Over the past year, WWE has released numerous stars on the both the main roster and in NXT. Names like Bray Wyatt, Braun Strowman, Ruby Riott, Bronson Reed, and others have made their departures from the company.
The reported reason for these releases were due to budget cuts within the company. For NXT specifically, a change in who they want to develop (younger/bigger stars) has also been said as a reason for the releases.
WWE President and Chief Revenue Officer Nick Khan sat down with Ariel Helwani of BT Sport to address the high number of stars that WWE has let go. Khan was also asked about being the one that many fans have pointed the finger at as the reason why so many stars were let go.
“How I look at things in this business and life, the people who I love and care for, of course, I care about what they think about me as an individual,” Khan said. “The people I don’t know, they’re allowed to have their opinions. It does not affect me in any way. I don’t read it. I don’t look at it. It’s not something that I derive any pleasure or pain from.
“It’s nothing that affects what we do, and how I look at things — in terms of getting blamed for things — when something’s a disaster, I want all of the credit, when something’s a hit, I want none of the credit. If I’m blamed for whatever the fans don’t like, that’s good by me. As long as the good folks I work with who are making hard decisions, if it takes some of it off of them, I’m good with it all day long.”
Getting to the number of cuts this year, Khan was asked if he is involved with the decision making process.
“There’s a collective of us, keep in mind in WWE there’s one boss — that’s Vince, as we all know” Khan began. “Between Bruce Prichard, who oversees the entire creative process, between Kevin Dunn, who oversees all of our production, between Stephanie McMahon, Paul Levesque, all are involved in these decisions with ultimately Vince making the final decision on everything.”
Helwani then wondered if Khan could explain why there were so many releases this year compared to past years. Khan didn’t think there was one particular reason for why it happened.
“I dunno that there’s one explanation for it, I think ultimately what’s looked at — is this person for us? Are they going to move the needle now or in the immanent future?” Khan said. “By the way, we had a two-day tryout in Las Vegas, which ended yesterday. Triple H, John Laurinaitis, and Bruce Prichard were all across — as were the rest of us. We’ve signed over a dozen new talent coming out of that tryout and I’m not suggesting, ‘Oh, that’s why we cut the other talent,’ but we’re always looking for what’s next.
“We live in the present, we live in the future, we don’t live in past. So, when people leave and they move on with their life and their careers, that’s good by us. For us, it’s what works for us and our product at that moment in time, and again, what’s going to work down the road. And largely, in-part, the existing roster is based on that.”
In this interview, Khan also clarified his “We’re open for business” comment about the possibility of WWE being sold. You can check out the clip about WWE release and the full interview in the videos below.
If you use any quotes from this article, pleases credit BT Sport and give a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
"When something's a disaster I want all the credit, when it's a hit I want none of the credit. If I'm blamed for what the fans don't like, that's good by me."
Nick Khan addresses the number of releases this year.
— WWE on BT Sport (@btsportwwe) August 22, 2021