If you listen to sports talk radio or keep track of people who bad-mouth your favorite pastimes, you might know that former ESPN and current Fox Sports personality Colin Cowherd likes to mock pro wrestling and especially its fans. Like so:
Apparently there was some booger eaters convention tonight or something. WWE tweets everywhere. Enjoy the hot pockets kiddies.— Colin Cowherd (@ColinCowherd) April 8, 2013
The @iHeartRadio music awards are fantastic. Here's what's not. Hanging out w 90,000 sweaty booger eaters at Wrasslemania.— Colin Cowherd (@ColinCowherd) April 4, 2016
So it was somewhat surprising he tweeted this from the Feb. 27 WWE taping:
First ever Smackdown @WWE pic.twitter.com/MuMwJfhlVF— Colin Cowherd (@ColinCowherd) February 28, 2018
This got some people worked up - understandably, too, since going after fans for their hygienic/dietary habits is only part of Cowherd’s WWE critique. He also had hot takes after Eddie Guerrero and Ultimate Warrior died. While things like mentioning the possible role a history of steroid use could have played in their passing are valid issues, he went far enough that ESPN issued an apology for some of his statements following Eddie’s death.
But any listener of his show The Herd knows Cowherd is a worker who’s not afraid to play the heel, so it’s not a shock he may have been saying some of those things to get outrage ratings - or that he’d holster his jokes and takes for a photo op with a pair of athletes who happen to be attractive blonde women.
The really interesting thing about Cowherd’s visit to SmackDown at Los Angeles’ Staples Center was who went with him. According to Sports Illustrated’s media and tech guru Richard Deitsch:
In the front row last night at the WWE Smackdown show in L.A.: Fox Sports president Eric Shanks, Fox Sports talent producer Jacob Ullman and Fox Sports talker Colin Cowherd.— Richard Deitsch (@richarddeitsch) February 28, 2018
Fox and Fox Sports are said to not only be a real possibility to outbid NBCUniversal for broadcast rights to Raw and SmackDown during the contract negotiations WWE is currently in, but also as a potential outright buyer of Vince McMahon’s company if the Chairman decides he needs money for, say, an outside venture to start an American football league.
Sending a pair of executives and a high profile talent to a show that happened to be in the area doesn’t necessarily mean anything. But it’s hard to imagine that while Cowherd was backstage meeting sports entertainers, Shanks and Ullman didn’t talk a little business with WWE officials.
Fox is the current home of UFC, and the mixed martial arts promotion (owned by talent agency IMG-WME, which also represents WWE) is currently shopping their broadcast rights, as well.
It all makes for a very interesting behind-the-scenes scene, both in general, and last night in L.A.