The news of Zelina Vega’s abrupt release from WWE on Friday caught the attention of labor union leaders and politicians, and was covered by mainstream media outlets.
Vega reportedly failed to comply with the third party edict handed out by WWE last month and proceeded to open a new OnlyFans account, which did not help her case among WWE brass, according to Dave Meltzer on the latest Wrestling Observer Radio.
Meltzer noted that Vega was adamant in her position to continue with her Twitch account and the backstory is that she was among “a couple of women who were making more money through social media than their WWE contracts.” Vega was supposedly “making a lot of money on Twitch” prior to WWE asking talents to cease activity on third party platforms.
For Vega, it boiled down to choosing between WWE and Twitch, and she chose the latter, according to Meltzer.
“She made her choice and WWE had no option but to fire her,” he said.
Meltzer mentioned that since the old way of making money in WWE through house shows and PPV paydays is no longer available to talents, they are looking at other revenue sources while working only 5-6 times a month since the start of the pandemic.
Previously, talents who had low guarantees on their contracts were heavily reliant on paydays from house shows and PPVs. While talents who signed contracts pre-AEW are most unhappy due to lower guarantees, talents who got bigger contracts post-AEW have been less vocal about the developing situation.
With WWE taking away the talents’ ability to make money off streaming platforms, there is growing resentment in the locker room, added Meltzer.
“With no house shows or PPVs, they need a way to augment the past money and WWE took it away from them.”
On the flipside, WWE maintains that it should get a slice of the revenue that talents make by utilizing their WWE names, albeit in third party platforms.
WWE is reportedly in the process of doing their own Twitch deal and giving a percentage of that revenue to talents. The percentage will be counted against downside guarantees, which is another bit of information that hasn’t sat well with some talents.
Vega returned to her Twitch feed on Friday within a few hours of her WWE release. She is presently serving the customary 90-day non-compete clause, which prevents her from appearing on TV for any other wrestling promotion until mid-February 2021.