Last week a buddy of mine sent me a article from Rajah.com that talked about the WWE deciding to remove all “dated and edgier” images from their website and other media platforms.
This all comes a day after Linda McMahon‘s (who is running for Senate in Connecticut) Democratic opponent, Rep. Chris Murphy, ran some political television ads that contained footage of old WWE clips while slamming her alleged off-shoring profits to avoid taxes and failing to provide health care coverage for her performers.
The WWE Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications, Brian Flinn, stated in a statement:
“Some of this footage has been misused in political environments without any context or explanation as to when it was produced. This damages the corporate reputation of our company. WWE is well within its rights to protect its intellectual property for fair use.”
As many fan s will remember, the late 1990’s was the categorical rise in population of the WWE, via the “Attitude Era” vehicle. The Attitude Era was the most controversial, yet most popular time period of the company, as its contents was satisfied by more adult focused material. Violence, sex, profanity, semi-nudity, blood, race issues, etc.
Now, when it comes to image, OK, I can understand this move and see why Linda McMahon is looking to have a clean imaged company attached to her. But more of my attention of this, leans more towards the negative. Long lasting companies have always had to deal with a period of time that may be at their low or may have been involved in some deals that were unflattering. Should PepsiCo just act as if “Clear Pepsi” never existed? Should McDonalds act as if the “Arch Deluxe” Never existed? Should Fiat never acknowledge that the Yugo is not in their history? I think its unfair to go on to act as if none of these novelties have ever existed. They may not have been the most popular and desired items, but like it or not, its part of their history.
I’m not parading that the WWE should go back to their drugs, sex and rock and roll ways, but to act as if the product was never this way does a major disservice to the fans! Especially the fans who always stuck with the WWE through the good and bad, the thick and thin. Linda conceding to her democratic opponent, by removing the material, to me screams “coward”. Why couldn’t Linda take the approach of defending her company? Stating that “yes, THAT was in the past, but myself along with the good people of Connecticut are only focused on moving forward into the future.” How much harm would that approach have taken? None. So instead, we remove video content?
When I first started watching Wrestling, I would visit this mom and pop video store (don’t know what a “Video Store” is? Google it) that was very close to my house and I would rent an old wrestling video from the store every week (sometimes two) and watch them over and over again. I remember them not having Wrestlemania 4 and found that a more expensive and further video store held it, but made it my goal in life to get the video and watch it. These videos helped me a great deal when it came to understanding the history of World Wrestling Federation. There are fans right now that are experiencing this same rights of passage to be a solidified fan, but will need to see these past events. Even thought YouTube will accommodate, but why would the WWE not include themselves to accommodate for the sake of the fans?
What bothers me, is the removal of video content that “Looks Dated”. So, I’m assuming that this is anything that is pre 1996. When Vince McMahon Jr took over the company in 1983, the WWF skyrocketed into popularity with being a pop culture fixture in the 1980’s. WWF gave us some of the most iconic characters of all time in Hulk Hogan, Rowdy Roddy Piper, Superfly Jimmy Snuka, Macho Man Randy Savage, etc. A time when character driven wrestlers was a big deal and stories were told in the ring. But one aspect that needs to be remembered is that the WWF was PG AT THIS TIME! So the rating is the same, very family friendly, but because the video footage isn’t in HD content, this means that it must be removed? Where is the logic in this?
I have stated before that Wrestling fans are no longer the priority of the WWE and that their focus is to gain the acceptance of Hollywood and mass media. But this move, in my opinion, lacks a ton of logic. What if Linda doesn’t win (once again)? Would the video content then come back? Is everything that we are seeing right now, only for the image of the campaign? Does the WWE really even believe in the “Be A Star” campaign? What about their new venture with the Susan G Komen Breast Cancer foundation? Does WWE genuinely care about this partnership? Or is it only for the good of the campaign? Did Raw move up to 3 hours, so they have more time to fill in with sponsored fluff? Are wrestling fans the priority no more?
I know that this senate seat is a tremendous deal to Linda and I’m sure would make a fine politician. But since we are erasing memories, lets take into consideration when the McMahons ventured outside of the world of wrestling with two entities named the “WBO” and the “XFL”. Voters, do you really want a McMahon sitting in that senate seat? How about, she remains in her area of strength and not neglect us wrestling fans.
We haven’t walked out on you, why would you (symbolically) walk out on us?
Maurice D. Proffit is a writer for Rant Sports