By Colin McGuire, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@McGMondays)
On Nov. 4, 2021, Keith Lee, Karrion Kross, Nia Jax, and Ember Moon were among those released (read:fired) from their WWE contracts. The reason the public received for the termination of those contracts was the infamous “budget cuts” explanation. At the end of the year, the company reported $1.095 billion in revenue, a record for the organization.
WWE does not care about its employees (or independent contractors, but we’ll keep it brief going forward).
On Nov. 13, 2020, Zelina Vega simply wrote “I support unionization” on Twitter. Before anyone could say “House of Black,” the superstar was released. The mere thought of wrestlers unionizing to potentially receive benefits, security and a ton of other amenities WWE doesn’t necessarily promise its wrestlers was enough to get Vega a pink slip within hours.
WWE does not care about its employees.
On June 15, 2022, the Wall Street Journal sent a lightning rod through the wrestling world when it reported that Vince McMahon, the owner/chairman of the board of WWE, had been giving out millions of dollars to women over the span of nearly two decades to keep them from going public about his own sexual misconduct. Turns out, there had been somewhat of a culture within the company that allowed for such atrocities against women and it started at the very top in McMahon, the guy who’s been more synonymous with WWE than any other living human being ever.
WWE does not care about its employees.
OK. I know what you might be thinking – and especially if you’re a WWE apologist: Isn’t it sort of harsh to make such a damning blanket claim? How about all the nice stories of things McMahon has done through the years and how about the fantastic relationship the company has had with, say, Make A Wish? It’s irresponsible to claim all this when the place isn’t all that bad; get off your high horse, McGuire’s Mondays.
And sure. That’s fair. I’m sure there are perfectly fine people who work in WWE and I’m sure some of those perfectly fine people even have high-level positions. It’s not like the company asks people to relocate their entire lives on a whim due to a half-assed promise for a bright future in pro wrestling only to then fire them within weeks, leaving them with apartment leases in Florida that they aren’t sure they’ll be able to see through without a job, right?
My point is that in some parts of the world, you can cut off a snake’s head and the snake will continue to live and regenerate because that’s what the snake does. Apply that to WWE and Vince McMahon resigning earlier this year, and you’ll see what I mean. World Wrestling Entertainment is nothing if not hypocritical, the definition of the nuclear family led by smiling parents and successful children who have a side-gig as serial killers. But you’d never know it because of those smiles and because of that success. The top layer is always the most translucent.
Which, of course, leads us to Mandy Rose. In case you missed it, the now-former NXT Women’s Champion has been taking some naughty photos and giving people access to those photos for an annual fee. Few really seemed to know this was happening until recently when some people decided to take those photos and give them a mainstream social media platform. Word made its way to WWE brass and WWE brass acted exactly the way you think they would – they fired her. Almost immediately. A day or two after the news of her side gig became public, she lost her NXT women’s title on television, and then a day after that, she was out of a job.
First, the fundamentals. It’s a cliche and it might sound obnoxious to some, but I can’t think of a better time than now to remind everyone that sex work is real work. If you have the ability to make money off your looks, I tip my hat to you (I say as a guy who would have to pay people to look at photos of me fully clothed). If you have those God-given attributes, far be it from me to hate on your ability to do what you want with it. And as a woman in the year 2022 – and especially a woman in wrestling in the year 2022 – ownership of one’s body is a very pure form of a type of strength that hasn’t always been afforded to females throughout the history of wrestling. Don’t allow others to profit off you; cut out the middleman and keep it all for yourself.
Which, of course, leads us back to the WWE. The same WWE that used to churn out Playboy covers by the quarter. The same WWE that in recent years reportedly asked some female talent to just, you know, act a little more sexy. The same WWE that glorified something called a “bra and panties match.” The same WWE that has so often objectified women throughout the years that an entire Twitter account called “WWEPorn” exists.
Yes. That same WWE was the WWE that fired Mandy Rose because she got a little racy behind a paywall.
