It’s Never Been Harder to be a WWE Fan

Firing people in the midst of a global pandemic for any corporation is, to put it extremely lightly, a dick move.

Firing professional wrestlers in a midst of a global pandemic where they can’t go to wrestle at independent wrestling shows to continue to survive is goddamn reprehensible, and it makes watching any WWE programming all the harder.

I’ve been watching professional wrestling on and off throughout my life since 2000. For the better part of 20 years, I’ve found myself making excuses for the numerous shitty things the WWE has done. I stayed and watched while WWE ran reprehensible stories that implied necrophilia and rape. I watched as for years they treated women as nothing more than eye candy.

I watched as Eddie Guerrero ballooned in size to appease Vince McMahon’s desire to have a big man on top of his promotion. I watched Eddie Guerrero slowly deteriorate. I was there when he died, watched the tribute show where he was honored, and then watched in horror when they had Randy Orton use one of “Eddie’s lowriders” to run over someone, and imply that Eddie Guerrero was in hell only days later. I watched as they pretended that Eddie Guerrero and Rey Mysterio were like brothers (in reality, they were more like friends and respected colleagues), watched them put the World Heavyweight Championship on Mysterio “in honor” of Eddie, then watched him literally lose every single match he had after winning it, while JBL, Booker T, and a host of other heels used Eddie’s name for cheap heat. And yet I still watched.

WWE has always been a cruel, kind of despicable company. For a long time, I was able to ignore it. Partly because of the dumb ignorance of youth, which allows most people to gloss over the gross shit they say, watch and do, partly because I believed by watching I was lending my support to the professional wrestlers I loved even if I was growing to hate the company.

I just don’t think I have it in me to do that anymore. Its responses to the COVID-19 have gone above and beyond what they’ve done before. WWE has laid off at least 20 wrestlers and behind the scenes personnel people from the company. Alpha Entertainment, the company that operated the XFL and (we now know) was partially owned by WWE suspended operations and filed for bankruptcy, leaving hundreds of people suddenly unemployed and unable to find work. They did not do this because they are in money trouble; the WWE is still incredibly profitable. They did so only to make their profit projections look slightly better. Vince’s wife Linda runs a Super-PAC that coincidentally donated a fuckton of money to Florida Republicans at roughly the same time the WWE was deemed an “essential business”, so they could continue to run shows in the state.

It wasn’t until very recently that WWE planned to air live wrestling shows, though they walked that back. Even so, running any wrestling show at this point and time requires a lot of people to be on site. That doesn’t even get into how WWE’s draconian way of creating television works. Take the story of Edge, a.k.a Adam Copeland, who had to go through hell to cut a live promo in front of a bunch of empty seats, instead of, ya know, filming it at home and sending it in. For the first three weeks of quarantined shows, the hard camera was looking at those same empty chairs; only after AEW adjusted it’s camera shot to show the ramp did WWE decide to move it’s camera to the same location.

It’s hard to watch as the evils of the thing you love get exposed for the world to see. It becomes harder still to justify continuing to support that thing. WWE fans have been through a lot; a lot of death, a lot of watching beloved wrestlers get misused and/or released, a lot of creative decisions that seem designed to directly antagonize them, a lot of excusing the chairman of the board for the myriad of shady and shitty things they’ve done. It used to be easier to ignore it. To turn off the brain and just watch some wrasslin’.

But I don’t know if I can do it anymore. At least not with WWE. I’m kinda tired of feeling Vince McMahon and WWE so thoroughly disregard the desires of its fans and its talent that they believe they are too big to fail. How can I justify watching this thing that I know is putting athletes I respect at risk and making me question my own ethos? I don’t think I can. Or at least I don’t think I should.

WWE will keep on moving forward. They are now allowed to operate shows as they see fit. Their next pay-per-view will feature two ladder matches that will take place on the roof of their Stamford, CT headquarters, where the wrestlers will have to fight from the bottom floor to the top. (Yes, that does sound extraordinarily stupid, thanks for noticing.) But the only I get, the more I think that they’re gonna have to do it without me as a fan.

20 years is a long time to enjoy something, to love something. WWE took that passion for the thing I had and shot it, dead center between the eyes. They’ll never know they lost me, or anyone else, and they won’t particularly care. Whose to say they should?

But people like me are all the company has left. The company has no compulsion to grow beyond the 3-4 million people who watch on a weekly basis. Those of us who stuck around are the ones still watching, still hoping shit changes.

The moment WWE will be in trouble is when those people start to feel like I feel.

And I’ve been plenty wrong before, but it increasingly seems like that time is coming any moment now.

About KC Complains A Lot 135 Articles
KC Complains A Lot is another refugee from Deadspin. He enjoys writing and not caving to pressure from herbs.


  1. Sorry you’re losing something you’ve loved, but also Thanks for coming on over to the other side, KC💖

    As someone who grew up on AWA wrestling, then saw her favorite wrestlers makt the switch to WWF, which then became the WWE…. I’ve LOATHED the McMahon dynasty for decades now.

    I mean, YEAH, they’ve been able to do *BIG* spectacle wrestling. But Vince & Linda have alllllways seemed like terribleness in a skin-suit. Just honest-to-God TRASH humans, soaking up the cash of suckers, and promoting themselves while they run the bodies of other, younger, human beings into the ground.

    The spectacle, athleticism, & acting prowess of wrestling *can* be tons of fun! But trash-humans like the McMahons suck any & all enjoyability out of it.

  2. Don’t forget when they gave Kofi a title, but had him job out the second that title became the one for Fox because god forbid a black guy hold the top championship.

    Or when they came up with an informal policy of splitting up couples they didn’t like as a way to punish them.

    Or when two performers made a sex tape and they punished the woman for it.

    Or when they had Booker T in a feud with HHH that revolved around Trips racism and ended up with the racist guy coming out on top.

    Or when their top guy was also a rat for management against unionization?

    Or when they forced their “employees” to personally transport themselves from location to location, despite the safety hazards and health risks from performers not getting enough sleep.

    I think a large part of the companies problems of late are that they forgot that the whole thing with the “evil management” character is that said character needs to get their comeuppance in the end. People are partially willing to overlook all the horrible things Vince did both on TV and IRL because he’d eventually get in there and get his ass kicked. Now that doesn’t happen so people don’t get the gratification, even though it’s fictional.

    It also doesn’t help that they’re in WCW territory with DQ’s in no DQ matches and the Tag Team Title changing hands in singles matches.

  3. I’m an on-and-off kind of fan. I used to tape Smackdown and Raw and watch then with the kids on the nights that my wife worked. They at least were able to catch the tail end of Austin and The Rock’s runs. Since the first month was free, we signed up for WWE channel and watched Wrestlemania for the first time ever. As usual, some great matches were won by the wrong person. WWE creative is the worst. Anyway, I was telling my now-grown kids that having no audience reminded me of the days watching Georgia Championship Wrestling on Saturday afternoons in the 70’s, when they would have one set of bleachers and like 25 people as their “live audience.”

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