First of all, I should give a little bit of my background. I have been watching pro wrestling since 1996 (right around Wrestlemania XII). I stopped watching Monday Night Raw in 2005, the first time that Daivari started talking to Muhammad Hassan in English for no reason. I switched it to Medium and have watched NBC on Monday nights ever since. I am still a die-hard wrestling fan and leave and breathe by the business. I have what they call “the sickness.”
Now, in what can best be described as a pathetic attempt to get votes for Linda McMahon, the WWE has started a “Stand Up for WWE” campaign. (For their page, click here) They have a page where it shows common myths and rebuttals to these myths (as seen by the McMahon family).
“…the company…has been criticized for violent and sexually suggestive programming.”
Peter Wallsten – The Wall Street Journal – July 2, 2010
- All of WWE’s programming has been TV-PG since June 2008.
- Friday Night SmackDown, which made its network debut in 1999 has always been rated TV-PG.
- 87 percent of WWE fans say WWE content is appropriate for families.
My personal opinion:
The company isn’t violent? Pro wrestling isn’t violent? Isn’t that like denying that the pope is Catholic? Or that Oprah is rich? Or that the Yankees paid a lot for their payroll? What would you like us to forget, WWE? Kane attaching Shane McMahon’s testicles to a car battery? What about Randy Orton getting back body-dropped on thumbtacks? How about a wrestler who uses a sledgehammer to assault his opponents like it’s a fist?
Sexually suggestive programming? Does anybody remember strip poker? How about Kelly Kelly’s “exhibitionist” persona? How about “Hot Lesbian Action?” Edge and Lita’s live sex show? How about The Kat’s stripping, Miss Jackie & Sable popping out of her top? Bra and panties matches? How about the Billy & Chuck wedding?
“Putting profits before people.”
– Richard Blumenthal ads
This I have no opinion on. Yes, they’ve fired married couples on their honeymoons and talent while they were pregnant, but what company hasn’t? This is a listed on New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), publicly-traded company. Wanna find me a company on the NYSE that hasn’t done something like that? They have also paid for wrestlers to go to rehab who have needed it. If their company was about profit, they would not have that as an option.
“… The state Democratic Party has criticized … other business practices, particularly its classifying performers as independent contractors who do not receive health benefits from WWE.”
– Ed Stannard – New Haven Register, Sept. 5, 2010
As I said above, the WWE has gone out of their way to keep wrestlers employed after their injuries. For every story about Andrew “Test” Martin getting fired while recovering from spinal fusion surgery, there’s stories of Tony Atlas being brought in because he was homeless or the WWE re-hiring the husband of the aforementioned married couple fired on their honeymoon.
“The company also has been accused of looking the other way as wrestlers, feeling pressured to maintain the pumped-up bodies showcased in the WWE, turned to steroids.”
– Ray Hernandez & Joshua Brustein – The New York Times, July 15, 2010
There is a culture in wrestling that still glorifies the biggest and best bodies. To be the best, you are still required to look like a genetic freak. I am not saying that WWE typifies this culture as much, but if I am an indy wrestler up and coming and I see that I’m not going to make it because of my height, I might try to compensate for it by bulking up in the middle. We saw it with Eddy Guerrero and Chris Benoit. I think the WWE has done a much better job of pushing smaller guys, like the Jack Swaggers, CM Punks and the Kanes. This is a positive step.
But in honesty, I won’t be standing up for WWE. And I’ll tell you why. It was their product. Don’t get me wrong. I had some great moments watching WWE. The night my future wife made me be quiet while The Rock was speaking. The night Goldberg attacked The Rock and my wife left me a message saying, “I just wanted to say that was really cool.” I cried when Chris Benoit won the belt, I cried the night Eddy Guerrero won the belt and I was inconsolable the nights we lost Chris Benoit, Owen Hart and the Fabulous Moolah.
For nearly 10 years, the WWE was the center of my universe. But now I wouldn’t watch their product with somebody else’s eyes. You want me to stand up for WWE? You haven’t given me a reason to in about 5 years. I respect the Tribute to the Troops. I respect all the “Make a Wish Foundation” and charitable work. But when I see a bad television show, I cannot watch it and I’m not going to get behind a company that delivers crappy television to me.