Fighting Independent Contractor Classification, UFC & WWE, Alex Wright Returning?

With some of these guys that get released from WWE and then come back to say how they treat the talent so bad, they put a damper on someone who is an aspiring pro wrestler. What are these guys talking about? How are they being “exploited”?

WWE classifies their wrestlers as independent contractors, not employees of the company. This means they are not given benefit packages such as retirement and healthcare that someone working in the office is given. The argument is that while classified as independent contractors, wrestlers are treated as employees. Everything from when they work to what they wear to what happens when they are not working for WWE is controlled by WWE. The classification has been fought in court but so far, WWE performer’s contracts have proven to be iron clad. I don’t like the classification and fully believe that WWE wrestlers should be classified as employees and get healthcare benefits as well as retirement. However, it drives me crazy when someone released comes back and claims the deal wasn’t fair. They signed it, they have to abide by it. Don’t like it? Don’t sign it. Someone will say, well they didn’t know what they were getting into until after they signed. Well, that’s just not how a contract works. A contract is executed when both parties agree to the terms and it’s silly to fight the terms after they have been agreed upon.

With more & more fighters looking into pro wrestling and pro wrestlers looking into MMA, do you think MMA and wrestling working together could be successful? UFC & WWE or TNA & Bellator. Or perhaps someone like Zuffa doing both MMA & pro wrestling under their own brand?

The transition from the octagon to the ring or the ring to the octagon isn’t as seamless as some people think. It’s been tried both ways and there have been success stories. Ken Shamrock went from the octagon to the ring as did Dan Severn. Brock Lesnar is the latest success story, going from WWE to become the UFC heavyweight champion. However, despite the success stories, I’m afraid a lot of MMA guys think pro wrestling is something they just do following their fighting days and that just isn’t the case. Pro wrestling is a craft that, like Jim Ross said, requires full-time effort. Just like MMA requires full-time effort. Shane McMahon pushed Vince back in his days with the company to get into MMA but Vince always pushed back. His argument was fighters lose their value after suffering a loss. People always act like Vince is crazy when he says UFC isn’t competition and while I certainly think they are competition in the pay-per-view marketplace, I’m not sure the fan bases are as similar as some think. When Lesnar was with UFC, he brought a lot of pro wrestling fans with him but it’s not like UFC has taken WWE’s business either. I’ll admit Rampage Jackson to TNA intrigues me. He’s a big name and is much more marketable than someone that worked in the mid-card in WWE and bounced around in the indies. He’s athletic enough to make the transition but it will ultimately hinge on how serious he is about being successful. Let’s see how the TNA and Bellator relationship plays out before we judge whether or not a promotion can do both successfully because so far, we haven’t seen success.

How about a “where are they now?” – former WCW Cruiserweight Champion Alex Wright

The last I heard Alex Wright was considering an in-ring comeback. He’s been training talents in Germany at his wrestling school called “The Wright Stuff” in Nuremberg. Wright hasn’t worked since 2003 but has began doing DDP Yoga and getting back into shape.

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  • Chris

    Alex Wright and Fandango versus Clay and Tensai for worst dancing duo…

    • dtorn4

      with the disco inferno as special guest referee

      • Loren Goldstein

        epic

      • rightorright

        With Norman Smiley and Ernest The Cat Miller as managers

        • Hercules Rockerfeller

          With Flash Funk as ring announcer and Rikishi as the time keeper while Two Cool does commentary!

  • Nostaljack

    Talent has no choice but to sign. Where else are they gonna go? There’s sadly no other route to success than to sign with WWE. The independents (TNA and ROH included) don’t provide a real path to success and financial stability. Only WWE can do that and that’s only if you make it to success on the main roster. WWE has absolutely no competition to speak of and, until they do, talent is at WWE’s mercy and they have to go along with WWE’s “independent contractor” garbage.

    • http://www.wrestlingnewsworld.com/ Richard Gray

      Correct. So either you accept it going in or you get a job like everyone else. And let’s not forget, TNA contracts function the same way.

      • Nostaljack

        It’s such a shame. Until there’s a company with enough cash (the formerly-hugely-successful WCW is the only one I can think of) to change the way things are done, the contracts offered to workers are always going to be ridiculously one-sided.

    • Hercules Rockerfeller

      Excuse me but TNA although is minor league compared to WWE, it is not an Indy promotion! Freaking WWE fanboys smh!

  • Matt

    Contacts are what they are and also differ based on the talent signing the contract. Like the NFL not everyone is paid the same, and you position matters into what you make in future deals/bonuses.

  • Dave L

    From Decades watching UFC and WWE, I’ll say one thing, woman will buy UFC ppv’s but not many woman will buy WWE ppv’s. And I tread lightly with that statement, but the whole Vegas scene, the fighters there even from a “po dunk” gym, get treated like gods, they spend a lot of money in Vegas, and with that brings pretty ladies, when you have pretty ladies you have guys buying for the pretty ladies, showing up for the pretty ladies and watching for the pretty ladies.

    WWE is entertainment, but its mostly geared for guys, hence the divas division. The name itself Divas puts the woman in top tear category, if it was the woman’s division then Awesome Kong would have been highlighted and kept on.

  • Dave Barton

    “Even though you’ll be our employee by all definitions, by signing this contract you agree that you are an independent contractor…or we simply won’t sign you at all.” I dunno, I’m hesitant to use the word but it sounds a little like *bullying* to me.

  • Kenneth

    Das Wunderkind sollten bald zurückkommen.