WWE and 11-time world champion Edge may be at in impasse in contract negotiations.
According to Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer Radio (h/t SEScoops), the WWE Hall of Famer is seeking a more lucrative contract than the company is willing to pay him: “It’s the same thing with Edge and [Drew] McIntyre. Not that those deals are dead in WWE, but they’re not close on money.”
Following WWE’s merger with UFC to form the TKO Group, WWE immediately fired more than 100 behind-the-scenes employees, an expected move as WWE and UFC consolidate its business operations. Thus far, WWE has yet to release any in-ring performers, but talent releases are reportedly expected to happen in the near future.
Along with WWE’s overt cost-cutting moves comes a less obvious way to shave off expenses: Choosing not to re-sign high-profile—and costly—main event-level performers. Meltzer stated, “WWE is running a business. They have an idea of a salary scale. WWE can afford anything and anyone, but they’re not. They have a mental salary scale of what people in certain positions get. And some of the guys want more.”
Edge certainly fits that bill. After all, as both he and Drew McIntyre are finding out, now is not necessarily the greatest time to be a WWE star in search of a lucrative contract.
In fact, WWE is even reportedly “far apart” on money with LA Knight in the midst of their contract talks—this at a time when Knight is arguably the most popular superstar in all of pro wrestling. If Knight isn’t immune to WWE taking steps to cut costs, then no one is.
That includes Edge.
Edge’s last WWE contract reportedly paid him $3 million per year for a very limited workload. That’s quite the contract for a rarely-seen part-time star who doesn’t appear to be the type of draw that someone like Cody Rhodes or John Cena is. Of course, that makes Edge expendable at a time when even the likes of McIntyre and Knight—two of WWE’s top full-time stars—also have an uncertain future.
Consider the contract of a star like Kevin Owens, one of WWE’s best all-around performers and a star who has headlined two straight WrestleManias, and it’s hard to envision WWE choosing once again to pay Edge more per year as the company had previously done. That might explain why Edge-to-AEW rumors persist, even though Edge himself suggested that he has a contract offer waiting for him.
What Edge hasn’t publicly confirmed, though, is whether he found WWE’s contract offer to be acceptable, and the fact that he was removed from—and then restored to—its internal roster suggests that something is up. Indeed, there is a widespread belief in WWE circles that Edge is going to land in AEW, presumably for one last tag team run with his longtime partner Christian Cage.
That, at this stage in Edge’s career, is the best move for a man who has done it all in WWE, recently received a great sendoff match against Sheamus and has nothing left to prove and no dream matches waiting for him.
That begs the question: Why would WWE, in the midst of cutting costs, give Edge a massive deal when it comes with minimal return?