Vega (Thea Trinidad, 29) has proven herself as one of WWE’s most talented and versatile performers since the summer of 2017, especially in the months since. WrestleMania 36. But its value to the business hasn’t exempted it from a controversial new, company-wide edict from CEO Vince McMahon earlier this fall banning artists from using platforms like Twitch and Cameo to supplement their income. McMahon threatened that those who did not comply with the new restrictions would face a fine, suspension or outright dismissal, and Trinidad was the first victim.So how did we get to the point where Trinidad, which was seen as a treasured room both in the present and in the future of WWE, is no longer part of society?More than simply not complying with the new company policy, Trinidad directly challenged WWE earlier this month by opening an account on OnlyFans, a site that allows talent to interact directly with their fans. The Trinidad account offers exclusive videos and photos of “cosplays, lingerie, swimwear and more,” for a monthly subscription of $ 30.
WWE, especially McMahon, viewed this as a breach of contract and responded by terminating Trinidad’s contract. Sources close to WWE informed Illustrated sports that, following discussions regarding Twitch, senior management felt that Trinidad had put them in a difficult position by opening the OnlyFans account. As unpopular as this new policy is among the talented, Trinidad’s dismissal reminds us that the new policy will be strictly enforced.
Trinidad is also an active streamer on Twitch, another site included on WWE’s list of banned third-party platforms. Several active WWE stars were featured on Twitch, including AJ Styles and Cesaro. One option for talent to stay on sites like Twitch was to share their account with WWE and make only a fraction of the profit, receiving a significant share. Unsurprisingly, this option was not well received.
For WWE, this is a chance to better monetize the streaming world, as well as take advantage of the stars created within WWE. But for Trinidad, as well as WWE personality Paige (Saraya-Jade Bevis), who has also been extremely vocal about keeping her Twitch account independent, it undermines their ability to make money on a platform. form built outside of WWE.
WWE has confirmed to Illustrated sports that Trinidad was fired for breach of contract. Following his dismissal, Trinidad made headlines on Friday with a tweet that read: “I support unionization,” joining Bevis in discussing the possibility of union organizing. WWE Artists are independent contractors, although this classification has received significant criticism and is not protected by a union.
The new restrictions on additional income streams angered several members of the list. Last month, a group of wrestlers, not including Trinidad, reportedly met with McMahon at WWE Headquarters in Connecticut to express their displeasure over the company’s Twitch ban, to no avail.
Trinidad’s dismissal also raises questions about her husband’s future in WWE. She is married to Aleister Black (Tom Budgen, 35), and the two have built a following on Twitch. Black is also an extremely talented wrestler but has not been a weekly presence on WWE programming since the October 9 edition of Brut, where he lost in a competitive match against Kevin Owens and it was announced that he was moving to Smack down as part of the WWE Project. Sources within WWE have confirmed Illustrated sports that Black remains under contract and he is still part of the Smack down Mark.
WWE has the deepest talent pool in all of wrestling, and the company will continue to thrive even without the character of Zelina Vega. However, that doesn’t change the fact that Trinidad is an exceptionally talented manager and wrestler. Had she stayed with the company, Trinidad had limitless potential, especially at a time when WWE lacks big stars like Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair. Trinidad will continue to be successful in wrestling, but it will no longer take place on the high-profile WWE stage.
Justin Barrasso can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @JustinBarrasso.