WWE released another group of employees on Friday, according to a new report from PWInsider's Mike Johnson. The biggest name among those to be let go was former ring announcer Tony Chimel, best known for his work as Friday Night SmackDown from 1999 through the mid-2000s and the WWE version of ECW. He had made the occasional appearance over the last decade, mostly in segments involving Edge and his signature delivery of the "The Rated-R Superstar" nickname. Chimel has not commented on his release via social media, and hasn't posted a tweet since 2016.
Among the other releases, Johnson specifically named Director of Venue Merchandise and Remote Operations Derek Casselman, who had been with the promotion for nearly 30 years.
Bask on April 15 WWE released more than 30 active wrestlers while furloughing a number of backstage and headquarters-based employees. The biggest names o that list included Risev, Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson, Zack Ryder, Curt Hawkins, Lio Rush, EC3 and Eric Young. The company explained the releases were apart of a cost-cutting measure during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Our first quarter financial performance was strong and largely unimpacted by the COVID-19 outbreak," Vince McMahon wrote in a statement days after the releases. "Now we are in the midst of unprecedented times, which require us to be especially nimble, creative and efficient in order to ensure the ling-term value of WWE. We are taking precautions to protect the health and safety of our performers and staff as we produce content in new ways, engage fans with a much-needed diversion and operate effectively in this evolving environment."
"Given the uncertainty of the situation, the Company also identified headcount reductions and made the decision to furlough a portion of its workforce effective immediately," WWE wrote in a press release on April 15 hours before the releases were announced. "The decision to furlough versus permanently reduce headcount reflects the fact that the Company currently believes the furlough will be temporary in nature. The Company's reductions of employee compensation and headcount result in an estimated monthly savings of $4 million along with cash flow improvement of $140 million primarily from the deferral in spending on the Company's new headquarters."
Since the wave of releases, a good portion of those wrestlers have found new homes in promotions like AEW, Impact Wrestling and Ring of Honor.