In a bizarre twist in the ongoing saga of WWE's week of bad PR, the company has announced the premise behind the signature matches at the next PPV event, Money in the Bank. Following a week of layoffs of more than 40 wrestlers and backstage talent as well as many more office and live event staff, WWE has announced that superstars in both the Men's and Women's Money in the Bank matches will need to "climb the corporate ladder" to win. The image of workers who survived a round of layoffs even amidst the company raking in profits to obtain contracts while so many of their co-workers had their contracts terminated is both ironic and disturbing.
"This year's WWE Money In The Bank Men's and Women's Match participants will have an even more unique challenge ahead of them than usual," read a statement from WWE. "The match begins on the ground floor of WWE Headquarters, but the briefcases – containing contracts for a championship match anytime, anyplace – will be hanging all the way up on the roof of the corporate tower. Catch the historic, groundbreaking matches when WWE Money In The Bank streams live on the award-winning WWE Network on Sunday, May 10, at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT."
Another Poorly Thought-Out Decision by WWE
If the events of the past week had not transpired, the prospect of Money in the Bank matches taking place throughout WWE's corporate headquarters would probably be an intriguing one. WWE's WrestleMania 36 featured two matches filmed outside the traditional wrestling ring format: a Boneyard Match between The Undertaker and AJ Styles and a Firefly Funhouse match between John Cena and Bray Wyatt. Both matches offered a break from the usual monotony of WWE's programming and were relatively well-received. However, forcing superstars to battle for contracts in the company's corporate headquarters seems in much poorer taste after the layoffs.
In addition to the layoffs, WWE has received bad press for obtaining a special "essential" designation by the government of Florida, something they earned on the very same day a Republican SuperPac run by Linda McMahon pledged to spend $18.5 million in the state. The company also announced a stock dividend for investors the day after the layoffs started paying out over $9 million, enough to keep all of the laid-off talent employed into 2021. The company also boasted of $500 million in reserves they chose not to spend on keeping their workers employed. Watching Money in the Bank in May, fans will have a hard time putting the image of former WWE workers living without any income amidst a global pandemic while WWE pits its current workers against each other in a match themed around climbing the corporate ladder.