10 Controversies Of The WWE Network

9. Future Wrestler Compensation Is Unclear

The latest version of the Talent Agreement (contract) is pretty clear:
7.5 No Royalties Paid to WRESTLER. Except as specifically set forth in Section 7.1 through 7.3 above, WRESTLER shall not be eligible for any payment or royalties with respect to any other goods, services or otherwise including without limitation to the following: television license fees; television subscription fees; internet subscription fees; subscription video on demand fees; magazine subscription fees and/or advertising; and/or distribution fees of any kind paid to PROMOTER by any entity in connection with the exploitation of the Intellectual Property.
The above excerpt was taken from Stephanie McMahon's latest Booking Contract. It's extremely unclear how WWE Wrestlers are going to be paid for appearing on the events that we formally called "Pay-Per-Views". Presumably, they will continue to receive a portion of the fees generated from traditional PPV distribution through a cable operator or satellite provider, but what about WWE Network subscriptions? It seems quite clear that wrestlers will not be receiving a portion of those fees. This is not a minor point. The uncertainty financial future for wrestlers related to "PPV" and the WWE Network were chief among CM Punk's alleged gripes. Those concerns led to him walking out on the WWE in January 2014. That sort of dissension from a top performer may be just the tip of the iceberg. For a group of wrestlers that are used to being compensated when their likeness appears on DVD releases or television broadcasts, will this lack of compensation become a real sticking point among the superstars? Not to mention this opaque accounting is going to be apply to be current and retired wrestlers. In the past it's taken quite a while before wrestlers may see the payout for PPVs due to delays in final reconciliation of pay-per-view buys. We may see the true revolt many months following the Network launch, when wrestlers realize their Wrestlemania pay is far less than they expected.
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I'm a professional wrestling analyst, an improviser and an avid NES gamer. I live in Saint Paul, Minnesota and I'm working on my first book (#wrestlenomics). You can contact me at chris.harrington@gmail.com or on twitter (@mookieghana)