WWE will reportedly start forcing wrestlers to stream on Twitch or face penalties

Things always get complicated when money is involved and control of WWE wrestler Twitch channels just got murky.

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In the old days of pro wrestling, the contracted talent would spend their time popping pills and drowning their sorrows in alcohol. Thankfully, the business has cleaned up and evolved over the years and pro wrestlers of the modern era are much more likely to wind down with a game of Call of Duty: Warzone than with a drunken brawl in a backwoods town between shows. As with the rest of the video game-loving public, wrestlers have taken to Twitch to play games and interact with the community. As some of these accounts have gained lots of popularity, the WWE aims to exert control over these channels and their income, according to reports.

According to WrestlingInc, WWE CEO Vince McMahon has informed contracted talent that they must sever any business relationships with third parties, particularly those with Twitch and Youtube partnerships. The wrestlers were reportedly told weeks ago that they were to fully disclose all business relationships, even those handled under their real-life names, to the WWE. Allegedly the wrestlers were later informed that the company would be taking control of the streaming accounts with wrestlers eligible to receive a percentage of the income generated, though said percentage would be deducted from the downside guarantees of their wrestling contracts.

Predictably, this is not going down well with some of the wrestlers, particularly those who have grown large communities around their video game hobby and accounts that had previously been unaffiliated with their in-ring personas. Because the WWE considers the wrestlers to be independent contractors, these new developments have drawn the ire of many, including 2020 presidential hopeful Andrew Yang, who voiced his thoughts on Twitter.

Austin Creed, who goes by the name of Xavier Woods on WWE programming, has spent many years growing a Youtube gaming channel with millions of subscribers and a loyal Twitch following. Today, he announced that his Twitter and Twitch handles were changing, presumably related to the shift in WWE policy.

Others like Saraya Jade Bevis, known as Paige to WWE fans, offered a more emotional and disheartening response.

Clearly, Vince McMahon feels that these game streaming channels would not be successful without the clout that comes with being a WWE-contracted talent, though these developments further complicate the relationship between an employer and supposedly independent contractors.

Contributing Tech Editor

Chris Jarrard likes playing games, crankin' tunes, and looking for fights on obscure online message boards. He understands that breakfast food is the only true food. Don't @ him.

From The Chatty
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    October 2, 2020 5:45 PM

    Chris Jarrard posted a new article, WWE reportedly taking control of wrestlers' Twitch and Youtube accounts

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      October 2, 2020 6:27 PM

      This is just greed :( booo wwe.

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      October 2, 2020 6:54 PM

      I wonder if this will also impact Dan

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      October 2, 2020 6:57 PM

      Damn this is like fuckin slavery.

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      October 2, 2020 7:05 PM

      Ugh, that is fucking bullshit.

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      October 2, 2020 7:12 PM

      This will definitely force WWE’s hand on whether or not the wrestlers are independent contractors. If so there’s no way WWE will be able to retain control of their accounts.

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      October 2, 2020 7:15 PM

      Fuck Vince

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      October 2, 2020 7:37 PM

      As a group they should just say no. What are they going to do? Stop working with all of them?

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      October 2, 2020 7:53 PM

      No way the court will agree with the WWE trying to hi-jack their "outside-wrestling stream income"

      VInce you greedy SOB

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      October 2, 2020 8:05 PM

      Proving he's a ruthless and evil person. It's why he and Trump get along so well.

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      October 2, 2020 8:17 PM

      Wrestlers have always needed a union like every other sport. Without one you get shit like this

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      October 2, 2020 8:33 PM

      I mean it depends right? Are they streaming as their own self or as their characters? I could see how wwe might own the "character" but obviously not the person.

      Can Robert Downey twitch stream AS tony stark?

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        October 3, 2020 10:18 AM

        Good question! He does do charity events as Iron Man presumably on his own time, so... ????

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          October 3, 2020 10:21 AM

          Though there could be some stipulation in his contract that he’s only allowed to show up as Iron Man or Tony Stark in these specific circumstances and must behave a certain way. Though if he showed up drunk and crashed a party that seems totally in line with Tony Stark’s character...

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      October 3, 2020 5:11 AM

      A lot of these wrestlers were gamers before they were wrestlers.

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        October 3, 2020 10:22 AM

        There seems to be a big cross-section of gamers and wrestlers/wrestler fans.

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