Archive for December 20th, 2009

‘Linda McMahon: Can She Shake the WWE Image?’

The headline over this post is the headline over the other major Linda McMahon story in today’s Connecticut newspapers: a long reflection on her  U.S. Senate candidacy in the Connecticut Post, the Stamford Advocate, and others.

Reporter Neil Vigdor (who, admirably, earlier did the most aggressive examination of the implications for McMahon of the death of WWE wrestler Eddie “Umaga” Fatu) does not undertake the more comprehensive biography found in the Hartford Courant. It’s more of a rat-a-tat against the values of WWE television content, with the quotes of state Democratic party chair Nancy DiNardo and the controversy over the disappearance from YouTube of clips of racy skits at the forefront.

The link is http://www.connpost.com/ci_14037699.

Irv Muchnick

Linda McMahon Profile in Hartford Courant

The Sunday Hartford Courant has a lengthy profile of Linda McMahon, which is viewable at http://www.courant.com/news/nation-world/hc-linda-mcmahon-1220.artdec20,0,4608486,full.story.

(The Stamford Advocate also has a McMahon piece scheduled for today, and I will post the link when I see it.)

The Courant‘s Daniela Altimari has done a superb job of introducing this political newcomer to readers who know Linda McMahon only as the wife of her more flamboyant and public husband, Vince McMahon, with whom she founded World Wrestling Entertainment. Without rubbing it in or disrespecting their accomplishments, the story makes the unassailable point that the McMahons are a package deal, and also that WWE’s record inevitably will color Linda’s campaign.

Of course, I’ll have a lot more to say about aspects of McMahon and WWE history that this article only lightly covers, or doesn’t cover at all. (For that matter, I suspect this is not the Courant‘s last word, either.)

The political and clinical open question on the McMahon candidacy is whether it will prove to be a bridge too far for the WWE brand. The McMahons have rather brilliantly, if diabolically, built a global business and entertainment empire. They have also shown a tendency to stumble spectacularly with brand extensions that were outside, though often in close proximity, to their core expertise. The failed World Bodybuilding Federation was one example. The disastrous XFL football league was a second.

But, hey, the XFL only resulted in a $100 million loss. Linda McMahon’s $50 million investment in trying to become a United States senator is only half that. Whether that’s for good or ill, I don’t doubt that she’s playing for keeps or that the people of Connecticut will have the real last word.

Irv Muchnick


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