Last night at a live event, the WWE superstar Santino Marella announced his retirement. It was very sudden to the WWE Universe and a slightly odd choice of venue, considering it was just a house show and not one of WWE’s staple shows, Raw and Smackdown.
After the stock prices dropped dramatically, costing Vince McMahon a third of his fortune, WWE has been looking at cutting costs wherever they can. One of their simplest ways to take care of funding was the roster cuts that happened back in June. By releasing upwards of 12 people between refs, talent and writing staff, they cut back tens if not hundreds of thousands over the coming year. Another way they’ve cut back is limiting the amount of pyrotechnics and fancy entrances, doing away with things like Fandango‘s hanging streamer wall that he walks through on the stage.
There have been numerous reports of shows for the WWE Network being outright cancelled or at the very least delayed due to cost cutting measures. One of the top shows on the network is a slight victim to budget cuts, that being NXT, where they film episodes in upwards of four weeks ahead to cut back on production costs. Those costs are also why we’re only seeing an NXT live event/PPV once every quarter instead of every month.
I believe these same cost cutting measures — and an injury history — are the cause for Santino to be walking away when he is. He’s been a good spokesperson for WWE, especially for the kids tuning in, but they already have several comedic relief characters. It’s better for a veteran to go out on their “own terms” instead of being let go.
In the end, Santino has made us all laugh at least once. He’s been a good ambassador, and he’s been a stand-up guy. But nothing trumps the power of money, which is why the man with a Cobra for an arm got bitten by a green monster he couldn’t tame.