AS I SEE IT 4/2: When reality inserts itself into your fantasy

It’s the wrestling week of the year, but one of the bigger
stories concerning the McMahon family has nothing whatever
to do with WWE’s annual wrestling long day’s journey into
night…and into the next day… called Wrestlemania.

First reported by Politico.com, and confirmed Friday, Linda
McMahon resigned from her position as the Administrator of
the Small Business Administration, a position in the
Presidential Cabinet. McMahon will be playing a major
fundraising role for President Donald Trump’s 2020 re-
election campaign.

Such a move is not entirely a surprise, as the entire
McMahon family has had a longtime relationship with Donald
Trump, all the way back to Wrestlemanias being held at the
now former Trump Plaza, not to mention Trump’s involvement
at WrestleMania 23 with Vince McMahon. After Linda’s
nomination at Administrator of the SBA, the entire McMahon
family visited the White House in early 2017.

But at the same time, WWE made a conscious decision not to
mention Donald Trump, to involve the real life relationship
with Trump in storylines, or even to bring up his name;
largely as a business strategy. Face it, Trump opponents and
supporters both buy WWE Network and PPVs, merchandise, live
event tickets. They also serve as sponsors and advertisers.

Given all that, if I were Vince McMahon, I’d have
wished…maybe even prayed…that my wife and Donald Trump
could have waited until a day or two after Mania to announce
this.

WWE runs the real risk of being asked about this far more
than once during Wrestlemania media week at a time when
their sole priority is to get over Wrestlemania, the Hall of
Fame, NXT Takeover, and the many community and charitable
events that take place every Wrestlemania weekend…not
discuss 2020 Presidential politics. Those questions won’t
likely happen on appearances made on the NBC family of
networks, which have already started…but there are
hundreds of others of other events over the next six days
where those rules may not apply.

There is more than a little anecdotal evidence of people who
stopped watching and attending WWE shows, when it got out
that Vince and Linda donated $7 million to the 2016 Trump
campaign. That disclosure came after Trump took office, and
the heat from it eventually did die down. Since Linda
McMahon is going to either be in the leadership of, or
outright run Donald Trump’s 2020 re-election fundraising,
such an effect could well be longer lasting because she’ll
be doing that fundraising for the next nineteen months.

Standard wisdom is that wrestling fans won’t do anything
when they complain about everything from storylines to real
life events…”as always”. But real events and real numbers
show this standard wisdom to not be so standard, and
“always” not to be always.

Two years in a row now, outside forces have become involved
right before Wrestlemania.

Witness last year’s attempt to name the inaugural Women’s
Battle Royal at the Wrestlemania the Fabulous Moolah Battle
Royal. The way Moolah treated those she trained had always
been at best an open secret. In an age where information is
available at everyone’s fingertips, it was no secret to
anyone. At best, Moolah exploited those who worked and
trained with her financially. But in 2018, allegations of
physical and sexual abuse came out that were far more
damaging.

Fan petitions to WWE to reverse the move went up overnight,
with one gathering more than 10,000 signatures. When a fan
campaign was started on Twitter to contact WrestleMania 34
sponsor Mars Wrigley Confectionery US (parent company of
Snickers), things moved quickly.

Mars Wrigley Confectionery US issued a statement: “We were
recently made aware of the World Wrestling Entertainment
Inc’s (WWE) decision to honor a former wrestler during the
upcoming WrestleMania 34 event. As a principle-based
business that has long championed creating inclusive
environments that encourage and empower everyone to reach
their full potential, this is unacceptable. We are engaging
with the WWE to express our disappointment.”

In short order, WWE responded: “After further consideration,
we believe it’s best to proceed with the name ‘WrestleMania
Women’s Battle Royal.’ What remains most important is that
this historic match is part of WWE’s unwavering commitment
to the Women’s Division.”

In short, Mars, Inc. threatened to pull their sponsorship if
WWE didn’t reverse the decision, and that was due to fan
pressure, a fact that Stephanie McMahon acknowledged, if
indirectly.

More recent and more notable is what happened approaching
the most recent WWE Saudi Arabia show, Crown Jewel. After
the murder of Jamal Khashoggi at the direction at the very
Saudi Crown Prince with whom WWE negotiated their mega-
million deal, Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud, WWE’s decision to
go ahead with the show saw 50,000 subscribers drop WWE
Network in the period immediately afterward, at least in
part because of the decision.

For a company who is so into control that they banned
legitimate media from using words like “wrestler” at the
press conference announcing next year’s Wrestlemania in
Tampa, FL, negative real world news is impossible to control
like a press conference and WWE’s bizarre rules of wrestling
jargon (including the very word wrestling itself). What will
happen as a result of Mrs. McMahon taking this role remains
to be seen.

But the real world and real world events don’t avoid WWE’s
little self contained bubble and may well not this time
either.

Until next time…

To contact me, email me at bobmagee1@hotmail.com or
bobmagee856@gmail.com.