Big Changes Coming for SmackDown?, WWE Responds to Ventura

– Earlier this week, WWE Hall of Famer Jesse Ventura appeared on ESPN radio and criticized World Wrestling Entertainment for their longtime company policy of classifying wrestlers as “independent contractors” and not employees. Ventura acknowledged that he had participated in a WWE event just a week ago when he hosted RAW, but says the wrestlers are treated unfairly and denied benefits because of WWE’s refusal to acknowledge them as employees.

WWE spokesperson Robert Mitchell has responded to Ventura’s remarks with some pretty sharp words of his own. Mitchell tells the Hartford Courant: “We find it highly hypocritical that Jesse had no problem coming on Monday Night Raw last week to promote his new project or was happy to be paid all those years by the WWE as a performer. He is just looking to garner additional press for his fledgling show, appropriately entitled ‘Conspiracy Theory.'”

– It’s been reported this week that major changes are coming to WWE in the early months of 2010, with the ECW brand likely being shut down. According to a report from PWInsider, WWE also has big changes in store for the SmackDown brand. The feeling is that RAW has enhanced its identity with the Guest Host concept and SmackDown needs something of its own to stand out. While nothing official has been decided on yet, it’s believed that any big changes will take place after year ends.