Minutes after WWE superstar Zelina Vega tweeted in support of unionization for wrestlers, WWE announced that they'd come to terms on her release from the company. Vega's apparent firing comes in the wake of a controversial decision by WWE to order its talent, who are classified as independent contractors, to end any third-party deals they have with companies like Twitch and Cameo and instead perform the same streaming activities under WWE's umbrella, with WWE keeping most or all of the profits. Vega followed retired WWE wrestler Paige in refusing to give up her accounts and in flirting with the idea of a union for wrestlers.
"WWE has come to terms on the release of Zelina Vega," said WWE in an official statement. "We wish her all the best in her future endeavors."
The statement came ten minutes after Vega tweeted, "I support unionization." However, it's possible Vega tweeted that after learning about or coming to terms on her departure, but before the information was publicly released.
While WWE has made record profits during the pandemic despite laying off dozens to cut costs, wrestlers have been doing fewer shows since WWE no longer holds them except for television broadcasts. Wrestlers have "downside guarantees" on their contracts that guarantee a certain amount of money at minimum, with per-show payments counting against that guarantee and eventually exceeding it. Many wrestlers have used Twitch, Cameo, and in Vega's case, a non-explicit Only Fans, to both connect with fans and supplement their income. WWE's demand that these activities now fall under the WWE umbrella, combined with the lower number of shows, means that most wrestlers who submit will end up seeing none of the streaming profits since they will count against but are unlikely to exceed the minimum guarantee.
WWE wrestlers' status as independent contractors has come under question of late since the definition doesn't really stand up to even the slightest scrutiny. Former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang even threatened to investigate WWE over the practice once Joe Biden becomes president.
Zelina Vega can be found on Twitch here.