Bit of a controversial one here, but what’s life without a little controversy?
This post concerns Sports Entertainment (ack.) juggernaut WWE, and their public image. In recent years, we’ve seen many a great change in how WWE walks, talks and even dresses itself. The company has always held a narrative while showcasing the athleticism and charisma of it’s performers; they’re the two things that put arses in seats, which in turn generates money, which makes Vince McMahon a happy little lunatic.
But over the past 7 or 8 years we’ve seen WWE micromanage their public image, something the company just didn’t bother with at the height of the Attitude and Ruthless Aggression Eras. This we can attribute to, until then, the most sane member of the McMahon clan in gearing up for her 2010 U.S Senate campaign.
Until 2008, we had seen blood, high spots, unadulterated violence and sexual segments which, for the most part, worked. They fit with the product at the time, which was a narrative entrenched in VIOLENCE. Then, shortly before SummerSlam 2008, WWE went PG. PG is a television rating which translates to ‘boring’. Admittedly WWE has had the odd shining segment since going PG, but there’s only so much you can do with PG, and that limits what you can do as a company, what your performers can do and what the fan base will tolerate (thanks, Linda). So for the sake of two (yes, count them, two!) failed U.S Senate campaigns, we are firmly stuck with a PG product that limits its own output.
On a Talk is Jericho featuring Paul Heyman and WWE Hall of Famer Edge, the subject of PG came up. With Edge noting his wish to take a Tombstone Piledriver on top of the cell in his Hell in a Cell match with The Undertaker (to which Heyman simply replied “ew”), however this was nixed due to PG and Linda preparing for a long and storied career in American politics…..
This isn’t the only infraction WWE has incurred with their self-glorification, the other being charity work.
Now, there are many great charities and philanthropic efforts in the world today, but I do not for one second believe WWE is one of them. I firmly believe WWE’s charitable efforts are disingenuous, they’re shoving them down our throats like they’re Roman Reigns.
There are entire segments dedicated to showing how giving the company is, hyping Make A Wish, Be A Star and their ongoing partnership with the Susan G. Komen foundation, it all reeks of desperation and “good” PR.
Especially guilty of this is WWE’s “Chief Brand Officer”, Stephanie McMahon. As entertaining as Stephanie is on our screens, her job title, social media posts and general cluelessness are part of what stinks about today’s product.
Just check out this tweet from 2015:
A picture is worth a thousand words, as they say.
Another example of WWE’s charitable scheming is their own charity; Connor’s Cure.
Connor’s Cure came as a result of the sad passing of 8-year old WWE fan, Connor Michalek. WWE had treated him extremely well after a YouTube video asking to meet his hero, Daniel Bryan. This is without a doubt a good, kindhearted thing. The thing the company omitted is that it would not have been possible without ring announcer: Justin Roberts, instead using Connor’s story to pat themselves on the back and then using his untimely passing to further inflate their own ego by “selflessly” founding a charity in his name.
I genuinely don’t care whether a company is charitable or not. As long as they’re not hurting anything then it’s not going to deter me from doing business with them or enjoying their product, but I can only tolerate so much bullshit.