After this week, I'm suspending my interest in WWE. Some thoughts

MJ from NJ here,

I wanted to take a moment to let the forum know I will be taking less of an active role around here as I am officially suspending my viewing support and interest in the WWE. I still plan to keep up with John and Wai - frankly I’d listen to them talk about paint dry which speaks to how much I enjoy their chemistry and conversations, and I’ve listened weekly since 2011 so it would be weird to stop now - but this week challenged me to really think about where certain lines are and what accountability means in the face of historical and unprecedented events in America. I asked myself what in my life is directly linked in a very real way to what we saw on Wednesday. The answer, WWE (the McMahons) is probably the thing I spend most time on directly linked to what we saw unfold (and more what led to it).

I’m not sure how many people know just how involved the McMahon family is with Donald Trump and the movement that led to Wednesday. At this time, I’m not sure how much fault the McMahon family should carry for where his movement ultimately went with things, but I don’t see it as something I can divorce anymore. In short, Linda McMahon has been Chair of America First Action, one of the most pro-Trump superPAC, responsible with raising $100s of millions of dollars for his re-election between 2019-2020. According to Federal Election Commission receipts, the McMahons donated $1mil 19x. That’s at least $19 million dollars directly to the campaign, as well as the responsibility of raising nearly hundreds of millions to bolster the voice and legitimacy of Donald Trump an his quest to remain president. What we saw Wednesday doesn’t happen if the leader of the movement doesn’t have a pulpit like the presidency. It doesn’t happen without millions of dollars behind the machine making him a national figure appealing to the worst kinds of people looking for a vessel. It’s a matter of fact - the owners of the World Wrestling Entertainment made it their job to fundraise for that figure (and subsequently movement) at a time when he was openly declaring that he could only lose a rigged election. The same rigged election rhetoric that directly incited the events of Wednesday. Well, you might ask, superPACs and their Chairs don’t encourage mobs and insurrection do they? No. But here is why I can longer divorce the McMahon/WWE involvement any longer. Most candidates do not run for re-election planting seeds for exactly what we saw transpire. So while I have in the past separated the fringe movement we saw on Wednesday from other GOP activities, this time I cannot.

And I cannot because ultimately, who is responsible? I’m sure some people who entered the Capitol or worse will be arrested. Will their cult-of-personality leader punished? How bout the tech platforms that allowed conspiracies to be posted for weeks - are they in the clear? Forums that hosted groups planning the events - they are okay too? And what for the people who made it their responsibility to keep the gravy train going which legitimized the entire thing?

That last part unfortunately is Linda McMahon. Chair of America First Action, the fundraising arm of the Trump campaign, the campaign that directly resulted in the United States Capitol building invaded by angry mobs echoing campaign slogans and talking points.

We saw the WWE go to Saudi Arabia and questioned it - here’s an honest assessment in hindsight. they do not care about freedoms or democracy or justice - they are interested in their own personal gain and business which is exactly as their leader. It stands to reason they don’t care if a coup attempt is successful or not because they won’t be impacted, right?

We saw the same America First Action superPAC (again, controlled by Linda McMahon) donate millions of dollars in Florida when the WWE needed to be deemed “essential”. Quid Pro Quo - just like their President operates. It was open bribery then, and it stands to reason now, this has been standard operating procedures for people in that Trump orbit.

Now I know not all enablers can be directly tied to the worst of it, but I am of the opinion sitting at the head of the financing arm is pretty close to the top of the movement where you cannot be ignorant. No excuse of ignorance will satisfy me right now. Can’t claim you didn’t know it would go this way when for months it was being signaled. If another country sponsored terrorism we’d have an issue with them. In this case, America First Action (and the McMahons) sought to re-elect a president (who as of this post, still sits in their Hall of Fame) who literally incited a domestic terrorist event on Wednesday; if the same event was carried out by another country we may have already dropped bombs on them.

