1:39 PM PT -- Rusev -- a fan favorite in WWE -- confirmed his release minutes ago ... saying simply, "Thank you All, Rusev out!"
11:46 AM PT -- Wrestling legend Kurt Angle is the first huge superstar to get the news ... thanking WWE for bringing him back for the past 2 years.
"I made many new friends and had the opportunity to work with so many talented people," Angle said on Twitter.
"To the Superstars, continue to entertain the WWE Universe as well as you possibly can. They’re the best fans in the world. #itstrue"
Other Superstars getting released include Eric Young, Luke Gallows, Curt Hawkins, Karl Anderson, Lio Rush, EC3 and Drake Maverick.
WWE just announced a massive cost-saving plan in hopes to keep the company afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic ... which includes slashing top executive salaries and furloughing part of its staff.
Vince McMahon's company spelled out the plan to its investors -- saying they've had to do tighten up the wallet since the pandemic has had a significant impact on their business operations.
"Due to COVID-19 and current government mandated impacts on WWE and the media business generally, the Company went through an extensive evaluation of its operations over the past several weeks," WWE said.
"This analysis resulted in the implementation of various short-term cost reductions and cash flow improvement actions including:
Reducing executive and board member compensation;
Decreasing operating expenses;
Cutting talent expenses, third party staffing and consulting;
Deferring spend on the build out of the Company’s new headquarters for at least six months.
WWE says they also made the decision to "furlough a portion of its workforce effective immediately."
"The decision to furlough versus permanently reduce headcount reflects the fact that the Company currently believes the furlough will be temporary in nature."
WWE says the moves will help save the company roughly $4 MILLION per month -- "along with cash flow improvement of $140 million primarily from the deferral in spending on the Company’s new headquarters."
WWE assures its stockholders it has enough resources to continue operating -- with approximately $500 million in cash and credit.
"Management continues to believe the fundamentals of the Company’s business remain strong and that WWE is well positioned to take full advantage of the changing media landscape and increasing value of live sports rights over the longer term."
No word on which WWE staffers be part of the furlough.