Kevin Nash was right. No, not about what you’re thinking, but then again, he’s right about a lot of things, so maybe we’re on the same page. Anyway, many moons ago the once and future Big Daddy Cool said the only thing real about this business is the money and the miles.
It’s a lesson fans—and wrestlers—learned again when Mickie James got a trash bag for all her years of service. If that wasn’t enough, the universe called for reinforcements in the tragic saga of Drake Wuertz.
On first glance, these two incidents have nothing in common. But if one squints and look at the right angle, the connective tissue is the facade of wrestling as a “family.”
Wrestling companies, well, mostly WWE, put out puff pieces touting familial bonds those running the company have with those who work for the company. With legends like Ric Flair, The Rock, Steve Austin, and one noted racist, that love looks genuine. But taking that at face value ignores the fact guys like Austin and Rock are still good for WWE’s bottom line.
Rocky is the biggest movie star in the world and Austin is a legitimate pop culture icon who does Tide commercials with Ice-T and provides content to WWE Network. These cats are safe. There’s no fear of them going to another company to make someone else’s pockets fatter than Scrooge McDuck’s. So yeah, why not keep them happy?
Then there’s someone like Mickie James. Mickie is dope and should go into their Hall of Fame. She did her thing and did it well during a time when WWE’s version of women’s wrestling was glorified T & A exhibitions. To say nothing of the fact she probably inspired more than half of the women on WWE’s roster.
That said, the company clearly doesn’t see the same value in her they do with one of their other legends. That she got a trash bag at her door not once but twice during her time with WWE says a lot. And it says it pretty emphatically. The fact we as fans clutched our collective pearls is telling. Consciously or subconsciously. We either truly believe wrestling’s Sister Sledge fantasy or want to believe it.
But a true family looks out for each other. Whether it’s common decency or protecting someone from themselves, a good family is dependable. This isn’t to rationalize or even apologize for Drake Wuertz’s beliefs. But as my boy Sean acknowledged, recovering addicts can easily exchange one addiction for another. Wuertz pledging his allegiance to far-right beliefs because he’s looking for that next high isn’t a unique story.
He isn’t the first to tumble down that rabbit hole and sadly, he won’t be the last. With that in mind, WWE is not treating Wuertz the same way they would treat someone suffering from an alcohol addiction is a problem. No matter what you believe or who you pray to, none of that should affect your day-to-day at your job. The second it does, we’re no longer dealing with normal behavior. In this regard, a suspension is tantamount to an expensive slap on the wrist.
Telling the man he can’t step foot into the Capital Wrestling Center elicits a shrug. Wuertz believes he’s fighting for something bigger than WWE, so he’ll take those “punishments” with pride and charge it to the cause. But it wouldn’t be WWE if the scuttlebutt didn’t say his convictions are probably keeping him employed.
Rather than acknowledge a problem as such, the publicly traded company wants to have all of the cake and leave nothing for anyone else. For all we know, they’re admonishing the man by keeping him off camera while winking and high-fiving him behind closed doors.
Sure, one could think they don’t want to fire him because it would look bad letting someone go for their politics. Normally, one would probably be right. The problem with that logic is this is the same company giving valuable TV time to Jaxson Ryker every week, while his Forgotten Sons brethren are, well, you know.
Drake needs help; the kind that can only come from people who love him and respect him. Ya know, an actual family.
Micke dropped another gem during her WWE debriefing regarding how some in the company truly feel about women’s wrestling. Upon hearing they’re not too fond of it because they don’t believe it puts butts in seats—not even virtual ones—Mickie realized, once again, WWE is a business first, second, and last. Even the positive things they do have to make dollars to make sense for Vince and crew to even entertain.
Despite how many phone calls she gets from Vince McMahon or Stephanie McMahon offering a show of support, it’s just that: a show. And just like everything else we love about this particular show, it’s scripted within an inch of its life.
What say you, cagesiders?