In a Tuesday appearance on The Rich Eisen Show, WWE icon and pop culture star John Cena said he felt the massive cuts the company made in 2021 were due to defensive hiring practices due to competition and a growing demand for content.
"This is just me posing a different perspective. I think a lot of it might have been a little slightly defensive hiring because there was, and still is, a giant boom right now in sports entertainment. People are absorbing this content and they are re-engaging.
"People are making a name for themselves outside of WWE. It’s no longer a one-stop shop, so I think with this flux of passionate people who love sports entertainment, people do get a name for themselves outside of WWE and if WWE feels maybe that they can be a fit in that world, they’re gonna try to give that person a shot," he explained.
Cena talked about the Performance Center and the continued hiring of new talent, putting them at max capacity and resulting in performers sitting on the sidelines which is "the real frustrating thing, both to the WWE and from a stance of a performer."
He felt the cuts had little to do with profit/loss margins and more with the company strategy at the time.
"...There is only so many spots, there is only so much programming and I understand from the business standpoint, the amount of releases that have had to happen. If the company justifies that, ‘Hey, this is the move we’re making. We wanna carry less talent,’ it has very little to do with profit/loss margin. If the company strategy is to run on a lean roster, it doesn’t matter, you run on a lean roster," he said.
Cena detailed how when he was initially brought up, there were releases twice a year due to the enormous amount of talent WWE had absorbed from WCW, ECW and developmental.
He said that the releases "created stakes for developmental talent and it created stakes for talent to try to make a name for themselves because we just knew that on a calendar year, shortly after WrestleMania and either before or after the holidays, there would be cuts."
Ultimately, Cena feels bad for those who were cut, but that it's part of the business.
"WWE went through such a long period of not releasing anybody and now, they’re kind of getting back into that rhythm again. That it is a very abrupt shift to somebody who’s not familiar with that. My heart goes out to everybody who has to get that sad news because that’s a tough conversation to have," he said.