WWE Champion Brawn Strowman hasn't had much to say in the wake of yesterday's layoffs that saw more than 35 WWE wrestlers, producers, and other talent released from their contracts to help the company save money during the coronavirus pandemic. Some of Strowman's friends and traveling partners in WWE, including Drake Maverick and EC3, were released by the company as part of cost-cutting measures despite WWE boasting of $500 million in cash or cash equivalent reserves to keep afloat during the crisis. The releases follow news that WWE obtained "essential" status from the government of Florida the same day a Republican SuperPac controlled by Linda McMahon pledged to spend $18.5 million in the state to influence the upcoming election.
Braun Strowman Plays a Face on TV but is a Heel in Real Life
Braun Strowman's lack of comment on the layoffs is notable because the WWE champ has been less than kind in recent weeks when talking about other wrestlers suffering during the pandemic, which has shut down live sports across the United States. Though WWE has obtained special status from the Florida government due to wielding powerful political influence and money, thus securing the revenue from their television contracts, the lack of attendance gates from wrestling shows is still a problem for the business. The lack of audience has hit the independent promoters and wrestlers who rely on appearance fees and merchandise sales to make a living particularly hard. But when AEW wrestler Evil Uno asked fans to support independent wrestlers (and other artists) suffering due to the shutdown, Strowman was less than kind.
"In the wake of all these cancellations… Support the independents," Uno tweeted back in March. "Be it wrestling, music, etc. Buy their merch, support them through Patreon, share their stuff. The gig economy is going to a HUGE hit, and many don't have the safety net necessary to survive this."
But in a now-deleted Instagram post, Strowman posted a screencap of Uno's tweet and responded, "Here we go with more of the somebody pay for my bills stuff. If you can't afford to pay your bills, maybe you should change professions. That's why I quit strongman I loved it but I couldn't afford to live so instead of making a go fund me or a patreon." Strowman later added, "And for anyone that goes that's easy for you to say you're a WWE superstar just and FYI 7 years ago I moved to [Florida] with everything I owned in a Kia Soul with 150$ to my name when I started this!!!!!"
Strowman's comments were crass for several reasons. For one thing, Braun Strowman is a massive man whose genetics alone could guarantee him a job with WWE regardless of how hard he did or didn't work. For another, people being out of work because the country is shut down due to a pandemic has nothing to do with their work ethic or abilities. That's a point that was driven home yesterday, when WWE chose its profits over its wrestlers and other staff, laying off thirty-eight people. Maybe Strowman has gotten the message now.