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The EXCELLENCE IN COLUMN WRITING and Retirement Home services is back for another column exclusively here at LordsofPain.net. I had no intentions of writing another column this week BUT the WWE‘s flight situation following their “Crown Jewel” Pay Per View event has brought me back for one more column. Why? Because I don’t see any commentary speaking about the WRESTLERS affected by this and what they could do moving forward to challenge their roles and existing contracts in the WWE.
At minimum, the reporting that we’re seeing by Dave Meltzer, Sean Ross Sapp, and Brad Shepard, legit journalism on their part (kudos to them), is that the flight troubles of some odd 175-200 WWE talent, staff, production crew, etc. were NOT mechanical but possibly over money owed to the WWE. We could get deep into WHY that money is still owed, as there are several political reports regarding that. But I don’t need to get deep into that. Keeping it simple as a monetary issue is easy because Vince McMahon is responsible for that as President/CEO + Board Chairman of the WWE Corporation.
Now, that story is still brewing and there are a lot of WWE Corporate forces trying to push the “mechanical issues” story of out fear of losing the big money deal with the country in question. Both WWE and the Chartered Plane company are both spinning it as “mechanical issues”. The stories set to wrestling reporters + initial Tweets by WWE performers themselves suggest otherwise.
Even if it’s just “mechanical issues”, here is a fact that CANNOT be disputed: Vince McMahon and other key WWE management + top stars LEFT EARLY.
In other words, Vince McMahon, Kevin Dunn, supporting management reports to them, Brock Lesnar, Hulk Hogan, and Ric Flair were all able to get on a successful flight out of that country to safely return to the United States without hassle.
The rest of the WWE wrestlers and crew, however, were boarding different flights to get home at a later time and endured delays.
Thus, as Vince McMahon is in the air, the business and political issues caused by his potential dealings were hitting the fan. The WWE wrestlers and crew left behind had to DEAL with the ramifications of HIS choices. If money was still owed, couldn’t you have just waited to everyone home safely before raising it with this country’s government or entertainment entities? Are you kidding me?
If I were ANY wrestlers out there who were upset at the way WWE has been using them or regarding their existing contracts… NOW IS THE TIME TO STRIKE!
The Revival… Don’t like how you are being used in the WWE? Well, start flapping the gums about this international incident. OR, start threatening that you want to… DEMAND a release from your contracts or you’ll speak up. Also, demand UNSAFE work practices and raise holy hell with the United States Labor Department. WWE’s Independent Contractor stuff exempts them from Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) standards… However, that can change if you become vocal. WWE cannot stop what you post on Social Media, nor can they stop you from leaking information to a second party.
Don’t believe me? Just look at the WWE flight reporting. Meltzer, Sapp, and Shepard aren’t making things up. They have wrestlers and staff at the airport sending them reports as things happen. How do you think that the Wrestling Observer gets published each week? Wrestlers and staff are leaking things to Meltzer and Bryan Alvarez along with other news sites. Any WWE wrestler or staff upset about the flight situation should leak or threaten to leak away!
Just look at how many Creative Team/Production Team stuff gets leaked… There is an entire Internet full of wrestling sites that are STARVING for information. Leak away! If you don’t like the injustices that just happened to you overseas, then break the dam and flood the internet with information.
Vince McMahon and the WWE Corporation have a reputation to uphold and that reputation is tied to their Stock Price. Bad news will tank that Stock Price, just as it did a few years ago when the WWE’s 3rd Quarter 2019 report showed that revenues were down versus 1 year prior. Now, that could be due to late international event fees going unpaid, but my point is that bad news that obliterate your stock price if your business is dependent on reputation. Look at what happened with Chris Benoit over 10 years ago and the effect it caused on the price then. During last year when there were questions going overseas following the death of a reporter, there were questions when whether the WWE deal with that country would be sustained and that hurt the stock price at the time.
WWE wrestlers, right now, have LEVERAGE against Vince McMahon if all of these news stories about being purposely held up are true. And if the wrestlers were legitimately held up due to a business dispute, that was a government choice to do so. That puts each and every one of those 175-200 left behind in danger, if true. If the WWE is still pushing the “mechanical issues” spin, then wrestlers should threaten to speak out on the contrary.
