Backstage news on what led to Zelina Vega’s firing, resentment within WWE
On the latest Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer gave more details on what happened behind-the-scenes before WWE announced that they were going to fire her.
“So, essentially as everyone knows, the talent was given a timeframe to get rid of their Twitch and Cameo accounts,” Meltzer said. “During that timeframe, Zelina Vega didn’t get rid of it and she opened an OnlyFans account. The backstory on this and it’s funny because one person kind of told me when the thing went down that there are a couple of women that are making more money with their social media than they are making with WWE and they are gonna be real interesting and one of those was Zelina Vega. On her Twitch she’s making a lot of money and so it’s like what do you do in that situation and I think she made her choice and they had to fire her and then right before it got out that she was fired she made a tweet about how she supports unionization which she has said before. I mean it’s not like that’s the first time she said that and that did play into some of it and now.”
Meltzer pointed out that Gabrielle Carteris, the President of SAG-AFTRA, reached out to Vega on Twitter and that there is mainstream media interested in this story. Andrew Yang has already stated several times that he plans on pushing for legislation once President-Elect Joe Biden takes office.
Meltzer noted that there are two tiers of main roster contracts right now. Some people were signed after AEW formed and they got big contracts and others signed before AEW started and some are making big money and some are not. Some wrestlers are not making much on their downside guarantee but they were doing fine because they were getting a percentage of the house show money but that money is gone because of the pandemic.
Meltzer continued, “I know from talking with different people that there is a resentment that ‘ok before we were working four nights a week and working our ass off and traveling all over the country and having to pay for hotels’ and now ‘we’re working one day a week and we have a lot of time off so we are figuring out ways to make money with our time off to augment the money that we’re not making and then they try to take it away from us.'”
“On the flip side from the WWE standpoint and I know where they are coming from. It’s ‘we own your name and you are trying to make money off essentially your wrestling name and not your real name’ and also from a corporate standpoint, they want to do their own Twitch deal. They’re working on it right now. They saw the money that certain people were making so it’s like ‘we should be making that money, it’s our company.'”
Meltzer noted that if wrestlers were classified as employees then WWE should have more control over what their wrestlers do but they are not getting employee benefits and as independent contractors, they should be able to make money elsewhere. It was also noted that WWE’s plan is to have all Twitch-related things go through the company with the company making the money and the wrestlers getting a portion of the Twitch revenue and the money that wrestlers would get paid from Twitch streams would count against their downside guarantee.
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