WWE talent will apparently have a lot less freedom as it relates to making money and promoting their images outside of WWE. According to an exclusive report from Wrestling Inc., McMahon held a conference call with talent last Sunday and claimed that not only does WWE own the talent's stage names, he also claimed to own their real names. This was part of a call where McMahon was discussing the reinvention of the WWE product moving forward.
In a letter to talent that was sent on Thursday of this week, McMahon alleged that performers using outside agencies to push their careers are potentially doing so at a detriment to WWE and their vision.
"Some of you are engaged with outside third parties using your name and likeness in ways that are detrimental to our company," McMahon wrote. "It is imperative that these activities be terminated within the next 30 days (by Friday October 2). Continued violations will result in fines, suspension, or termination at WWE's discretion."
It's not known exactly what third parties he is referring to, but there is a general belief that Twitch and Cameo would be included. Numerous talents have used these platforms in recent years, and in some cases, it has helped them become popular with fans to a level that WWE television has not. WWE has sometimes resisted WWE talent getting themselves over with the public in venues outside of their control in the past. This seems to be another example, as the company likes to be in control of all aspects of their talent's characters.
McMahon reportedly went on to explain how the company is entering their "next phase of growth" and that it will be important to comply with this edict.
Update: ComicBook received the following statement from WWE on Saturday, September 5th regarding their new policy.
Official WWE statement:
“Much like Disney and Warner Bros., WWE creates, promotes and invests in its intellectual property, i.e. the stage names of performers like The Fiend Bray Wyatt, Roman Reigns, Big E and Braun Strowman. It is the control and exploitation of these characters that allows WWE to drive revenue, which in turn enables the company to compensate performers at the highest levels in the sports entertainment industry. Notwithstanding the contractual language, it is imperative for the success of our company to protect our greatest assets and establish partnerships with third parties on a companywide basis, rather than at the individual level, which as a result will provide more value for all involved.”