And spare me the thought that she was out of line because she should have told the company about it. First of all, who’s to say they didn’t know she had that kind of thing happening on the side anyway? Perhaps the crime wasn’t that she did it; perhaps it was that the masses found it. Second of all, let’s at least try to find some perspective here. I’ve been a newspaper person for my entire adult life. If I’m hopping on the internet to pose in a pair of speedos while giving some “come hither” look and my newspaper finds out about it … sure. I can understand their concerns and yeah, they might want to discipline me in some fashion. But WWE is not a newsroom; WWE is a company that profits almost purely off people’s physical appearance. It’s a looks business, is what I’ve been hearing forever, so someone making money off said looks only seems … right? Fair? Reasonable? Pick any of those words and you’d be correct.
Such is why the company’s decision to get rid of Rose is unfair on some levels and hypocritical in most every respect. You can go on and on about how it’s the PG era and maybe, under new leadership, the company wants to change its long-earned reputation of using sex to sell, but if you do, you aren’t considering the whole story. You don’t even have to go back a full month to find WWE itself tweeting out its weekly “best Instagram photos of the week” only to feature in the photo teaser … you guessed it, Mandy Rose striking a sexy pose in what appears to be a one-piece swimsuit that is as provocative as it is revealing.
The date on that official WWE tweet? November 28.
So, what changed? If WWE can get some retweets, likes or followers as a result of Rose’s sex appeal, we’re all good. If Rose wants to cash in on those same things to help out her own pocketbook … well, not so much. Compounding that hypocrisy with, I don’t know, more hypocrisy, can someone please explain to me what the gimmick was for Rose’s stable in NXT? Toxic Attraction, right? The one where she’s flanked by two other sexy women, dressed in sexy ways, one always playing in a sexy manner with a rose? It’s that one, correct? And as the leader of that faction, Mandy was the face of the women’s division as its champion for more than 400 days, right? Seemed fine then to pose naked with only the NXT and NXT UK belts covering up her nether regions, did it not?
For all the hope that the regime change in WWE represented once Vince McMahon called it a day brought, I can’t help but feel like it’s two steps forward, one step back with a lot of how WWE has acted and reacted over the last six months or so. Yeah, the product is decidedly better and I guess we are supposed to believe that the cancers leading the company are no longer behaving badly backstage because they aren’t there anymore, but let’s not pretend like the in-ring decisions have been perfect (Johnny Wrestling, er, I mean Johnny Comedy, anyone?), and let’s not be so naive as to say that double standards, unfair practices and hypocrisies are forever gone from Titan Towers.
The Mandy Rose situation underlines that in a big way. Nobody can make heads or tails of the details that surrounded the ordeal behind the scenes – was she given a warning? What was the exact reason she was given for being let go? – but what we all know is that one day, Mandy Rose’s formerly paywalled content became not so paywalled and within days, she was out a championship and a job. A lot doesn’t add up there, no matter what those behind the scenes details might be. It’s a shot at entrepreneurship and, in a lot of ways, it’s a shot at women’s rights. Objectify your body for the company; just don’t do it for yourself.
Where does this leave Mandy Rose? It’s hard to tell. By now, you’ve probably read Tommy Dreamer’s comments about how Impact Wrestling would welcome her. Anytime someone from WWE departs in whatever manner they depart, the AEW chatter begins, realistic or not. Me? Well, my only real thought on the what’s-next conversation is that this whole thing is a shame. Rose was a good sport on the main roster in WWE and she was never particularly lauded for her in-ring work, but you can’t forget that when she went down to NXT, she was a bright, effervescent light in a room filled with candles hoping to one-day provide flames. For my money, she was the electricity that kept the lights on while those candles figured out how to burn.
