The burning questions, actually, are why this? Why now? What can be gained by WWE going to more family-oriented content at a time when there isnâ<80><99>t an obvious kidsâ<80><99> hero to plug in the Hulk Hogan spot?
It could be a bluff. WWE could change labels but dish out the same semi-sleaze to see how long they can get away with it. It doesnâ<80><99>t feel like a bluff, though, especially with WWE bowing to its black audience by giving African-American performers what seem to be legitimate pushes devoid of stereotyping.
Itâ<80><99>s more likely that Vince McMahon is again trying what heâ<80><99>s tried to do many times, in many ways, over the years: make WWE more acceptable to the general public. It doubtless irks McMahon that big-time mainstream corporations have rarely been WWE sponsors and that the â<80><9c>regularâ<80> media still looks down its nose at sports entertainment. McMahon has tried everything possible to break WWE out of the corner that pro wrestling has been painted into, but it never works.
This wonâ<80><99>t work, either.
When Jess McMahon died, he left his son a wrestling promotion. Before Vincent J. McMahon died, he sold his son a wrestling promotion. When Vincent K. McMahon dies â<80>” if he dies, which Iâ<80><99>m not necessarily conceding â<80>” he will leave his offspring a wrestling promotion.
WWE will always be a wrestling promotion, and thatâ<80><99>s always been Vincent K. McMahonâ<80><99>s cross to bear. The movies, the WBF, the XFL, all the ancillary nonsense was born out of McMahonâ<80><99>s deeply ingrained shame of his whole life being rooted in the bastard athletic soap opera that is pro wrestling. Not that â<80><9c>The Marine,â<80> ICOPRO and Tommy Maddox as XFL MVP did much to elevate his self-respect.
McMahon always wants to make WWE more than wrestling.
It isnâ<80><99>t, and wonâ<80><99>t ever be. Unless Coke and Pepsi wage war over sponsorship rights, I guess.
I donâ<80><99>t know how you take a product that recently featured attempted vehicular homicide and Shawn Michaelsâ<80><99> eyeball hanging out of its socket and make it PG. I donâ<80><99>t know how you adapt the characters. I donâ<80><99>t know how you do all that without alienating the majority of your audience, which â<80>” like it or not â<80>” is beer-guzzling dudes who became habitual viewers based on the productâ<80><99>s guy-oriented tone and style. Beer-guzzling dudes buy pay-per-views. Kids donâ<80><99>t. How do you logically reconcile all these issues?
Fortunately, McMahon and logic parted company long ago, so a frantic, maniacal and generally nutty attempt to go PG and win over those kids will be launched headlong and haphazardly in short order. Hey, can the same people who wrote R-rated TV suddenly write kid-friendly TV? Good question. Has anybody in WWE management bothered to ask it?
Itâ<80><99>s a shame, because R-rated TV and the sudden pushes accorded African-Americans could have combined to produce some Kodak moments.
Envision Mark Henry, Ron Killings and Cryme Time sitting in a bar chatting with four divas. Colin Delaney suddenly rushes into camera view and exclaims, â<80><9c>The Negroes took our dates!â<80> Teddy Long says, â<80><9c>If I were you boys, Iâ<80><99>d beâ<80>¦â<80> Paul London: â<80><9c>â<80>¦leaving, what a good idea!â<80>
Kidding aside, African-Americans getting pushed as stars in wrestling is long overdue, especially given the dominance exercised in any sport black athletes can be bothered with. Iâ<80><99>ve always been intrigued with Killings. Iâ<80><99>m anxious to see what he can do given a lengthy and comprehensive shove.
Besides being a black man in WWE, another way to get pushed is to be labeled as awful by the internet marks. Bookers are so anxious to prove you lot wrong that they perpetuate rotten angles and the use of useless performers just to flex their â<80><9c>Iâ<80><99>ll show them!â<80> muscles. How else to explain Mike Adamle as new Raw GM, or pretty much every single thing TNA does?
FUNNY THINGS I ONCE SAID ON NITRO (one in a series): African-American attorney J. Biggs had incorporated the â<80><9c>newâ<80> Harlem Heat (Big T and Stevie Ray) and while doing so had supposedly taken legal possession of the letter T, which could not be used without his permission. Booker T, therefore, was merely Booker. To which I added, â<80><9c>Itâ<80><99>s finally official: Heâ<80><99>s the immoral Hulk Hogan!â<80>
I want to add that the first time J. Biggs appeared on Nitro, I commented, â<80><9c>Didnâ<80><99>t this guy used to have a tennis racket?â<80>
Have a news tip? Attended an event and want to send a live report?