Richard Borger owns Face 2 Face Wrestling Academy which is run by now former WWE Superstar Heath Slater. Borger discussed how Slater is handling his recent release when he joined The Wrestling Inc Daily podcast.
"I talked to him an hour before he was cut and then I talked to him after he was cut," said Borger. "It was one of those things that when the news came out that they were gonna be making cuts, he called me. He says, 'This guy and this guy and this guy were all talking in chat and on the phone. What do you think?' I said, 'I think they're gonna cut you guys today.' He goes, 'Really?' I go, 'Yeah, I think the whole lot of you is getting cut.'
"We went through names and every name we talked about got cut. Unfortunately, it is what it is at this point. WWE massively overpaid guys a year ago and guys jumped on board and took advantage of it. Whatever it is Vince is doing to be Vince right now, he's cutting payroll. I think some of these guys he'll potentially pick up in a year. He'll go back and pick them up. But I think instead of making a $400,000 paycheck a year, I think they're gonna be picked up at $125,000 which is more in line with the high-end of NXT."
During any other time, other promotions would be quick to scoop up those recently released by WWE. But these aren't ordinary times and Borger was asked if he sees other promotions signing talent.
"Not during this time period, no. The smartest guy out there right now – and I've never met him – is probably Tony Khan. He took the checkbook away when they first started up. Cody was out there and the contract offers were a little crazy from what I understand and Tony took the checkbook and has taken over all hiring," stated Borger. "I think whoever is advising him on signings is doing a really good job. I think they're gonna pick up some key guys and I think everyone is certain [Zack] Ryder is going there.
"I think another person who would fit well in AEW is Drake Maverick. I think anywhere that guy goes is money just for personality. Lio Rush will end up somewhere; I'm not sure where. I don't think he fits in with AEW because they've got a lot of guys that can already do what he does. But all of these guys, I'm sure, are gonna end up somewhere though. But I think it's gonna be next year before anyone really gets signed to anything."
Some released talent are on 30-day non-compete clauses but most others are on 90-day non-competes. Borger was asked if the released talent has to comply with the non-compete clauses.
"I believe they have to stay with it. Unless there's a mutual agreement between the two that they're not gonna cut them, I don't see anyone not taking the paycheck right now," said Borger. "I don't think anyone's stupid enough to believe that they're gonna get picked up for what they're gonna make over the next 90 days. AEW, even with them having the money they do, is not gonna pay anybody in the next 90 days what they're making over this one.
"So, it just makes sense for everyone to sit tight, collect their paycheck and save it. They're all gonna make enough money to cover themselves for the next year, just off this next three months. I think the lowest paid guys over the next year are at $200,000 as far as main roster. So, that means they're gonna take, what, $50,000 over the next three months? So, if you can't live off $50,000 just sitting at home and not traveling, there are a lot of people who are gonna complain because that's a healthy chunk of money."
Borger was then asked about the possibility of one of the released not honoring the non-compete and what the ramifications of that would be.
"It's not allowed; it has to be a mutual agreement. WWE has to sign off on it and the talent has no option. WWE is in full control of everything they do. So, if WWE says, 'Oh, we're releasing you' then you're stuck to a 90 day [non-compete]," stated Borger.
He added that if a talent popped up on another promotion's TV before the non-compete is over then they would be sued along with the promotion that brought them in.
"If Tony Khan had a conversation with somebody that was on a WWE contract then WWE could sue them for tampering. And that's just talking to them – if you use them, knowing that they're on a contract, you're done. The companies that have the money out there, none of these guys have lawyers that are gonna let this happen. The talent just has no choice," said Borger.
"That's another thing to look at as far as setting things up for representation for these guys. If you're let go, then that grace period should be able to be killed if you choose to forgo that amount of money. What you're bringing up is something that would be great to implement."
You can learn more about Richard's Face 2 Face Wrestling Academy by clicking HERE. Richard's full interview with Wrestling Inc aired as part of a recent episode of our podcast, The Wrestling Inc. Daily. Subscribe to get the latest episodes as soon as it's released Monday - Friday afternoon by clicking here.