Plus, she got better in the ring. Watch her throughout that year-plus run as champion and she became some of the most must-see stuff NXT offered for a while. She worked at it, improved and became much more of a complete package than she ever was back in the days she was flirting with Otis on a weekly basis. It would have been easy for her to just give it up or phone it in, but she went down to developmental, elevated two WWE rookies, gave them an identity and grew as a performer on most every level. Could she find a similar environment anywhere else in the wrestling world right now? I’m not so sure.
What I am sure of, though, is this: Mandy Rose’s firing is a clear indication that some things in WWE will never change, no matter who is at the helm. Hypocrisy will rule the day and performers’ rights, in one way or another, will be compromised in the name of ensuring the biggest winner in any of it is WWE itself. Not its employees, not its fans, not its investors, but just WWE itself. Therefore, it should be said one more time.
WWE does not care about its employees.
Or, well, that is unless they’re making a little money on the side for doing things that aren’t entirely unlike what WWE asks those employees to do on its own watch. Because in that case, WWE does care about its employees.
In fact, it turns out, WWE cares very, very much.
WWE and Playboy was a thing between 15-20 years ago. Now they’re a publicly traded company (1999), a PG product (2008), and have a whole host of different sponsors and advertisers. Finally, it was literally written into her contract that the kind of content she was producing was in violation of it, and they had met with her about it before.
I hate that they fired her, but to bring up shit that ended in 2008 is lazy, and honestly just fucking stupid.
Don’t pay attention to the “Worst.” You’re spot on with this. He doesn’t even understand that them recently using footage of her on their shows and Twitter in various bikinis is hypocritical. Then again, this guy has absolutely no critical thinking skills whatsoever. He prob would have voted for Hershel Walker.
“…atrocities against women” almost got me to stop reading, but “sex work is real work” did the trick. Try as I might, I’ve never finished reading one of this guy’s crying fits.
I totally agree that WWE are a bunch of hypocrites, but I wouldn’t worry too much about Mandy Rose, she will be fine and I am sure she knew exactly what she was doing. She is going to make a ton of money doing something she is far better at than wrestling (yes she has improved, but that was a low bar to say the least). Good luck to her, but I want my women’s wrestling to be more ‘Shayna Baszler’ and less ‘Mandy Rose’. If WWE booked men’s wrestling the way they booked the men, Mandy’s fella Tino would have had a 400-day reign as NXT champion as well.
How can you write a whole article and still not understand the difference between WWE showing Mandy in provocative clothing on TV and Mandy taking X-Rates photos and videos online?
WWE lets their women take racy photos all the time, they don’t let get actually naked, see the difference.
Not to mention if Mattel were really the ones with the problem WWE can’t just say screw it and ruin that relationship because of 1 woman no matter how ok they are with what she’s doing,
I stopped reading this hack’s articles a while ago, but decided to check this one out. Still a clueless, butthurt WWE hating incel I see.
It’s obvious to anyone with a brain that what Mandy did was easily fireable. There are women on the roster with OnlyFans accounts that are just basically paid instagrams where they pose in lingerie and swimsuits, and WWE allows it. Once you expose your boobs and butthole, that’s too far for a PG company.
I know you’re sad you lost your precious goddess, but she deserved it. So get over it.
Screw Wwe and there being a great company all the woman should quit .Vince is a pig animal, his men trolls they should all be fired. They should be held to the higher standards, be locked in jail.
It would be nice if Jason would hire just 1 writer with a functional Y chromosome. I thought Will Pruett would be the worst writer I would ever read, but it’s literally gotten progressively worse with each successive hire for these ridiculously anti-WWE and anti-masculinity “male” writers.
I wouldn’t have fired Rose, as she’s one of about 4-5 women in WWE that I actually enjoyed seeing on screen, but the idea that WWE was somehow hypocritical here is just moronic. Playboy shoots from 2008 and earlier aren’t relevant to this situation. Photos in bikinis aren’t the same as softcore porn. A fucking 8 year old should be able to figure that out, but not this paid writer whose entire viewpoint seems like it’s just whatever the consensus anti-male far left viewpoint of the day is.