Hello everybody. Liam here once again with another edition of Tea Time with Liam. Now I’m not going to bore you all about mentioning my chronic laziness and why this still hasn’t returned to a weekly column. I just want to get into the writing today. But before I do, I’d like to thank everyone who responded to my Zack Ryder column. I tried my best to respond to all of you and you have my sincere apologies if I missed you out. Okay, lets get on with the column
As we all pretty much know by now. WWE is currently PG and it’s been that way since 2008. Since then the WWE has partnered with numerous other companies such as GLAAD, the creative coalition and the Be a star campaign. Now I’m not here today to slam the idea of PG, I’m not here to be totally negative just to have people think I’m being “controversial.” What I want to discuss is a few issues which have arisen over the past few years which ten years ago would have gone un noticed and probably unpunished and I also want to explain how WWE being PG and joining with these numerous makes the WWE look like a hypocritical company.
So let’s start with Raw this past Monday. During the tag team match between Kofi/Truth and the Primetime Players, Abraham Washington made the following comment. “Did you see that? Titus O’Neil is like Kobe Bryant at a hotel in Colorado. He is unstoppable.” Now without going into detail, we all know what happened a few years back and there was an allegation of sexual assault. So in essence, Abraham Washington made a joke about rape and/or sexual assault. After the commercial break we were given an apology for AW’s remarks by Michael Cole. Now, people may be able to correct me here, but I can’t recall a time ever watching WWE when they’ve had their commentators issue a legitimate apology due to the remarks of a performer. Now all we heard from WWE is that they would be taking action on the matter, although we don’t know what this is. AW was still mic’d up during house shows this past week.
So I can understand this. Rape and sexual violence is a serious offence and I can understand being a PG company would probably force WWE to make an apology to try and avoid the inevitable bad press that would come with this situation. But now this is where my issue is. WWE has been PG since 2008, but only 4 months ago, they allowed a man who has been convicted of rape into the Hall of Fame, that man being Mike Tyson. So what is WWE’s message to it’s fans here. We’ll make sure our performers wont joke about rape, but we’ll allow a man who was convicted of rape to enter our hall of fame. To me that just reeks of hypocrisy.
Now cast your minds back to a few months ago to a segment on Raw between Vince McMahon and Hornswoggle. During this segment, McMahon made fun of Jim Ross’ Bells Palsy, which is a disease which deforms his facial muscles. Vince even went so far as to attempt to show the affect of Bells Palsy by screwing up his face, obviously poking fun at Jim Ross. The funny thing was, after this segment, one of the WWE “be a star” commercials aired. What’s the slogan of “Be a star?” Don’t be a bully, be a star, show tolerance and respect. Did Vince show JR any respect then? No he didn’t. Vince was poking fun at a medical problem, not very PG is it?
Let’s go all the way back to last year when Mr John Cena was also caught up in the whole anti bullying campaign. During a rap on The Rock, Cena said the following things You left us high and dry to play a fairy with a tooth?” and “He wore lipstick in Get Shorty, and rocked a skirt for The Game Plan.” Now those of course were to do with his movies and although they could be interpreted as gay slurs, you can see that they were harmless. However, then the kicker came in. Cena said “Just don’t go racing to Witch Mountain, Rock, cause your mountain is Brokeback.” Now obviously again a reference to his movie but we all know what the final 4 words were referring too. Now we know that the character of The Rock isn’t portrayed as gay but in my opinion right there, Cena was suggesting that Rock was homosexual as a way to insult him, which of course doesn’t really show tolerance, which of course is the slogan of “Be a star”
I could list a lot of things, from racist jokes, to fat jokes, political jokes and quite frankly I’m sure you’ve already heard most of them. Like I said at the beginning of this article. This isn’t me knocking the PG era. In the 90’s this stuff happened of a weekly basis and nobody really challenged the WWE on their product and if they did. WWE was just usually have a segment on the following show, mocking those who dare even attempt to question their product. Since the WWE went PG, it’s product is under so much more scrutiny by groups who are partners with them and not the mention under scrutiny from politicians also who are hungry for any dirt they can find on the Linda McMahon.
In the 90’s WWE often pushed the boundaries on what was acceptable on television. It was often labelled as car crash TV but it was still awesome. The divas would wear practically nothing. The Undertaker was pushing religious boundaries with his Ministry of Darkness. Occasions spring to mind of trying to embalm Stone Cold alive and even attempting to crucify him at one point. I can’t even begin to imagine the controversy that that segment would garnered in present day WWE.
The main thing I don’t understand about WWE being with the “Be a Star campaign” is that the WWE is pretty much centred around bullying. The heels lie and bully and threaten their way to the top why the faces try hard to stop them. I understand the scripted nature it just seems bizarre to see someone like Tensai attack his manager for no reason what so ever, only to then have WWE cut to a commercial about bullying. It makes no sense to me for WWE to do this. The charity that they’re partnered with is completely the opposite of what the WWE product is. It’s just like if PETA joined the Fur Coat Foundation (totally made that name up) Why set out to do something if it’s going to make you look like a hypocrite.
If you want to a be a PG product, Don’t make gay jokes, Don’t mock somebody because of a medical condition. Don’t make jokes about rape, Don’t allow convicted rapists into your hall of fame. In my honest opinion. I think WWE needs to set a boundary. A clear set of rules of what can and what cannot be said. Being confined to a PG product where you have to please so many charitable groups must be difficult. And occasionally, something will crop up that will garner attention and it’s up to WWE to deal with that. Vince has put them in a position where they now have to watch what they say, they can’t push boundaries anymore, they can’t really be controversial anymore. Because as long as they’re affiliated with all these groups they’re going to firmly remain under the microscope.
Time for the plugs.
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