World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) did some spring cleaning of its roster today, releasing more than a half-dozen contracted talent, including longtime promoter and corporate leader Vince McMahon.
In an effort to cut costs and streamline the roster, the company announced a mass layoff that included “enhancement” wrestlers such as Brodus Clay and Camacho, as well as the marketing genius who singlehandedly transformed professional wrestling from a dingy sideshow into an international sports-entertainment juggernaut.
While the releases of Evan Bourne, Yoshi Tatsu and Curt Hawkins are not terribly surprising (even to them), the dismissal of McMahon comes as more of a shock, given his decades-long leadership of the billion-dollar, publicly traded pop-culture empire.
A company press release shed no light on the reasons for the release, stating only: “We wish Mr. McMahon the best on his future endeavours.”
Although McMahon has been largely absent from WWE television in recent months, it has been widely believed that he remained the company’s Chairman and ruling patriarch.
Triple-H, McMahon’s son-in-law and Chief Operating Officer of the company, offered only a brief comment when approached by reporters outside WWE’s Connecticut headquarters:
“Creative had nothing for Vince,” he said. “Releasing him is what’s best for business.”