Clash of Champions “Gold Rush” Featured an ad-libbed card the had a few misses, but overall a solid Pay-Per-View. Asuka worked double duty, Randy Orton was forced to face his ghosts against Drew McIntyre, and Roman Reigns asserted his dominance over Jey Uso. AEW scrambled with booking as well. Eddie Kingston fought Jon Moxley for the world title and Brodie Lee extinguished Orange Cassidy. Cody made his return with a new look and a familiar attitude.
The Street-Fight between Chuck and Trent and Santana & Ortiz took the wrestling world by storm last week. Meanwhile Sasha Banks returns to Smackdown to confront Bayley on her betrayal. Jon Moxley survives an ambush attack from an unlikely ally in Will Hobbs, and Damian Priest has his first title defense against Timothy Thatcher. All that and plus a Sue-studded Being The Elite.
The Elite have officially broken up. Matt and Tyler discuss what that means for The Young Bucks, Adam Page, and Kenny Omega going forward. Finn Balor is the new NXT Champion, Asuka defends her title against Mickie James, the guys talk about their favorite segments from Being The Elite.
In 2017, Donald De La Haye’s D1 NCAA scholarship was voided over YouTube monetization, now WWE is threatening similar actions against its employees over third party concerns. Le Haye’s story sparked national outrage and exposed the greed and oppressive nature of an organization intent on keeping a clean image. Will the pro wrestling conglomerate face the same media backlash for its oppressive labor regime?
In a corporate email obtained by f4wonline originally sent on September second, WWE informed recipients that, “…You are engaged with outside third parties using your name and likeness in ways that are detrimental to our company. These activities must be terminated within the next 30 days.” This caused many fans and experts to speculate on exactly which services could render wrestlers, commentators, and personalities personae-non-gratae. Everything from, Instagram, youtube, twitch, and cameo were all considered a liability due to the vagueness of the letter.
The Public Statement
The social media buzz generated enough noise to force WWE to respond. On September fifth, WWE commented on the controversy with a simple one-paragraph press release:
The Continued Fallout
The press release did little to quell the heat WWE was taking from fans, workers, and even former U.S. Presidential candidates like Andrew Yang, who said in an interview earlier this week,
“They’re (WWE talent) putting their lives on the line, or their health on the line, their family life on the line, all the time. They made Vince McMahon a billionaire, and then the fact that he’s still being so heavy-handed about their ability to make a simple buck on Cameo just struck me as so absurd, and ridiculous, and wrong.”
Yang also said about if workers for WWE should be treated as independent contractors or employees that “ If you’re going to control all these aspects of a wrestler or a performer’s waking life, then you should take some responsibility too for that person’s bigger picture.” It was the third party application Cameo that has become the biggest sticking point for WWE brass. According to Dave Meltzer, talent would still be able to monetize Twitch and YouTube as long as the performers were using their names, not so for Cameo.
Cameo allows for personalized messages to be read by celebrities and influencers alike. Dozens of performers were using the service, from champions to commentators. They charged anywhere from 20 dollars to hundreds of dollars depending on the WWE superstar. If WWE does not allow Cameo, the company is protecting more than just their own “intellectual property” they are claiming ownership talent themselves.
WWE’s message may have sparked outrage but more than anything it appears to have the desired effect on its workers for the most part. Many superstars have already made their Cameo unavailable to the public or changed their appearance like Sasha Banks simply going by “Mercedes Motivation”, or Tom Phillips adjusting his to just “Tom”. The company’s actions have received very little pushback from most major news sources and even less from current talent.
Only Saraya-Jade Bevis, known in WWE as Paige, publicly commented on the WWE’s transgressions with a simple “nope” on twitter after the story became public. With seemingly no ethical boundaries and no overseeing body holding WWE accountable for their labor actions. The Stamford Connecticut based and publicly-traded company will face no repercussions or even investigations for their continued “exploitation of these characters.”
Since the Donald De La Haye story, media and activists have pressured the NCAA to change the way their athletes can use their stardom. Starting in January 2021 athletes in all three divisions will be able to use their name, image, and likeness for monetary purposes. This action was ratified unanimously by the NCAA Board of Governors. If the same progress is to be expected from WWE, it must come from external forces, not internal.
This week on No Count Outs, Tyler and Matt express their frustration towards WWE and AEW. Matt Hardy versus Sammy Guevara cut short after a botched table spot that ruined the rest of All Out. In WWE there was a non finish between Adam Cole, Finn Balor, Tammaso Ciampa, and Johnny Gargano. A returning Jey Uso became the number one contender to Roman Reigns’ Universal Title. All of that plus a full break down of All Out and controversial WWE news that took social media by storm.
Roman Reigns is the New Universal Champ! Matt and Tyler discuss his recent alignment with Paul Heyman and what that means going forward. Hangman Page betrays the Young Bucks and costs them a title opportunity and the end of an era for the elite. Moxley outwits MJF in a contract signing. Dominik impresses again as the Mysterio’s fight Rollins and Murphy.
Summerslam at the Thunderdome featured the debut of Dominik Mysterio, the return of Roman Reigns, and multiple title changes. On Raw, the action continued with Randy Orton facing Keith Lee, that left Tyler and Matt underwhelmed, to say the least. They vent it out on this episode of No Count Outs.
2 huge shows, 1 mega episode. Dynamite and Takeover thrill Matt and Tyler. They go overtime, gushing over Keith Lee, Brodie Lee, Pat McAfee and more. Big title changes, major payoffs. All in this edition of No Count Outs.
This week Matt and Tyler discuss the purpose of Retribution and Raw Underground. We mourn the loss of Kamala. Asuka earns a title shot against Sasha Banks. Pat McAfee, AEW, and BTE feature heavy amounts of Dark Order. Title matches on both WWE and AEW highlight an incredibly fun week of pro wrestling.