As noted late last night, it looked like WWE was beginning to have Superstar Twitch accounts shut down. AJ Styles, Paige, Reckoning (Mia Yim), Zelina Vega and Aleister Black, and Cesaro all made comments about the status of their channels during streams with fans. There were also several Superstar Cameo accounts that were deactivated. You can click here for our detailed report with comments from the aforementioned Superstars. This all has to do with the recent edict on third party platform activity, which you can read about here and here.
Black and Vega noted on their stream that they expected an update on where things stand at today’s SmackDown taping. In an update, PWInsider reports that several talents recently met with WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon, who issued the original edict, in order to sit down with him to argue against the ban on Twitch activity. It does not sound like this is the meeting that Black and Vega expected at SmackDown because it was noted that it appears the talents were not successful in their meeting with Vince because of the streams that were being suspended by the wrestlers overnight.
There’s been a fear within WWE that if talents sign their Twitch channels over to WWE, they could potentially lose a significant amount of revenue that they have been making with the streams, during a period of tie that they are no longer making bonuses due to the lack of live events amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and when merchandise royalties are down. WWE sources have downplayed those fears, noting that since talents are not on the road, their road expenses are down. It was also pointed to how pretty much the entire roster signed new deals with higher downside guarantees last year. It’s believed that even if talents were to keep their streaming accounts independent of WWE, the company would still expect a percentage of earnings.
It was noted that within WWE there has been quite a tug-of-war privately over the third party edict for the last several weeks.
Sources at Twitch have confirmed that there are plans for a big push with WWE’s own Twitch channel, likely by the end of this year, if not sooner. WWE is working on plans to re-launch their Twitch presence in a major way, and they do not want anything that could compete with their own strategy moving forward.
Stay tuned for updates on the third party situation. It’s believed that more details will be available coming out of tonight’s SmackDown taping.