World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. announced to shareholders yesterday that the once-profitable sports entertainment juggernaut has filed for bankruptcy following the dismissal of its marquee star, Abraham Washington.
“I regret to inform members of the WWE Universe that our company will cease business operations immediately,” said a sullen-faced Vince McMahon, longtime head of the company.
“When Mr. Washington was released from his contract and departed the company, it seems he took the vast majority of our audience with him. Revenues plummeted almost to zero. We have no choice but to close our doors.”
Although WWE has lost top performers in the past — Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin and Shawn Michaels, among others — the company has never dealt with the absence of a personality with the monumental popularity and following of Abraham Washington.
Washington was fired last week after making a controversial rape joke on air. Although McMahon insists rape jokes are still forbidden, he says the firing of Washington was, in retrospect, a “regrettable overreaction.”
Known for his technical wrestling prowess and remarkable connection with wrestling fans, Washington — or A.W., as he was commonly known — was the figurehead personality of WWE since his hiring in 2009.
Although the WWE has tried to soldier on since Washington’s firing, the drastic drop in viewership has been devastating, prompting the company to cease operations after more than 50 years as the world’s premiere wrestling promotion.