Archive for November 4th, 2010

WWE Spokesman: ‘Fans Know When Politicians Are Just Dishing Out BS’

The Hearst Connecticut newspapers’ ever-enterprising Brian Lockhart listened in today on World Wrestling Entertainment’s quarterly conference call to discuss financials released earlier today. To Lockhart’s disappointment, WWE chairman and CEO Vince McMahon was not there as  advertised; the point person was chief operating officer Donna Goldsmith.

Lockhart said that last week he had asked WWE public relations guy Robert Zimmerman whether the Linda McMahon Senate campaign had had a negative impact on the company’s bottom line. Zimmerman emailed back:

“[T]he company does not exist in a singular bubble. I am not a economics major, but there are too many variables and factors that come into play.  Not sure what the numbers will be for the quarterly filing, but remember the campaign has been on for over a year now while the economy is still in the toilet – so if there is any one thing that is the cause of any negative #s, especially for a content/entertainment company, it is the economy, as past history has dictated. WWE fans know the brand and know when politicians are just dishing out BS about the company for political purposes. Hence why the ‘Stand Up For WWE’ campaign has been so overwhelmingly successful.  Our fans love the brand.”

See “Vince McMahon not in on WWE morning conference call,”

Just as I, like Lockhart, am curious about the interplay between the family business and the family bid for elective office, so am I curious about evidence that “Stand Up for WWE” has been “overwhelmingly successful.” But, drat, Zimmerman never returns my emails.


Irv Muchnick

Wrestling Journalist Caldwell: Blumenthal Off to ‘Less-Than-Flying Start’ on Regulation

James Caldwell of Pro Wrestling Torch disparages the remarks by Connecticut’s senator-elect, Richard Blumenthal, about pro wrestling regulation in his first post-election press conference. See “Will Linda McMahon’s Senate opponent pursue regulation of pro wrestling?”,

Caldwell is right in noting that loose comments about “steroids” show a limited understanding of the real range and cause of the industry’s occupational health and safety issues.

On the other hand, Blumenthal did acknowledge what is obvious but not always acknowledged: that wrestling reform is somewhere on his legislative agenda. And his remarks led the coverage of the press conference in the New London Day. That ain’t chicken feed.

To those annoyed by the shorthand “steroids,” I would also point out that the January 2009 letter by Congressman Henry Waxman (then chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform) to the director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy was sophisticated and thorough. The problem then was the lack of follow-through, including, especially, public hearings; the staff investigation itself and the questions to World Wrestling Entertainment officials in private interviews were excellent.

Overall, there is no disputing Caldwell’s conclusion that the proof will be in the pudding. I think Blumenthal’s words were a promising start, but given the history, Caldwell and others have every right to be skeptical.

Irv Muchnick

Substitute ‘Wrestlers’ for ‘NFL Players’ in This Story, and You’ll Get the Scale of the Problem

“For N.F.L. Players, Another Risk: Heart Disease”

by Harvey Araton, The New York Times

Irv’s Tweets

November 2010