Yet again, the McMahon pursuit of power, money, and state deregulation does more harm than good to the WWE product.
As Linda seeks a Senate seat to act as Vince’s voice in the corridors of power, yet more political mudslinging has provoked debate about WWE that wouldn’t be had if it were not for this campaigning.
Linda’s Republican opponent vying for the candidacy, Chris Shays, has again had no shortage of examples to cast his fellow conservative in a poor light: chair shots, the degradation of women, and a Kiss My Ass Club have all been referenced.
Cue the standard WWE response line: “Oh, we’re PG now.”
So while Shays – somewhat justifiably – claims that the McMahons have made a fortune from sex and violence, WWE representatives suggest that this is no longer the case anymore, though, so all is well. Just in time for Linda’s pursuit of political pull, the entire WWE product goes PG, and so come along all the cliches about learning from mistakes, and newfound wholesome conservative family values. Pass the vomit bag.
Is WWE violent today though? Well, while their spokespeople might deny it on one hand, their own PR people are saying otherwise – as evidenced by a press release the very same week, promoting a WWE book named My Favorite Match, stating: “Remember the time Goldust ran over ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper in his gold Cadillac? How about when Randy Orton battled Mick Foley with a barbed-wire bat named ‘Barbie’?” It then adds: “It’s about the moments that stand out and make them smile. Sometimes, it’s the same smile they had when they left the ring, face full of blood and sweat, to the roars of thousands.”
So are WWE saying that, because the McMahons only made their millions from adult-orientated content several years ago, it’s fine because the product is now PG – and by this rationale, it’s okay to promote an upcoming book on the violence of yesteryear and profit from it?
Come clean: WWE has always made money from its owned content, past and present; only the Benoit double murder suicide has made them relent from including significant portions of old footage in contemporary product offerings. Any other claim is a lie, and Linda, Vince, and WWE are going to experience more trouble the more they stick to their campaign cliches.
This is yet another example of why the McMahons – who have now also donated money to the doomed Mitt Romney Republican campaign – must abandon this ill-advised and counter-productive mission to woo conservatives at the same time as paradoxically courting favour with Hollywood: WWE, who once had a liberal politician sit on their board of directors for years while under attack from the ultra-conservative Parents Television Council, aren’t content with avoiding pension plans and health care provision to its
employees “independent contractors” who are forced to change their names for intellectual property purposes, restricted from outside pursuits, and bound to 90-day no-compete clauses. Despite all there is to be gained from putting fingers on the pulse and striking a chord in pop culture – as they did with their “Attitude” era influenced by Paul Heyman – the McMahons sell out even their own spirit. The trademark McMahon traits of insecurity and greed will drive them to continue through this minefield.
As for whether they’re violent or not, chances are you already know the answer to such a question. It’s simulated violence, like many television shows and movies. Kids are exposed to raunchy music videos and brain-busting boxing during daylight hours, and despite what the McMahons’ conservative friends might keep saying, the pro wrestling form of sports entertainment is the least of our media concerns, merely the most accessible and working class, which never sits well with those in high places, so it’s often the first in line for scrutiny or scapegoating.
Here’s to a return of car attacks, barbed wire, and blood in the name of sports entertainment and simulated “violence.” And a hope that we have some showbusiness-loving liberals in charge one day, willing to stand up for it.