WWE pulls plug on programming, network in Russia

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March 3 (Reuters) - U.S. media and broadcasting firm World Wrestling Entertainment Inc (WWE.N) said on Thursday it had terminated its partnership with Russia's Match TV and shut down its local network.

WWE programming, including weekly shows "Raw", "SmackDown" and "NXT", cannot be accessed on Match TV starting Thursday.

WWE signed Match TV as its local broadcasting partner in early 2020.

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The wrestling show counts high-profile Russian-born wrestler Ilya Rukober among its major names on "NXT UK" weekly. Oleg Prudius, who went by his ring name Vladimir Kozlov, also performed for the company for half a decade before leaving in 2011.

Prudius tweeted his support for Ukraine on Wednesday, saying "war is only cowardly escape from the problems of peace." Prudius, who alternated between a hero and villain, wore red attire during his time in the WWE and once sang the Russian national anthem on TV with the audience chanting "USA" in the background.

From Apple (AAPL.O) to Nike , scores of companies have severed connections with Russia following its invasion of Ukraine, as western nations impose sanctions, including shutting out some Russian banks from the SWIFT global financial network read more

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Reporting by Yuvraj Malik in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Praveen Paramasivam; Editing by Maju Samuel

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