Controversial Referee Among WWE's Latest Round Of Firings
By Jason Hall
May 20, 2021
Controversial referee Drake Wuertz was among the latest round of WWE firings announced on Wednesday (May 19).
Wuertz, whose real name is Drake Younger, was among eight individuals from the NXT brand released by the company, which also included: Alexander Wolfe, Jessamyn Duke, Vanessa Borne, Kavita Devi, Skyler Story, Ezra Judge and fellow referee Jake Clemons, CagesideSeats.com reports.
The outspoken former wrestler turned referee also gave speeches at both a County Commissioner's meeting and a Seminole County Public Schools meeting arguing against children wearing masks in schools during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic based on conspiracy theories related to child trafficking and has shared numerous anti-vaccination posts on his personal Facebook account.
Wuertz's release was initially reported by Fightful's Sean Ross Sapp on Wednesday and later confirmed by numerous outlets.
Word among talent and staff at the WWE Performance Center is that referee Drake Wuertz has been let go. I've reached out to WWE for a confirmation on this, and clarity on the situation.— Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful.com (@SeanRossSapp) May 19, 2021
Sapp also reported of several other incidents involving Wuertz leading up to his termination on Fightful Select (subscription needed), which including Wuertz having "nuclear heat" with other WWE NXT employees regarding his conspiracy theories against masks and the COVID-19 vaccine.
Wuertz, who was demoted from his senior official position earlier this year, also reportedly attempted to make several "power plays" to angle himself for a better position within the company, which Sapp said included trying to "get heat on" other individuals to improve his chances.
Multiple reports also indicated wrestlers of color complained to management about incidents related to "the way things were worded by Wuertz" multiple times, which included a reported "physical" incident with Judge, who is Black, prior to both men being released on Wednesday.
Spectrum Sports' Jon Alba said multiple WWE and NXT superstars told him they "believed Drake Wuertz was racist, and felt uncomfortable around him at the WWE Performance Center," in Orlando, Florida and one individual added that "they even felt odd with him reffing closed-door matches at the PC."
In the past 3 weeks, multiple WWE and NXT Superstars told me they believed Drake Wuertz was racist, and felt uncomfortable around him at the WWE Performance Center. One noted they even felt odd with him reffing closed-door matches at the PC.— Jon Alba (@JonAlba) May 19, 2021
This seemed like it was inevitable.
Fightful reports "no fewer than 10 wrestlers" said they felt uncomfortable or unsafe around Wuertz, who would "loudly criticize" others for getting the COVID-19 vaccine or even a routine flu shot.
Fightful also reports an incident took place last summer prior to TakeOver: In Your House amid the death of George Floyd and an ensuing global call for social justice.
According to the report, WWE executive and NXT founder Paul "Triple H" Levesque gave a speech to the locker room about inclusivity, which included an emphasis on accepting all religions, to which "Wuertz's attitude immediately changed, and he aggressively gathered his belongings and left."
Wuertz was hired by WWE in 2013, joining the company as a referee after an initial tryout at the WWE Performance Center. He had previously competed as a wrestler on the independent circuit, gaining a reputation for his deathmatch wrestling style.
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