In her brief interview with Chicago Now earlier this week, WWE owner and executive Stephanie McMahon dropped in a few tantalizing conversation points.
Geno yesterday highlighted the notion of the company bringing their flagship event, WrestleMania, back to the Windy City. But it was something else, an answer Steph gave in response to a question about her transitioning into Vince McMahon's role as the top heel on WWE television, that piqued my interest:
I wouldn't say I am taking over for my Dad. My husband and I are involved in a fun storyline where we represent the "evil owners". Playing the bad guy is so much fun for me and I'm not sure why. But it's very impactful when I do the community service such as the anti-bully campaign. I have the opportunity to tell these kids about entertainment versus reality. Are whole goal is to give these kids tools to stand up to bullying.
It's funny when I get to show footage during a speaking engagement such as Hijack Raw that happened in Chicago. I will often to show footage that features my character in villainous light and people laugh. The speech I'm giving is in my executive voice and me as a person. Seeing me in character is a complete opposite take of who I am outside of the ring. It's fun and enjoyable and at the end of the day that's what it's all about.
She deftly turns to the question into a discussion of the company's public service efforts like Be a S.T.A.R., which is what you'd expect from both WWE's Chief Brand Officer and a person who cares deeply about the causes that her company works on behalf of (the interview kicks off with and was presumably set-up as a discussion about their partnership with the Susan G. Kommen Foundation).
And it's great to see the company use their storylines as "teachable moments". The interviewer doesn't ask about it, but this all makes me wonder, what if one of the children at these rallys asked her about John Cena dumping poop on Dolph Ziggler, or calling Eve a "hoe"? Or wondered if it was okay for Ziggler to steal The Miz's pictures and show them to the world while laughing at him?
Yes, it's professional wrestling. And, yes, those characters are heels who are "getting their's" for past bad behavior. But I would be fascinated to hear how the powers-that-be would answer that question - especially if it came from a younger fan.
Is WWE, the entertainment company, just there to serve as the "bad example" for WWE, the corporate citizen?