In three Warner Bros. cartoons, Bugs played an uncharacteristic heel to Cecil’s babyface. He was as bumbling as Elmer Fudd, trying to scam his way to the finish line so the proverbial hare could beat the stereotypical tortoise. Usually, we would cheer the “wascally wabbit” on to victory, but he was the villain in this trio of ‘toons. The overconfident competitor who felt that he had no competition and certainly a slow turtle would not beat him.
Recent comments by Linda McMahon revealed that she did not believe that TNA was so much competition as much as other entertainment programs were. After all, they’re not a pro wrestling organization anymore. They’re entertainment. A while back, I wrote a tongue-in-cheek column about WWE’s decision to forsake their history.
Now the gloves must come off as I take one and slap it in the face of WWE.
WWE has become the heel to the entire wrestling business. Look, I understood when Vince went national, violating the unwritten rule of promoting only in a certain geographical area of the country. There was money to be made and Vinnie Mac had a vision. At that time, the ends justified the means. Wrestling moved into modern times and became mainstream. Wrestling was cool, chic and fashionable.
While today it does not enjoy “Rock and Wrestling” or “Attitude” type of popularity, it is still prominent in pop culture.
Truth be told, WWE has become an affront to the wrestling business and its history. To turn their back on professional wrestling is an insult to every performer, new and old, who have worked hard to make the wrestling business matter. Make the wrestling business popular. Make the wrestling business as credible as a pre-determined form of sports entertainment can be.
The latest comments by Linda McMahon are a combination of arrogance and cluelessness. Yes, TNA is nowhere near WWE numbers. Their pay-per-view buy rates don’t come close to what their Connecticut counterpart generates. But to say that all forms of entertainment are competition is laughable. No matter what you call it. No matter how you brand it. It’s still pro wrestling. It’s a niche, not mainstream entertainment.
TNA has grown and survived longer than anyone thought. They continue to face challenges, but they are a true up-and-comer. They have the financial resources behind them to continue that growth. Yes, they have challenges, both creatively and financially, but they have lasted longer than any other start-up promotion in recent memory.
Dare I say that WWE put lipstick on a pig by replacing pro wrestling with pure entertainment. And while “entertainment” is a major facet of their business, that has fallen flat. When was their last big-selling book? When was their last blockbuster movie? Should we even mention the WBF or the XFL?
Go ahead and “google” the term “pro wrestling.” At page 4, you’ll see TNA. Ten pages in I gave up. Never saw WWE at all. That speaks volumes.
(UPDATE: Okay, I have been summarily spanked by some of you readers on the above assertion. If you “google” the term “professional wrestling,” WWE is right up there with the rest.)
WWE as a company is at its best when they dance with the one that brung ’em. That’s pro wrestling. That’s their legacy and heritage. To claim anything else or to say that another wrestling program is not competition does nothing but crap on the history of this business. Do what you want with that “pig.” Doll it up, lipstick and all. But its still pro wrestling in pro wrestling fans’ eyes.
Oh, and you had better watch out for that turtle.