Umaga Death Is Newest Doubletalk Challenge for Linda McMahon and WWE

Tolstoy said every unhappy family was unhappy in its own way, and so it is with the staggering hundreds of deaths in pro wrestling in recent years. Some involve current World Wrestling Entertainment performers. Some are wrestlers who moved on to other promotions, or retired, or never were under contract to WWE itself.

And some even have no logical connection to the culture of drugs and death created by current Connecticut U.S. Senate candidate Linda McMahon and her husband Vince, who control 95 or more percent of the American market and a majority globally. But that is not the case with Eddie “Umaga” Fatu, 36, who died in Houston last Friday from a heart attack.

A new report about Fatu in a British newspaper, buttressed by a leading wrestling industry newsletter writer, presents yet another novel scenario for WWE’s Orwellian-named  “wellness policy.” See “Umaga eyed WWE comeback.”

The Sun’s Simon Rothstein reports that Fatu, who had just returned from an independent wrestling tour of Australia with Hulk Hogan, was set to return to WWE. (The company’s website statement of condolence on Fatu’s death – with corporate butt-covering that would have been comical had it not been so disgusting – carefully noted that WWE had fired him in June. He had refused to go to drug rehab.)

Rothstein also quotes Bryan Alvarez of Figure Four Weekly with this inside info: “Fatu told people he was heading back to WWE as soon as the [Australian] tour was over. One WWE source said they expected him back by Royal Rumble, but he would have had to have passed all of his [drug] tests.”

In this post at least, I am not going to review all the bureaucratic curlicues of the wellness policy. For now, let’s just say that they paint the McMahons and WWE into yet another corner, legally and morally. WWE is always heavily lawyered enough to spew the necessary doubletalk to extricate itself in the former category.

The real lesson isn’t in any single wrestling death; we’re talking about the ant colony here, not the ant. Knowing that Linda and Vince McMahon will never be held accountable in a court of law, the question is whether the voters of Connecticut will hold her accountable in the court of public opinion.

Irv Muchnick


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