Former U.S. Democratic Presidential candidate Andrew Yang was on a recent episode of the Talk Is Jericho podcast where he and Chris Jericho discussed Yang’s outspoken views on WWE’s treatment of their Superstars. Yang has been on The Wrestling Inc. Daily podcast where he discussed how a Joe Biden and Kamala Harris victory in the U.S. Presidential election would help WWE Superstars, and Yang discussed his plans with Jericho.
“If we win, I’m going to be in position where I can call up the Secretary of Labor, or in this case, it’s the National Labor Relations Board and then bring suit against WWE and say, ‘hey, I think you’re misclassifying your employees here.’ The damages would be really significant,” Yang noted. “That is more or less the plan.
“We may need to have some brave performer or ex-performer come forward and say, ‘look, here the practices,’ and I have been contacted by folks who are like, ‘I believe in this, and I’m at a point in my career where they can’t really do anything to me anyway, so let’s have at this’ because customarily, for a National Labor Relations Board action, it typically has to be an employee that initiates. So that is one of the trickier elements of this Chris, but I’m very confident we can get there because there are a lot of people that recognize that this is wrong, and it’s been going on for far too long.”
Jericho agreed with Yang that something needs to change with WWE’s treatment of not only current Superstars but former Superstars like himself. He noted that while many of his classic matches are on the WWE Network, he does not get any royalties from those matches.
“In my opinion, this really does have to change, and this is no ill will towards the WWE,” Jericho prefaced. “It’s just the way it is. You just said all of these things. The fact, even, that they can show all of my matches on their Network that people pay for and I don’t get a dime of a royalty, it makes no sense. It’s not how normal business, normal entertainment [or] the normal world works.”
The idea of pro wrestling joining the Screen Actors Guild was also brought up on The Wrestling Inc. Daily, and Yang said it would be “transformative” if WWE and AEW wrestlers could join SAG. Yang pointed out on Talk Is Jericho that many pro wrestling shows get higher ratings than most TV shows.
“Yeah, exactly,” Yang agreed. “You should be getting residuals. One of the things that someone’s raised is that Screen Actors Guild protections are really–I mean, you can see how the Hollywood folks get treated, and a lot of a lot of performers, actually, would qualify for a Screen Actors Guild by the basis that you’re on TV, you have lines [and] you show up. I mean, the ratings of wrestling shows are higher than just about any other show on TV. You’re a talent, a performer, you’re getting a script [and] you do your thing.”
Yang later brought up the idea of NCAA student-athletes getting paid like professional athletes since their likeness is profited off of. Jericho said that WWE Superstars do see royalties from things like t-shirts, video games etc. However, he reiterated that he gets a small residual check from his small appearance in “MacGruber”, but he does not se anything from his hundreds of matches on the WWE Network.
“Well, you do get royalties for that, whatever the percentage of that is, but what we’re talking about that really gets to me, like I said, I did a movie called ‘MacGruber’ ten years ago. I was in it for two minutes,” Jericho recalled. “I still get residual checks. They’re not a lot. $20, $15 [or] $50, but I’m still getting residuals from being on that movie. Here I am with probably 100 matches on The Network and getting nothing. I don’t see the fairness in that if that’s the right word.”
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit Talk Is Jericho with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.