More Thoughts on Dawn Marie, Wrestlers Rescue, And the ‘Wrestling Media’

Wrestlers Recue is at best amateurish, at worst fraudulent. If only the first, then perhaps Dawn Marie at one point had her heart in the right place, and perhaps she does still.

Though Wrestlers Rescue is not the solution, neither is it the problem. (Incidentally, I’ve seen the organization’s title both with and without an apostrophe even on its own site; from now on, I plan to go consistently without.)

The problem is that pro wrestling, as a profession, is still organized feudally – even while pro wrestling, as an industry, has essentially concentrated in the hands of one company and one family, and become a huge global business. The McMahons are billionaires or close to it. Now Linda McMahon, who doesn’t come off like someone who would know an original idea if it clotheslined her, is spending $50 million to try to buy a U.S. Senate seat in Connecticut. This is money generated by the blood, sweat, tears, and  in many cases very lives of hundreds of others, performers both inside and outside World Wrestling Entertainment itself.

No matter how well-intentioned, Wrestlers Rescue is doomed because it is based on the indie model: set up a table at a convention of mostly has-beens and never-weres, sign some autographs, sell some T-shirts, and hope that a few of the pennies trickle to a few of the many people out there who have been broken by this system, or just naturally fell on hard times.

It doesn’t compute, people. The entity with the resources to begin to make things significantly better, if not right, is WWE. The way to hold WWE and the McMahons to account is to speak the truth about what their naked ambition has wrought and what they need to do to fix it.

That brings me to the “wrestling media.” Where have all the full-time wrestling journalists been on this story? Not just the rise and fall of Wrestlers Rescue, but also the scrutiny of WWE policies and practices? I don’t mean by this florid columns wringing your hands or showing off how smart or cynical you are, how you see through PR and also see that nothing can be done about it. I mean investigation and analysis that are persistent, clearly communicative, and at times inconvenient.

From where I sit, I’ll tell you where wrestling journalists seem to have been. They put more energy into climbing over each other to be the first, by five minutes, to post “spoilers” of prerecorded Raws and SmackDowns than they do into educating their readers on the McMahon family’s push for temporal power – and how, by adding real value to public discussion, fans can play a constructive role in reforming the industry’s appalling occupational health and safety standards.

They have been profiles in caution. Here’s hoping one or two will discover the spine to do something  more than just report the next spinebuster.

Irv Muchnick

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