Photo Via: WWE.com
It’s been a challenging year for WWE, much like it’s been for everyone else. The promotion managed to keep things rolling without fail amid the COVID-19 pandemic and had to implement a number of changes to ensure a successful run over the last several months.
With fans no longer allowed into arenas, WWE management needed to employ extra creativity, leading to the ThunderDome concept that allowed fans to form an audience from their computer screens while watching the action from home. The promotion had been shooting shows from the Orlando Magic’s Amway Center but recently vacated to facilitate the start of the 2020/21 NBA season and will pick back up at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida.
The year 2020 marked key departures for WWE, with Becky Lynch relinquishing her WWE Women’s title and stepping away to give birth. The female superstar and her fiance Seth Rollins introduced baby girl Roux to the world this month. Roman Reigns also took a step back, taking time off from wrestling due to coronavirus concerns.
Photo Via: WWE.com
WWE underwent heavy staff cuts as well. The likes of Miro (formerly Rusev), Kurt Angle, Zack Ryder, Heath Slater were among several notable personalities released by the company due to the pandemic, despite WWE posting record profits shortly after.
A high-profile retirement came in the form of The Undertaker calling curtains on his 30-year run with the company. The Deadman was given a farewell at the recent Survivor Series Pay-Per-View and could take up a backstage role with NXT.
Legends in Rocky Johnson, Pat Patterson, Bob Armstrong, Kamala, and Road Warrior all passed away this year through various causes. Perhaps the most tragic of them all was the passing of Shad Gaspard. The former Cryme Tyme star got caught in a strong rip current off Venice Beach back in May and insisted the rescue team prioritize his young son. Gaspard disappeared shortly after and his body was found several days later.
On a positive note, Roman Reigns made a surprising return to WWE at SummerSlam and wasted little time reclaiming the Universal Title thereafter. The Samoan superstar was supposed to have won the belt from Goldberg at WrestleMania 36 but Braun Strowman took his place after he opted to stay away from the ring. It’s hoped that The Big Dog could face his real-life cousin and WWE icon The Rock at WrestleMania 37 next year but it’s way too soon to tell. The promotion is understood to already have a number of alternatives in place should The Rock not be able to make it.
Drew McIntyre has also become a two-time World Champion with WWE this year and put on quite the show in a Champion vs. Champion showdown with Reigns at Survivor Series. The pair should go head-to-head again sometime in the near future.
There’s still one more PPV set for this year, with TLC set for December 20. Fans can peruse the top sportsbooks to catch up on WWE action for the remainder of 2020. Reigns will put his belt on the line for a match with Kevin Owens on the night, with McIntyre set to defend his WWE Championship against AJ Styles. The Fiend will go up against The Viper Randy Orton in a highly-anticipated clash while Carmella will challenge Sasha Banks for the SmackDown Women’s Championship. Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler will defend their Women’s Tag Championship belts against WWE Women’s Champion Asuka and Lana.
Photo Via: WWE.com
One of the bigger WWE controversies stems from the company demanding all of its wrestlers get off third-party platforms such as Twitch and Cameo. A number of WWE stars had been entertaining fans via personal streams, which helped cover for the loss of income brought about by the lack of house shows and other events they would have otherwise gotten paid for.
Zelina Vega was made an example of last month. Vince McMahon terminated Vega’s contract with the company following her refusal to get off Twitch. The female superstar had also exacerbated the issue by opening an OnlyFans account in the wake of the company’s mandate.
Former WWE superstar CM Punk recently criticized WWE over termination, citing Xavier Woods’ contract with G4. Woods was recently announced as a new host for the network, something Punk reckons is unfair.
“He’s big on Twitch. He’s a big video gamer. I don’t know what’s going on with his Twitch channel so I don’t want to speak out of turn on that. I just saw he was petitioning to get a job with G4. Why is it ok for him to do that but Zelina Vega can’t have a Twitch?” Punk queried.
WWE’s demands have also brought unwanted attention from the Republican party as senator Andrew Yang has threatened to take the promotion to task for misclassification of wrestlers once Joe Biden’s presidency gets underway.
31-year old currently living in Syracuse, New York. Longtime fan of the New York Mets, Chicago Bulls and Minnesota Vikings. Avid fan of professional wrestling and write reviews/articles on the product. Usually focusing on the old school wrestling.