Revival, Sasha Banks, and Luke Harper… Each of you were upset at your recent roles with the company and some of you have asked for your releases… Opportunity knocks! Unsafe working environment, corporate reputation to uphold, and your own lives were at stake.
And people called Jesse “the Body” Ventura “crazy” for suggesting that Pro Wrestlers unionize…
Could you imagine if the entire WWE roster just walked out of the company and went on strike due to what Vince McMahon just did? Right before a RAW, Smackdown, or Pay Per View?
I certainly understand that Vince McMahon is the CEO/President and Board Chairman of the WWE. He’s the #1 executive of that company and he should be on a private flight. Vince McMahon built that company and continues to make the key decisions for that company. From a continuity standpoint, WWE could take a big hit without him… But they could have taken a bigger hit by keeping their wrestlers and staff in another country for a longer period of time. Or if something worse could have happened…
The FACT is that Vince’s reported actions hit the fan AFTER he personally left the country and BEFORE the wrestlers/staff could leave the country. THAT’S THE PROBLEM.
The same kind of issue just hit the NBA recently. While several NBA Teams were actually in the country of China to play preseason games, the Houston Rockets General Manager made a Tweet supporting Hong Kong and their protests against China. Many got on Lebron James for his retort towards Daryl Morey’s comments, but Lebron was PISSED because he was in China when Morey made that Tweet. That put him and his fellow Los Angeles Lakers in a political situation that none of them asked for. Lebron and others simply argued that Morey should have at least waited until the NBA players made it safely home…
Here are all of the wrestlers from the WWE Crown Jewel show, with Brock, Hogan, and Flair being reportedly on earlier flights and not affected by the extensive delays (I’m assuming Cain and Tyson as well). These wrestlers have potential leverage and should attempt to use it to their maximum ability ESPECIALLY if they can secure a big deal with All Elite Wrestling (AEW):
No Way Jose
Viking Raiders (Erik & Ivar)
Big E Langston
Heavy Machinery (Otis & Tucker)
The Fiend/Bray Wyatt
And if I were All Elite Wrestling (AEW), I’d amplify what just happened… Make jokes about it on commentary or let someone like Chris Jericho allude to it in his promos. Make a complete mockery of the WWE for Vince McMahon‘s reported actions of causing his wrestlers and staff to be stranded in another country.
And if I were any Smackdown roster wrestlers, I’d be PISSED as well. NXT wrestlers took your spots on Friday night and not only were they prominently featured, but they actually won matches and were featured in a potentially money drawing angle. And then the viewership number arrives and it’s 2.5 million, ahead of the 2.4 million that Smackdown drew with the FULL Smackdown roster available on FOX. Ouch, ouch, ouch… That puts jobs at stake for many main roster WWE talents.
WWE wrestlers should be fuming. Even if it’s just “mechanical problems” as the WWE Corporation is trying to advertise, why wasn’t there a back-up plane to use? Why did wrestlers who tried to board other airplanes also have delays getting home? Why did WWE’s management put their own talent and staff in a situation at another country?
If the reports are true about money getting held up and Vince McMahon‘s response triggered something, then the wrestlers and staff were third parties affected in this deal. They are the ones who put faith in the WWE Corporation to protect them as they travel overseas. It’s a 14 hour flight into a country with different customs, languages, laws, and money. It’s also a country that has made national headlines for various things that might not make it a valued travel destination.
Think of it this way… WWE is attempting to do business with a country who is trying to change their ways, for the better. BUT, you cannot undo CENTURIES of culture in just a few years. It took 3 years for them to finally accept a Women’s WWE match but look at what Lacey Evans and Natalya had to wear. No skin below the neck was allowed to be shown… That was a compromise to allow the match, but the fact remains that Women weren’t allowed to be on prior Greatest Royal Rumble, Supershow, or Crown Jewel shows in that country.
I wonder if the WWE’s own “rubbing in in” about the first ever Women’s wrestling match there caused a ruffling of the feathers? Lacey/Natalya celebrated as if both accomplished something (they did, though) and Michael Cole was heavily praising what happened on commentary. Then, Smackdown praised the accomplishment heavily too along with WWE’s own social media.
