Over a month ago we reported that WWE was going to stop allowing its talents to use third-party platforms such as Twitch and Cameo. This week according to PWInsider several wrestlers went to WWE management to try to get them to change their mind on the policy, but were unsuccessful.
Subsequently several WWE Superstars including Mia Yim, Aleister Black, Zelina Vega (Black and Vega are married), Cesaro and AJ Styles all announced that they will be suspending their Twitch Stream Accounts. Here is exactly what Styles had to say on the matter.
“@everyone, I want to thank you for all the greatest memories on Mixer and Twitch,” AJ wrote. “I will cherish these memories and I love everyone of you that have made this possible and supported me. As many of you know WWE is making some changes that involve streaming. We will see what the future holds in that regard.
“With that being said I will be suspending Stylesclash stream. This isn’t good bye, but this is see you sometime in the future. We will leave discord open, but since it won’t be monitored we will be making changes. Chris or I will let you know what that looks like once we figure it out. If you see me at the arenas or wherever be sure to let me know you’re part of the phenomenal family. Again this isn’t the end it’s just a pause. Thank you again for your support.”
Sorry guys, no more stream for the time being. Thank you for making these past few difficult months manageable. It’s not goodbye, it’s see you later. 💙 https://t.co/9XHbOikGLL
— The HBIC (@MiaYim) October 29, 2020
One superstar who was particularly upset at this news was Paige. Paige appeared on her Saraya Official Channel visibly upset and angry at WWE. During her rant, she proceeded to say she can’t deal with WWE anymore, blame them for her career-ending neck surgery and even threatened to talk to a unionization lawyer.
“You guys. We have to make this… you guys. There may be a time where I have to stop streaming. So, I just think in case I walk away, if I have to walk away, let’s make these next two streams crazy. I have to go off. If I have to leave, we make today and Saturday f–king crazy before I have to leave, because it might have to come to that.”
“I’ve honestly got to the point where I cannot deal with this company anymore. So now I have to make a very important decision. I’m f–king tired, man. I broke my f–king neck twice, twice for this company, over f–king 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 f–king subs. It isn’t about that. It isn’t about that. We built a wonderful community, a wonderful f–king family where this is an escape for a lot of people, including myself.”
“I can’t wrestle anymore, I was worked so hard in WWE that I can’t wrestle anymore. My neck is f–ked, my whole dream got taken away from me, dude, and I had to have something that fulfilled even a small part of that huge f–king void that I lost with wrestling. A huge f–king void. I couldn’t wrestle anymore, something I lived, breathed, f–king s–t wrestling since I was a fetus, dude, and it got ripped away from me, and I had to find something that even filled a little bit of that. Twitch was such a wonderful thing for me, it’s such a wonderful place for me.”
“And I understand, I understand if they’re like, ‘Hey, if you’re wrestling every day, if you’re doing shows every day, if you’re on TV constantly.’ That’s fine, but I’m a f–king injured wrestler. I can’t wrestle anymore. I get used for media stuff sometimes, you know? But at the end of the day I’m in my f–king house. I’m going f–king crazy, dude. I need something to keep me sane, man, and Twitch was my escape from that, you know? Right now I’m just sitting on my f–king ass.”
“I had a terrible couple of years where I had tapes leaked about me, where I popped a couple of drug tests because I was in an abusive f–king relationship, dude. And that’s the only thing I could f–king do. See, people think I should be thankful that I still have a f–king job, right? And I am, but it doesn’t mean I should be treated like f–king s–t.”
“People don’t realize I’m outspoken as f–k. I will say how I feel. I don’t care who you are. I will say how I feel because I don’t like being walked all over. … You know what? I’m gonna start looking more into unionization. I’ve been learning about it by a unionization lawyer.“
“This is bigger than Twitch, it’s about taking f–king control of your own life and not being controlled by anyone. I gave ten years, man. I poured my f–king heart and soul into this. I had a bad couple of years like every motherf–ker has. I’m not the only one who is f–king controversial around here, I’m not the only one. It’s f–king louder when it comes to me because I’m a f–king female. I hate using that because I’m a woman but it’s because I’m a woman and women don’t usually stand up for themselves.”
— SARAYA (@RealPaigeWWE) October 30, 2020
Thank you to WrestlingInc. for transcribing the quotes.
Matt’s Musings: I agree with Paige that it is unfair for WWE to call them independent contractors on one hand, but then control their personal lives like this with the other. The calls for a union in wrestling have gotten louder over the last few months, and things like this will only increase that.