It seems like every year the WWE goes through a talent purge. It's an inevitable routine that sees a lot of the underutilized talent removed from either the Performance Center and NXT or the WWE's main roster. Last year it was WWE Superstars like King Barrett, Damien Sandow, Santino Marella, Cameron, Hornswoggle, Alex Riley, El Torito and Zeb Colter. This year, the prospect of more layoffs and other noticeable changes seems much more gloomy.
On the latest episode of Wrestling Observer Radio, Meltzer stated that WWE, “promised everyone,” they were going to have bigger profits in 2017 than they had in 2016. To date, that has not at all been the case.
What this means is that the WWE is going to need to find alternative ways to earn those net profits for the shareholders. The easiest way in most big corporations tends to be budget cuts or decreased spending. In the case of the WWE, talent releases will be only the beginning. Lower production costs are coming and it is believed that the process has already started.
At most live events and television shows, there is longer a pyro. Downsizing the number of tournaments the WWE puts on (specifically the UK tournament) and additional WWE Network program cancellations are next. Fans who were upset that Talking Smack, The Edge and Christian Show and Unfiltered were removed from the WWE Network schedule may find more disappointment as other shows start to disappear as well.
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One area that has the WWE concerned is the lack of Network subscriber growth that typically comes from WrestleMania season. In 2017, numbers didn't spike as expected, and since the WWE Network is the main source of revenue for the company, it explains how they've fallen some $20-plus million short of the mark they originally intended to meet.
In an effort to gain back their bottom line, the WWE will have to look at their overall amount of pay-per-views they produce, the type of programming they create on the WWE Network, and consistently underperforming divisions such as WWE Studios. In an effort to earn more profits, perhaps the company looks to add sponsored ads on the WWE Network. There will be no shortage of suggestions as Vince McMahon and company try to get things back on track.
While the WWE isn't necessarily struggling financially (they actually showed record numbers in the Q2), they don't want to be seen as a company that can't deliver on their promises to shareholders. It could be dark times ahead as they try to produce the profits they virtually guaranteed.