Just in the past year, WWE has furloughed and laid off talent and employees during a pandemic in order to ensure record profits. They’re instituted an increased level of control over how their independent contractors can make money and market themselves outside of pro wrestling. And, of course, they’ve made numerous unpopular creative decisions - notably one this Monday that’s been panned by people in and out of the business.
So you can probably guess what our reaction was to this quote from The Miz, offered to a Sportsbar Radio’s Rob Fai when he asked Miz for something people don’t know about WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon:
“Sometimes I don’t think the audience may know how much Vince McMahon cares. Not just about the talent, not just about the shows, but about every employee that is under the WWE wing. Anyone that is watching, he cares about the fans. I don’t think anyone understands how much he cares and how much work he does to make sure the audience goes home with exactly what they want, that the Superstars have a great healthy life, that his employees are happy. I mean, he really goes in-depth and surrounds himself with very talented people as well, to make sure that his vision gets across.”
That this comes from Miz isn’t at all suprising. Outside of maybe John Cena, he’s the company’s most prominent company man. And, look, Miz - and Vince - probably believe this is true.
To the extent that it is true, however, it means McMahon has some pretty serious blinders on. There’s mountains of evidence that his approach to things doesn’t leave his employees happy, or healthy. Fans have gone home unhappy often enough that fewer and fewer watch it on television every week.
Accepting that might lead to some positive changes for employees and fans. But as long as there are enough people contributing to legend of Vince as a tireless paternal figure, he won’t have to.
And viewers and wrestlers will keep getting what we get.