There were a few reasons wrestling fans objected to Billy Corgan’s decision to crown Tyrus the new NWA Worlds Heavyweight champion at the end of Nov. 12’s Hard Times 3 PPV.
For one thing, he’s not a wrestler many enjoy watching. If more people did, a promotion bigger than Pennsylvania Premiere Wrestling (no offense to PPW) would have strapped the wrestler formerly known as Brodus Clay before now. For people like Nick Aldis who hold the “Ten Pounds of Gold” in high esteem, putting the iconic belt on Tyrus is an insult to Lou Thesz, Harley Race, Dusty Rhodes and the other men who carried it when the National Wrestling Association was one of the biggest names in the business.
For another, Tyrus’ other job is as a contributor to Fox News. His work there and in his New York Times’ bestselling autobiography Just Tyrus: A Memoir means his politics are well known. Outside of the occasional “button pushing” gimmick, promotions and wrestlers typically avoid being too open about their personal political leanings, as it’s an easy way to alienate up to half your audience.
Making Corgan’s decision even more controversial is the fact Tyrus (real name George Murdoch) was accused of sexual harassment in the course of his work at Fox — allegations he denies, that the network says they investigated then chose not to act on, but did opt to settle a lawsuit filed by his accuser.
Some might choose to address the criticism, or even spin it. Tyrus is leaning into it, as evidenced by this tweet:
I know what da woke haters trolls cheer for. their boos and hate builds my self esteem! Gives me focus! makes me strong! I’ll keep winning y’all keep watching the New York Times bestselling author #1 late night show and New @nwa world heavyweight champion #tyrussmash #nuffsaid pic.twitter.com/0Xp47glmL7— Tyrus (@PlanetTyrus) November 14, 2022
Will fans of Tyrus’ work in the conservative media flock to the NWA now? Or, like Nick Aldis and “da woke hater trolls” energizing the new champ believe, will it be another nail in the coffin of Corgan’s company?