So yeah, I cannot divorce the issue anymore. I’m out on WWE. Maybe I’ll return when things settle down and I have a better understanding of what responsibility will look like for parties and actors that we cannot simply act like they are innocent in all of this. At this time, I want to do a hard pause and reassess what I spend time on and what those brands or people support or are allowed to take place unchecked that lead to Wednesday. What value do they bring to my life, what entertainment do I derive from it? WWE has not been entertaining for years but has been something communal and fun to stay involved with. Maybe I should have drawn the line before and that is my fault. But as the saying goes your time is up and my time is now to step away.

Peace and love to all,
Mj

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Well said, MJ. I came to a similar decision (and wrote something somewhat similar) when Trump enacted the travel ban upon inauguration. The good news is that keeping an eye on things from a distance via John and Wai’s discussions is far more entertaining than actually watching WWE has been for years, and you’re currently spoiled for choice with regards to other wrestling.

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I’ll continue to watch and support the company, no matter how shitty the product is and no matter who they choose to support. Even at its worst, it still takes me away from the real world for 2-3 hours and I’ll take that. I cant say that I sit there thinking about who they choose to support, while a man is lighting another man on fire or any other obsurdities.

I’m sure there’s many things I do in my life, whether it is things I watch or stuff I buy, that involve people who have supported Trump in some way. I cant say I feel like looking into all those things, to decide what I’d have to cut out of my life.

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Haven’t given them a dollar since a McMahon was in the Cabinet.

Me neither, and I totally respect that! I think it’s become an unspoken norm that we may enjoy or support things that below the surface could be questioned and I know it’s been something I’ve consciously not let control my personal preferences.

I think what’s prompted me here is the level to which I never truly thought it would go this far but has. And that it’s one thing so directly tied to it that I just can make a clean decision.

I don’t endorse cancel culture and I respect the fact the WWE is an entire industry. I applaud those who have been gifted enough to make a business within that ecosystem. I love pro wrestling and don’t root for the demise of the company. I simply am choosing to make a clean cut right now under current circumstances and direct links.

(Responding because I have a lot of thoughts and this has been a great place for respectful and thoughtful discussions about topics - really not looking to debate negatively on this as it’s a personal feeling I wanted to share in this forum)

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Great post and I respect your decision but personally I’ve limited the amount of money I’ve given to WWE since everything relayed to the Saudi deal.

I used to watch almost everything but the last few years only subscribe to the network from rumble to mania. It helps that the product isn’t very good.

You can honestly get everything you need from John and Wai but I think unfortunately for me if you want to stay connected to the industry as a whole you have to somewhat pay attention to the leader.

It’s hard to say WWE is any worse than the UFC or the NFL when it comes to being complicit in Trump garbage and I love both of those products. But I totally understand someone for turning away after this week

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Personally cancelled the network after the Khashoggi murder, and lack of change in direction by the company as a result.

Haven’t given them a dollar since. Much happier following via Post and other outlets.

The decisions and directions the company has taken since the Saudi dealings have all reinforced my stance.

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My friends and I often talk about where our lines are in terms of consuming media produced by people whose politics or actions we object to. After all, you really vote in this country with your wallet. For me personally, I have found it pretty easy to remove the work of filmmakers, musicians, writers, and even restaurants owned by corporations that support Trump and other radical conservative beliefs from my life.
The only line I can’t seem to draw is with sports and pro wrestling. Most major franchises are owned by extremely conservative individuals who are fine setting their morals aside to support a president who promises to protect their financial interests. It sucks and I acknowledge it might make me a hypocrite, but it is so widespread I’ve just accepted it as unavoidable. The closest I can say I’ve come is no longer supporting my hometown NBA team because the ownership family has a member in Trump’s cabinet.
But sports and pro wrestling is filled with these kinds of people and I enjoy most of it too much to give up. The McMahons are tight with Trump, but I don’t think I’ll stop watching WWE. Shahid Khan donated a million dollars to Trump and Jerichos antics have irritated me, but I don’t think I’ll stop watching AEW. It does make me feel gross though and that’s why watching wrestling outside of America I prefer so I don’t have to make those concessions. Do you think you’d eventually stop watching wrestling altogether?

