Dean Ambrose’s decision to leave WWE when his contract expires in April is sending shockwaves throughout the industry.
Late Monday night, PWTorch.com broke the news that Ambrose informed WWE over the weekend that he won’t be signing a new deal with the company. The buzz surrounding this story was so intense that WWE issued a rare statement on the matter. In an unprecedented move, WWE said, “We are grateful and appreciative of all that Dean has given to WWE and our fans. We wish him well and hope that one day Dean will return to WWE.”
Ambrose is not the first WWE Superstar to ask for his release this month due to creative frustration, but he’s the biggest name so far. WWE is very aware All Elite Wrestling is well-financed and offering big money deals to bolster their roster. They’re not taking this lightly and met with several performers this week to prevent more defections.
According to PWInsider, meetings were held backstage at Tuesday’s SmackDown Live TV taping to address the situation. More specifically, wrestlers whose contracts are coming up in the next year or two had private meetings with management to discuss signing long-term deals.
“After the Dean Ambrose news came out on late Monday/early Tuesday, there was a buzz of activity backstage at SmackDown as anybody who had a contract that was coming up in the next year or two was pulled into rooms and spoken to by management about signing longer form deals,” the report reads. All the wrestlers were sitting around looking at each other and going ‘would you look at this? this is crazy!’”
Ambrose is reported to have turned down a 5-year deal which would have seen him earn over a million dollars per year.