The news over the last couple of days has been that Vince McMahon participated in a conference call last Sunday to WWE Superstars informing them that they will have to terminate any engagement with third parties such as Twitch and Cameo.
Twitch and Cameo has seen a rise in WWE superstars using their platforms to create new revenue streams or simply bolster their popularity outside of WWE. But this has now come to a head with WWE stating ‘they need to protect the brand’. Superstars such as AJ Styles and Lana have huge following on Twitch. Lana has also just reached a million followers on TikTok which could also be on the list of banned platforms. But funnily enough WWE have used TikTok in the Natalya/Lana/Mickie James feud of late.
Questions are being asked wether Xavier Woods is UpUpDownDown series which consistantly features WWE Superstars and once featured Stephanie McMahon will be able to continue, It has also been featured on the WWE network. Plus WWE creative director Bruce Pritchard has a very popular podcast, will this be in the firing line too?
Sunday phone call was followed up with a letter to superstars which seems to have confused the situation more. There are mixed reports on what talent have to do but one thing for sure is that they are not allowed to use their WWE names as WWE own the right to those. Plus WWE actually own the rights to superstars actual names when under contract, some performs will be unable to change their name from their on screen name to their actual name to get around the new rules.
The letter sent to WWE superstars read as such; (courtesy of PWInsider)
Furthering my comments last Sunday regarding the reinvention of our product, it is imperative that we promote and protect our brand in every conceivable way. Some of you are engaged with outside 3rd parties using your name and likeness in ways that are detrimental to our company. It is imperative that these activities be terminated within the next 30 days (by Friday October 2). Continued violations will result in fines, suspension or termination at WWE’s discretion. These actions are necessary in order to rebuild our brand as we enter the next phase of growth at WWE. I thank you for your cooperation in this matter and for all of your efforts towards the rejuvenation of WWE.
This news shouldn’t really come as a surprise for WWE talent as they have all signed contracts with this stipulation in and they are going against it.
WWE have since issued a statement to fightful.com which reads as such.
Much like Disney and Warner Bros., WWE creates, promotes and invests in its intellectual property, i.e. the stage names of performers like The Fiend Bray Wyatt, Roman Reigns, Big E and Braun Strowman. It is the control and exploitation of these characters that allows WWE to drive revenue, which in turn enables the company to compensate performers at the highest levels in the sports entertainment industry. Notwithstanding the contractual language, it is imperative for the success of our company to protect our greatest assets and establish partnerships with third parties on a companywide basis, rather than at the individual level, which as a result will provide more value for all involved.
All this has led to more calls for WWE superstars, who are classed as independent contractors, to form a union to help in the battle with these legal situations.