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

The following is today's edition of Ask WNW. Ask WNW is the most popular feature on the website where Richard Gray answers four questions daily, Monday through Friday. To submit your question for the next installment of Ask WNW, click here.

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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