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By Mike Johnson on 2023-09-18 10:15:00

It was an extremely rough Friday for everyone working at WWE this past week with 100+ employees let go as part of cost-cutting of redundancies after the Endeavor takeover. 

To say that morale among WWE employees has been decimated would be an understatement - how could it not, given the circumstances? -  so it should be interesting to see how the all hands on deck mandatory meeting for Stamford, CT-based employees goes this Tuesday under WWE President Nick Khan.    The employees could certainly use a rallying cry.

The sad reality is that Friday's cutbacks were always going to happen once the Endeavor acquisition took hold, but that doesn't make them any less painful for those gone from the company or makes the survivor's guilt of those who have remained any less burdensome.   We are told that for some returning to the offices today, it has been a very sad morning, especially as they come across empty desks and cubicles and the realization that co-workers they personally liked had been let go.  Since everyone worked remote on Friday and today was the first morning they were back in the office, there's still a lot of processing going on.

There's going to be a lot of heavy lifting in the days ahead to keep the WWE machine rolling along, especially among divisions that are far smaller than they were a few days ago. 

It should be noted not every division was hit with layoffs, so there are some wondering if there are additional firings coming.   WWE President Nick Khan stated in an email Friday that the layoffs were done, so there does not appear to be more massive cuts in the short-term future, but certainly, as Endeavor takes control, there will be additional changes.  That's just business and how it works.

One thing that's been talked up by current and now-former WWE employees we spoke with over the weekend is that this "wouldn't have happened" under Stephanie McMahon's watch.  Whether that is accurate or not is impossible to say, but there were a lot of people reflecting on how hard Stephanie worked to build morale and instill pride among those working for the company in the time period where she returned during Vince McMahon's exit and many of them spoke about how missed she has been since she exited.  As much as she was loved by many in the company, she couldn't have prevented the sale.

We've had readers ask if there were any layoffs on the UFC side of TKO.  To the best of my knowledge, there were not and there's a reason for that.  WWE's stockholders own 49% of the new TKO company.  UFC's side has the majority when it comes to the power balance, so they weren't going to be cutting their people because Endeavor acquired a new company.  The cuts were going to come from the minority side, which was WWE.   You don't buy a company to then let it tell you how to determine its course.  That's just going to  be the new normal as TKO forges their path.  It's not right or wrong, it's just what it is now.

What WWE was before last week, it never will be again.  It can't be.  It's part of a larger entity now - it's a new normal where not even Vince McMahon himself could overrule the Endeavor overlords, even if he wanted to do so. 

There are a lot of great people who work and have worked for WWE who do a lot of behind the scenes work to keep that WWE machine moving and keep WWE fans happy, many of whom the average fan will never hear about or even know of their personal accomplishments.   It's been a rough few days for all of them.  As they figure out their new normal, either as part of Endeavor's WWE or finding themselves leaving WWE completely behind, we wish them all well.

As the old cliche says, the show must go on, and on it will, but that doesn't make this morning any easier for those who help make the show happen.

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