When Monday morning kicked off, dirtsheets were buzzing with information on a new campaign being pursued by the WWE. The brains of the company put together Stand Up For WWE, a motion that calls for change in the perspective of professional wrestling. This put the microphone in the hands of the fans, urging them to defend the past time they’ve coveted for years. When damage control failed from the inside, the WWE threw their hands up in the air and decided to let the fans demonstrate their devotion and petition for the respect they all knew they deserved. Professional wrestling has been an abused business for years, but when the gun was turned on them from a political standpoint, enough was enough. It was time to do something.
Halfway through Monday Night Raw, we were presented with a video package plugging Stand Up For WWE. We were given testimonials from numerous political figures, actors, athletes, and other celebrities, patting the WWE on the back. Along with those were clips from all the live events, conventions, and autograph signings put on by the company for the fans. Finally, we were shown all the good deeds enacted by the men and women. We got to watch the smiles put on the faces of those in the military, and the children from the Make A Wish foundation. It’s easy to brush off the facts of just how much the WWE does as it’s happening. But seeing all of it flash over my screen was enough to knock me on my ass, and take a step back. Is it time to pay it forward?
The monster that is sports entertainment has been a rollercoaster throughout the decades; no more so than in the last few years. The ups and downs have been tremendous and prominent. Either they would render us smiling and euphoric, or they’d leave a bitter taste in our mouths. With the end of the Attitude Era, the buy-out of WCW, and the shift into PG television, it was clear that change was among us. Much like everything else in the world, the WWE had to roll with the times, and alter their content accordingly. It hasn’t always been for the better—in fact, a lot of it has been awful since mid-2008—but such is life.
How many times have we had to sit back and watch them insult our intelligence with the content of their shows? How often have we had to dumb down our humor just to enjoy a John Cena promo? How many NXT challenges have punched us in the face with stupidity? Since 2009, WWE programming has felt like the creative team has been laughing at the longest inside joke, making bets over what the kids will salivate over. No one can disagree, they’ve made it difficult to be a fan. From the watered down storylines, to the release of several beloved Superstars and the tragedy of others being completely buried, of course it’s been difficult to tolerate. But some of us have made good careers of it.
Is this a true cry for help, or is this just a way to thwart the bloodthirsty politicians looking to conquer the polls? Regardless, respect must be paid, if only to the wrestlers. Do they deserve to be verbally manhandled by politicians just looking for an easy win? Absolutely not. It’s time to tip our hats to the Superstars and Divas that keep us hooked on a rocky product. The underlying motives for this campaign are irrelevant to me. What does matter, is how these performers slave for most of the year, nonstop, for your entertainment. How the writers work around the clock to concoct something that will blow your mind. That’s all I can ask of them, and if they ask me to stand up for them, I’ll grab my most comfortable of shoes in a heartbeat.