderas has been a referee for the company since 1987.

And literally as I was typing this up, it was announced that former referee and backstage agent Tim White and wrestler Kevin Thorne (Kevin Fertig) have also been released.

Of all the releases so far, White’s has to be the biggest shock, as he was a company employee since the mid-‘80s and besides his on-air duties as a referee he served as the personal assistant/handler/best friend to Andre the Giant. He quit refereeing full-time in 2002 when he suffered a shoulder injury while officiating a cage match.

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