WWE has earned plenty of accolades for their online success, and picked up some trophies from inside-the-industry bodies. But they haven’t been cracked the big, mainstream TV awards code. Probably because they believe it to be a key component of shedding their carnival roots and being accepted as an entertainment company, they continue to chase it, though. It’s Vince McMahon’s white whale.
They held an entire event to try and get an Emmy nomination. That didn’t work, but they did land a couple MTV Movie & TV Award nods. Neither Becky Lynch or Roman Reigns left that ceremony with a trophy.
However, one Superstar is guaranteed to be handed an award at the 2019 ESPYs in Los Angeles. Because WWE has secured themselves an entire category from the Disney-owned sports network:
For the first time ever at this year’s @ESPYS, #WWE will have its own category when the award for Best WWE Moment of the year is handed out! See the nominees & VOTE, here: https://t.co/dEpTRdu2JN pic.twitter.com/KIjmGl6R8l— WWE (@WWE) June 19, 2019
It’s interesting that ESPN, an entity WWE has had an on & off relationship with, is giving them this spotlight. None of Disney’s networks has broadcast rights to WWE product, but they’ve covered the company & the wrestling business consistently online & occasionally on TV. They were also reportedly in discussions for the Raw and SmackDown deals which eventually went to NBCUniversal and Fox, respectively. This is a small way to ensure Fox, which will add a WWE-focused studio show in the fall, isn’t seen as synonymous with pro wrestling.
It will also be interesting to see how the voting goes. Ronda Rousey is going to be the most recognizable name for the average sports fan, and may get votes from the type of fan who gets upset when an outlet like ESPN covers “fake” wrestling like a “real” sport. It’s Ronda’s image next to the category on the voting page, and as someone who’s run a few (much smaller) online polls in his day, believe me that can make a difference.
WWE stans will also likely flood the ESPYs site, but probably will split their votes between Reigns, Lynch and Kofi Kingston. Would the achievement of getting an award be lessened if it was handed to a woman who got famous outside of, and may never return to, WWE?
We’ll get answers when the ESPYs air on Weds., July 10 at 9PM eastern on ABC.