Zelina Vega’s released from WWE shouldn’t shock anyone.
Thea Trinidad has gone by Zelina Vega in World Wrestling Entertainment for the last three years. She was mostly known for being a manager to Andrade in NXT and on Monday Night Raw. Recently, Vega had gotten more chances to be an in-ring performer. Something she’s showed to have a lot of promise. Unfortunately, fans of Vega will have to watch her somewhere other than the WWE. As of November 13, 2020, Zelina Vega no longer works for the WWE.
WWE released a statement on their website saying, “WWE has come to terms on the release of Zelina Vega. We wish her all the best in her future endeavors.” That was the entire article. It was the kind of that could have been sent out in a tweet. Honestly, it was kind of disrespectful. The WWE could have mentioned any of her contributions to NXT or Raw on Monday nights. Instead, they put out an article with a total of 21 words. Granted, WWE doesn’t have to say anything. Nonetheless, it doesn’t negate that it seemed pretty cold. That said, there’s a reason for that.
Why did this happen?
Employees of WWE are independent contractors. What does that mean? It means that a wrestler is responsible for a lot of things like providing their own medical insurance. It also means that they may not receive workman’s comp for an injury sustained on the job. One of the many reasons why current and past WWE performers have wanted a union for a while.
For the most part, unionizing is talked about in private if you’re an employee of World Wrestling Entertainment. Being vocal about unionizing could lead to getting cut from TV, pay per view events, and other things that can affect their revenue. This could be one of the reasons why Zelina Vega was let go and why others might want to be released as well.
Back in September, Wrestlinginc.com reported that Vince McMahon stated that WWE talent may not, “engage with outside third parties,” Two of the more popular third-person parties were Tik-Tok and Twitch. Two sites that a lot of the WWE employees have used to promote themselves, their projects, and just engage with their fans. This was a blessing. Especially during the pandemic. A way for them to remain in touch with their fans since they can’t meet them in person. Among those WWE employees is Paige.
Paige get’s emotional
For Paige(who’s real name is Saraya-Jade Bevis), being told she couldn’t go on Twitch was emotional for her (which you could see in the video above). She said,
“I’ve honestly got to the point where I cannot deal with this company any more,”
Paige went on to say,
“So now I have to make a very important decision. I’m [expletive] tired, man. I broke my [expletive] neck twice—twice for this company (the WWE). Over [expletive] worked. I broke my neck twice for this company and all I wanted was to…they don’t realize that this community isn’t just about [expletive] subs. It isn’t about that. It isn’t about that. We built a wonderful community, a wonderful [expletive] family where this is an escape for a lot of people, including myself.”
Honestly, this was heartbreaking. Paige comes from a wrestling family. Not being able to perform had to have been a difficult transition. Having Twitch could have been her way of staying in touch with the community she loves. I for one have enjoyed what Paige has been doing on social media. She doesn’t stand for insults or misogyny from anyone. She’s been fighting back and doing it well. People (this writer included) look at this and realize they don’t have to take people being mean and nasty either. We can fight back as well. Now, this is just Twitter. How long until Vince and the WWE come down on Twitter as well? And there’s the problem.
This trend will continue
If this writer can be a conspiracy theorist for a second, this can all be blamed on Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Before he was the multi-millionaire, action star, and hunk, he was Rocky Maivia. It wasn’t until years later when The Rock became the biggest name in wrestling. Once that fame became too big for WWE, he moved on. He went from being seen a few times a year, to once, to sometimes not at all. Why would he? He’s not The Rock anymore. He’s Dwayne Johnson. Vince could be looking to avoid this happening again. Too bad it’s already happening.
You’re thinking, “but Dwayne Johnson isn’t the first or only wrestler to do this.” You’re right. Hulk Hogan, the Big Show, and Stone Cold Steve Austin are only a few wrestlers to be in movies. The difference here is that they’ve all come back. Each of them never completely abandoned wrestling. They’ve come back and helped make the future stars look good. That isn’t the case for everyone.
Dave Bautista and John Cena also turned their stardom into a movie career. Both of them have been in blockbuster action movies. A path that doesn’t seem to have an end in sight. Cena does still come back, but for how long? As time goes on, more performers are going to take advantage of this. Not just the movies either. TV shows, podcasts, and other outlets are becoming ways for the stars to become famous and have other sources of income. WWE can’t have that.
In this writer’s not so humble opinion, WWE banning Tik-Tok and Twitch is an awful idea. Let’s use Asuka, Nia Jax, and Lana as examples. First, Asuka. She’s become a star on YouTube. Her channel has 429 thousand subscribers with some videos having more views than subscribers. This writer has friends that know Asuka from her page and not from the WWE. The same can be said for Nia Jax. She has a strong Instagram presence with over one million followers. Then there’s Lana on the now-banned Tik-Tok. Despite not being able to use it, she still has 1.1 million followers. How does this become a mistake for WWE? The exposure of these stars means more recognition to WWE.
Zelina Vega’s departure from World Wrestling Entertainment is going to be the one that gets the ball rolling. Paige could be the next to go. She’s already stated that she wants to talk to a lawyer about Unionizing. The sad part is the WWE won’t care. There is going to be an unlimited number of people looking to become WWE stars. So, when one of them leaves, someone will always be there to take their place. Hopefully, something will happen to give the stars a way to unionize or at the very least allow them to do things that have nothing to do with sports entertainment. We’ll have to wait to see who’s the next to stand up and say, Change things or I’m out.” If enough people do it, things will change.
What do you think? Should wrestlers unionize? Is Vince right with banning things like Tik-Tok and Twitch? Let us know in the comments below.