Monday, October 25, 2010

Stand Up for ... ???? Get the "F" Out!

Hi guys - First, my abundant apologies for the fact that cleaning up a house occupied by two young boys (and OK, their slovenly parents), and entertaining my in-laws this weekend definitely took more time and energy than I'd anticipated - ITVR as promised for this weekend, as you can see, didn't come about, despite our best intentions. Please know we're aware we're sleeping on the job, quite literally at times, and we are keeping up as best we can, while also trying to come up with some plans for going forward, since good intentions aren't doing it. We WILL be back on the air this week to discuss Bragging Rights (which we are apparently the only fans out there who enjoyed), and the rest of the week in wrestling - but meanwhile, I DID have to address the WWE's new campaign to "Stand up for WWE".

This campaign was launched last week in response to attacks (acknowledged by me to have occurred) during the Richard Blumenthal-Linda McMahon US Senate race in Connecticut, home of the WWE HQ. You can find the whole chronology at but long story short - Vince McMahon launched a campaign for fans to send in testimonials, messages, videos, what have you, in to the WWE. Around the same time, the Democrats launched an investigation into Linda McMahon Campaign funding going towards WWE, and/or vice versa, as well as having a ban enacted on WWE merchandise (t-shirts and the like) at polling stations, given Linda McMahon as WWE's ex-CEO and wife of the current Chairman is so associated with the company it could be seen as campaign advertising, which isn't allowed in polling places. Needless to say, Vince took ridiculous exception to this, saying it was disenfranchising WWE Fans (nevermind that really it just involves covering up the t-shirts or changing them, turning them inside-out or such).

I do just want to say that standing up for the WWE, even as a fan, is as difficult a job as standing up for an 800-pound gorilla terrorizing New York City. It is a billion dollar company, run by a billionaire, who blatantly treats their employees as independent contractors with no health benefits, no union, and no freedom to book their own outside projects (movies, other wrestling gigs, book deals, have all caused friction and outright rifts between Vince McMahon and several of his employees).

I will stand up for WWE as entertainment - I enjoy it for the most part, and think most people would find something, in time, that they find entertaining too. The athleticism is incredible, and it is an incredibly well-run, smooth operation. I will even say Linda McMahon's campaign, if nothing else, has to this point been an excellent influence in terms of cleaning up the product and making it more palatable and family-friendly. I will even say that up until this point Vince McMahon has impressed me with his restraint in terms of involving himself with, capitalizing on, jeopardizing or otherwise riding on his wife's coattails. And I will compliment the steps the WWE has taken - in terms of drug testing, funding for rehab, an increased understanding of the need for time off, etc. But (a) that doesn't mean it's at all a perfect scenario, as wrestlers still do not enjoy employee status despite being at the WWE's beck and call, nor benefits, etc., and (b) it does not erase that this industry has a much longer history of unsavory practices, that a few years of recognizing and working on that are still fair game when it comes to questioning a potential future US Senator whose company seemingly cleaned up overnight upon her declaring for Senate.

Either way - Vince McMahon isn't losing eyeballs, nor advertising dollars, nor butts in seats due to attacks from his wife's political opponents. For that he can look at the ridiculous prices for pay-per-views; wrestlers themselves who find working for the WWE such a grind they quit just as fans warm to them (see Hardy, Jeff and Matt; Lesnar, Brock; etc.), and yes - to a certain extent a disgust with the culture, an awareness of which predates Linda's Senate run. And he doesn't need testimonials from his employees, contractors and fans to win those people back. I would say rather than seeking out fans to create free advertising for him, Vince would do well to start back at the basics; good story, lower PPV prices, excellent athleticism in matches that have time to build, and perhaps a trimming of a roster he only uses half of anyway. I am a fan of 20-years-standing of the WWE who won't stop watching - but in terms of political or moral complaints, I for one will NOT be standing up for the WWE.


blog analyzer
HammerMill Copy Paper