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I stopped spending money on wrestling after the #SpeakingOut movement went public (sorry John and Wai, collateral damage). I’m sure I’ll be back at some point, but I don’t particularly miss the WWE Network. And without my commute, I don’t really listen to many podcasts anymore.

I’m a firm believer that folks can spend or not spend their money on any (legal) product that they want. And that includes political contributions. It would take a lot for me to not spend money on a company because of political affiliation. As some have noted above, you are bound to be some measure of a hypocrite if you start doing that.

Every organization larger than 50 people probably has employees and executives from the far-right to the first-left and everything in-between. And that’s certainly true when you get into huge, global companies like Microsoft, Apple, WWE, major car companies, major airlines, etc…

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Agree with the “being a hypocrite” part. I think it’s the unspoken normalized thing these days across the spectrum.

I think what pushes this one over the line for me is Linda’s job to raise the money that gave this the legitimacy it had to the point of attempted coup. I can excuse all kinds of reasons for voting and donating to one candidate or the other because it’s politics and policies and what have you. But the job of Linda was to raise money to blast the country with advertising and propaganda. Today it’s come out the superPAC run by Linda has made contributions to groups tied directly to organizing Wednesday’s event. (Her Pac did not organize the events but had previously given money to ones that had).

It’s a matter of consequence. In America does somebody that involved and influential in the Trump machine get to be without repercussion after all of this.

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Definitely not trying to turn this into an AEW vs WWE thing. Just feel the need to mention, as I have elsewhere on the board, there is a major difference. Tony Khan’s father donated in 2016 to the election of the new president. Anybody comparing support of a new president vs. supporting the dumpster fire everybody was aware (100 times over), is stretching things to say the least.

I also don’t fault people who can separate the artist from the politics. It’s just been twenty years of this shit from WWE that has made it for me, impossible to do so.

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As recently as October, Khan was saying even though he disagreed with Trump on matters surrounding immigration and such he still supported the Presidents economic policies, which is in line with the sort of behavior I was criticizing (setting aside morals for financial security), but there are degrees to this, yes.
A one time donation is not the same as a long standing partnership and collaboration, but I feel much of the discussion this past week is about how any semblance of support around Trump legitimized him and created the climate that lead to the events at the Capital.
I similarly am not trying to burn it down to a simple WWE vs AEW debate cause it is much more serious than that, but I think it is worth acknowledging everyone who had a hand in making this guy. Trump said racist stuff at the launch of his campaign. And there’s a difference between an Alex Jones actively supporting him and a Jimmy Fallon having him on the show and acting buddy buddy, but both told certain people that this guy is fine in their book. I know a little of the subject, but a discussion I think worth having.

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I have mentioned this before, and I just want to state that I 100% agree that the ties between WWE/Trump and AEW/Trump are not the same. Obviously The relationship between the McMahons and Trump are on a completely different level.

With that said, there are those that will jump to defend the Khan family the second this is ever mentioned (I don’t mean you @MarkP) and I think to completely dismiss their relationship is disingenuous. Reports have come out that the Khans donated at least 1million to the Trunp campaign, but my guess is that all NFL owners have donated significantly more.

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Especially in an election without an incumbent I don’t see the 2016 donation as that big of a deal. Khan has donated to both sides.

Meanwhile Linda was on Trumps team and there really is no comparison

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I don’t want to air too many of my political beliefs on here, but seldom does anyone who makes as much money as a McMahon or Khan in this country not support conservative economic policy no matter the social repercussions. Companies are companies.

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Also I acknowledge Tony is not Shad so another big difference

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Bullshit. You’re desperately trying to justify your hypocrisy.

Agreed, but from what I have read Shahid is the actually owner of the company, he just lets his son run it. I get the impression is similar to the Dickie Carter/TNA situation.

Good to hear from you again. Same shit, different thread.

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As someone who hasn’t actively consumed the WWE product in years, let me just point out that you won’t miss it. John and Wai are way more entertaining than Raw and Smackdown. And they have better long term booking!
But, yeah, people should be taking a more active role in politics and where they spend their money. I applaud your decision

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