According to the Bleacher Report, the WWE was upset when an article appeared on a TV industry web site, TVweek.com, with a headline that Drew Carey had been inducted into the WWE wrestling Hall of Fame (I can’t link to it, because it’s been taken down… see below).
The reason the publicist was upset was because the article implied that the WWE was a wrestling company, of all things. That sounds like grounds for libel.
We are no longer a wrestling company but rather a global entertainment company with a movie studio, international licensing deals, publisher of three magazines, consumer good distributor and more.
Let’s see… You have a movie studio. They make some B-grade action movies, some direct to video, starring one of your
wrestlers Superstars. Your international licensing deals are for wrestling merchandise (and maybe some of these crappy movies). Your three magazines are about wrestling. Your consumer goods are wrestling merchandise. You add that all up and it makes you “no longer a wrestling company”?
And in a later phone conversation from WWE PR:
TVWeek: Your release says that [Drew] Carey is being recognized as being an entrant in the 2001 Royal Rumble. I believe that was a wrestling event.
WWE PR: No, we don’t do wrestling events. They’re entertainments. And we don’t call them wrestlers. They’re Superstars and Divas.
TVWeek: I really don’t have time for this. WWE presents wrestling events. I’m not going to change the headline or anything in the item. If you’d like, I’ll just remove it.
WWE PR: Huh? What?
TVWeek: I don’t have time for this. What do you want me to do?
WWE PR: Remove it.
I can imagine this conversation happening:
Joe: “Hey Bill, do you want to watch the ‘entertainments’?”
Bill: “The what?!?”
Joe: “The entertainments. The Superstars and Divas.”
Bill: “What are they doing?”
Joe: “They’re… entertaining. They are in an arena, and there is a square ring with 3 sets of ropes”
Bill: “Is it boxing?”
Joe: “No. They’re not boxing. There are punches, but it’s not boxing. They are grabbing each other too, and throwing each other around.”
Bill: “Mixed martial arts? Like UFC?”
Joe: “No, it’s not that. It’s… kind of hard to explain.”
Bill: “Would I know anyone that does it?”
Joe: “John Cena, Randy Orton, CM Punk. Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock used to do it.”
Bill: “Oh, pro wrestling. Why didn’t you just say so?”
Joe: “NO! IT’S NOT PRO WRESTLING! It’s entertainments!”
Bill: “This is just stupid.”
Joe: “You’re right, this is stupid”
Bill: “Let’s just watch The Price is Right.”
Joe: “Ok…. Hey, that Drew Carey guy just got… Nevermind.”
I don’t know what kind of readership TVWeek gets, but the WWE would rather have no publicity than have someone imply that they are a wrestling company. They still have championship belts, right? Maybe they will start calling them “awards” in a year or two. Maybe you just get a Slammy if you beat the champion.
I think I’m going to start referring to the WWE as “The Company Formerly Known as World Wrestling Entertainment” (TCFKAWWE). Or maybe just as ξ.