14 November 2020 10:35
The superstar is 'heartbroken' over her release (Photo: WWE) WWE has confirmed the release of Zelina Vega, to the surprise of fans around the world. The pro wrestling giant made the announcement shortly before SmackDown on Friday night, which comes after the superstar was vocal about unionisation and the recent drama surrounding third party platforms. In a brief statement on WWE.com, the company simply said: 'WWE has come to terms on the release of Zelina Vega. We wish her all the best in her future endeavours.' It should be noted that no reason has been given for her departure after three years with the brand, including whether it was WWE's call or her own request. Shortly before the announcement – but, according to reports, after she was informed of the decision – Zelina tweeted: 'I support unionization.
(sic)' I support unionization. — ð©ððððð ð¥ððð (@Zelina_VegaWWE) November 13, 2020 Following her release, she returned to Twitch after recently having to halt streaming due to WWE's apparent clamp down on stars using third party platforms in this way. She insisted she has no plans to retire and that she had nothing bad to say, even if people had been tuning in hoping for that kind of reaction. Instead, she voiced her gratitude for living out her dream, while admitting she is 'completely heartbroken' by the way things have unfolded. She said: 'I'm sad.
Because doing this, being a wrestler is all I ever wanted to do. So I don't really know what to say, I don't really know…' She later took to Twitter to thank her fans for their support, alongside a photo of her ring gear paying tribute to her late father. She wrote: 'I want to say thank you all very much for the last 3-4 years @WWEUniverse, it was incredible. 'I would have never have been able to say "this is for you dad" if certain people did not believe in me. I love you all and I couldn't have done it without your support'.
Zelina – who recently set up an OnlyFans account for her cosplay projects – previously made her name in IMPACT Wrestling as Rosita, and worked with the promotion from 2011 to 2013. Despite appearing as Andrade's manager for much of her NXT and WWE career after joining in 2017, Vega had started to branch out as a wrestler in her own right this year. Got a showbiz story? If you've got a celebrity story, video or pictures get in touch with the Metro.co.uk entertainment team by emailing us [email protected], calling 020 3615 2145 or by visiting our Submit Stuff page – we'd love to hear from you. MORE: WWE's Bianca Belair praises 'amazing' Zelina Vega before huge Clash of Champions match MORE: WWE star Zelina Vega launches OnlyFans account The WWE announced in a statement Friday that it had released Zelina Vega from her contract. "WWE has come to terms on the release of Zelina Vega," the statement read. "We wish her all the best in her future endeavors." In late October, Marc Middleton of Wrestling Inc. reported that the WWE was shutting down Twitch and Cameo accounts from its wrestlers. Vega was among a group that included AJ Styles, Paige, Reckoning, Aleister Black and Cesaro who commented on the status of their channels being changed. This stems from WWE's decision to prohibit its talent from using third-party businesses. The move has drawn criticism from WWE talent, including from Vega. On her Twitch channel she shares with husband Aleister Black, the two told fans that they likely wouldn't be seeing activity from the account in the near future. "We don't know but it's starting to look like, obviously that this might be the last one for a while," Black said. "We haven't been told anything... but, like, it's not definite, it's not like this is the last final stream ever." Vega added, "Although it could be. I want you to be prepared for that, too." The issue of the WWE's third-party edict drew the attention of former Democratic Presidential candidate Andrew Yang, who criticized the decision when it was revealed. "A lot of it is that wrestlers are afraid to speak out, and I've had wrestlers past and present reach out to me and say that Vince has been getting away with exploitation of wrestlers calling them independent contractors while controlling their activities for years and years," Yang said. "A lot of it is just that they are a quasi-monopoly, and wrestlers fear that if they do try and unionize or organize in any way that Vince doesn't like, that it will never work again." Vega tweeted earlier on Friday her support for unionization: Credit: WWE.com WWE announced Friday it released Zelina Vega. The reason for her departure is unclear, though some on social media noted it came shortly after she expressed public support for unionization: She had also responded to a tweet from former colleague Paige, who said in October she "learned a lot about unionism today." Paige's comment came as WWE started prohibiting its in-ring talent from running their own accounts through third-party sites such as YouTube and Twitch. Some stars have built large followings for themselves independent from what they've done on WWE programming. Vega appeared to try a workaround by setting up an account on OnlyFans. For critics of WWE, the company's crackdown about third-party sites was another example of how it exerts significant influence over its performers despite those performers being independent contractors. HBO's John Oliver made it a topic of discussion on Last Week Tonight in 2019. Even assuming it played no role in WWE letting Vega go, her release will likely fuel what has been a longstanding debate. The 29-year-old initially had a limited on-screen role, serving as Andrade's manager in NXT and continued to do so following his move to the main roster. More recently, she branched off into a singles career of her own. Vega unsuccessfully challenged Asuka for the Raw Women's Championship at Clash of Champions in September. WWE.com WWE has announced the release of Zelina Vega, mere minutes after she tweeted in support of unionization in the professional wrestling industry. "WWE has come to terms on the release of Zelina Vega. We wish her all the best in her future endeavors," reads the statement on their official website. The statement does not mention the circumstances of Vega's release. Vega last appeared in WWE programming during last Friday's episode of SmackDown, where she fought Team SmackDown Qualifying match with Natalya and Ruby Riott. She had just been drafted to SmackDown during the 2020 WWE Draft. She previously performed on RAW, and was best known for her various managerial roles, including a duo with Andrade. Vega (real name Thea Trinidad) debuted on NXT in June 2017, and was involved in numerous feuds with her ward Andrade, including during his multiple championship reigns. She broke up with Andrade in September, and fought in a losing effort for the Raw Women's Championship at Clash of Champions. Prior to joining WWE, Trinidad (under the ring name Rosita) had a two-year stint in TNA as a member of the Mexican America stable, and made appearances for CMLL, ROH, and SHINE. She was also Florence Pugh's stunt double in the 2019 WWE-produced Paige biopic Fighting With My Family. Advertisement It's not clear if Vega's release had anything to do with her tweet, though WWE has historically been opposed to unionization within the wrestling industry, and several fans and various publications have noted the suspicious timing.