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Quick personal thoughts on the Charlotte/Paige death exploitation angle on Raw

It was a bad idea full stop.

True friends wouldn't exploit your son's death for profit, Ric.
True friends wouldn't exploit your son's death for profit, Ric.
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

  1. The juxtaposition of Monday Night Raw opening with a moment of silent reflection for the victims of the recent Paris terrorist attacks and ending with exploiting the tragic death of the brother of WWE Divas Champion Charlotte to further her feud with Paige was as stark as it gets. Cynics would suggest the latter exposed the former to be another act of exploitation, a shameless PR move for corporate brownie points rather than a genuine expression of grief for those affected by the tragedy.
  2. It's worth emphasising the circumstances behind Reid Flair's death: his father Ric found him dead in his hotel room from an accidental heroin overdose. It was a devastating blow that I don't think Ric will ever fully recover from. It affected Ric so badly that was likely the root cause behind him needing to go to rehab just six months later in an under-reported news story at the time. The McMahon family knew this full well, but still went ahead with the angle. From her outspoken reaction to the storyline, it clearly blindsided Charlotte/Reid's mother Beth. According to Mike Johnson of, even Ric himself wasn't directly consulted by WWE over the decision.
  3. There are conflicting reports over who pitched the angle (Brandon Stroud of UPROXX claims that Charlotte who initially brought up the idea of using Reid in her promo, while Johnson refutes that, saying that WWE creative came to her with the storyline, but gave her the chance to turn it down or revise the script). It really doesn't matter, it still shouldn't have been done, especially as Paige bashing Ric was personal enough without crossing the line into bad taste and insensitivity.
  4. If these sort of angles had a track record of drawing money in modern day pro wrestling history, then it might be understandable, if not morally defensible. But they don't. From Sergeant Slaughter being an Iraqi sympathiser while American troops died in Kuwait; to The Undertaker being garotted by Muhammad Hassan's masked thugs (and still running the tape on the day of a real-life terrorist attack in London); to Randy Orton telling Rey Mysterio that Eddie Guerrero was in hell; to CM Punk dumping Paul Bearer's ashes on The Undertaker, there's no evidence that controversy created any cash. In fact, the first three examples either damaged the company through bad publicity or hurt the popularity of the babyfaces involved, without any positive effect on business. Even in the good old days, death exploitation eventually wore thin, as any scholar of the history of Dallas wrestling would know.
  5. Given WWE's fascination with Ronda Rousey, I wouldn't be surprised if they found inspiration for yesterday's main event segment from Bethe Correia's tasteless jibe in late May that she hoped Ronda wouldn't commit suicide after their fight together (a cheap shot as Ronda's father committed suicide when she was eight). If so, then that showed a fundamental booking misunderstanding that the rules for MMA and pro wrestling promotion aren't the same in this case. In a scripted pseudo-sport, the heat doesn't go to the performer, but the promotion for the words they put in the performer's mouth.

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