Think of it this way in the United States: RACE RELATIONS. Even though the United States of America has passed many laws and Constitutional Amendments, racism still exists. That is despite Slavery ending more than 150 years ago and Jim Crow laws ending more than 50 years ago. Yet, there remains a part of our culture who can’t let go… There are still people dressing in sheets, claiming to be the ghosts of the Confederate Army to this very day! If you click into any political discussion these days, just tons of heated discussions with people who are unafraid of displaying their opinions. It’s likely going to take several more decades of Jim Crow era generations passing + more leadership opportunities for various races to fully rid extreme racism from our system.
WWE is trying to work with a country that is trying to undo Centuries of prior cultural practices, both religious and business. It is bound to create differences with a group of people within their country who cannot let go of the past and don’t want Western culture invading theirs. It’s going to take time…
WWE might be rushing into things too fast for the almightly dollar. At stake, and this is why the WWE is spinning the issues as “mechanical problems”, is $20 million to $30 million PER EVENT. They promised investors of WWE stock that this was a 10 year deal and that those revenues would be part of their financials.
Regardless of your business, TAKE CARE OF YOUR TALENT. They are the ones bumping in the ring 4-5 nights a week and have to maintain their physical appearance. They will be the ones in their 40s, 50s, and 60s (if they survive that long) that will be in physical pain because of working for the WWE. The LEAST you can do is make sure that your wrestlers travel safely and aren’t placed into harm’s way. Vince McMahon at least owes them that… I know that he isn’t paying for health insurance or payroll taxes, but you aren’t the WWE unless you have wrestlers performing nightly.
Scary part is that NXT‘s wrestlers pulling in 2.5 million viewers, ahead the 2.4 million viewers from 2 weeks ago, will convince Vince McMahon that talent now means LESS to him than before. It is the WWE brand, not the talent, that draws. And the NXT wrestlers are cheaper, too, with much lower salaries than WWE full time roster performers.
But that gives another opportunity for any wrestlers who want to depart the WWE. If NXT wrestlers can draw a better number than WWE main roster guys, why keep me locked into this contract? If I can’t draw in the WWE, how can I draw in AEW?
Point being, Vince McMahon just left his own talent stranded in another country after he left the country earlier himself. WWE wrestlers should be PISSED at that alone along with the WWE Corporation trying to spin it as “mechanical problems”. Furthermore, it continues to trend of the WWE going out of their way to take care of Brock Lesnar and others who were able to leave early. Brock Lesnar’s match was actually on earlier so that he could leave the arena and get home ASAP, per his request. Granted, this action allowed him to actually appear on WWE Smackdown, but the fact remains is that he was home early and the other WWE performers were not.
If it is fully proven that Vince McMahon‘s debate with that country over money or business dealings caused the hold-up of the flights of WWE talents and staff, then all hell should break loose backstage. Wrestlers should raise all kinds of hell and threaten to go public about what just happened. For the Revival and Luke Harper who wanted out of their deals, this is your moment to GET OUT (seems like Sasha and WWE are on good terms now).
If the WWE’s spin of “mechanical issues” is just to salvage their $20 million to $30 million per event deal with that country, wrestlers should raise complete hell about going there again. THINGS NEED TO CHANGE/IMPROVE if wrestlers were to perform on future shows there. Safety, travel plans, and a bigger paycheck needs to be ensured to perform there again. You’re starting to see why Daniel Bryan keeps refusing to do shows over there. If the WWE cannot create good business relations with that country and ensure the safety of their own performers, I’d refuse too. You can’t spend a big paycheck if you’re struggling to get home to spend it.
Go get ’em, WWE wrestlers. Use this opportunity to put pressure and leverage on Vince McMahon to GET OUT if you really want to leave the WWE.
Otherwise, start to reconsider your rights as an Independent Contractor.
So just chill… Until the next episode!
Play my Pro Wrestling themed Mario Maker 2 courses on the Nintendo Switch:
Super Wrestling Bros: 0H6-9HT-S5G
WWE Royal Rumble: SDH-JC2-HFG
WWE Elimination Chamber: P3B-5DJ-91G
WCW World War 3: BT4-W1Y-HRG
Extreme Championship Wrestling: 42J-4GT-W3G
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