Taking the company's anti-bullying "Be a Star" campaign into account, many on-air scenes and storylines for their young fans come across as hypocritical.
According to BeAStarAlliance.org, the mission is to:
Ensure a positive and equitable social environment for everyone regardless of age, race, religion or sexual orientation through grassroots efforts beginning with education and awareness.
The campaign's pledge requires participants to stand up for those being bullied and contact the appropriate help when needed.
At the end of the day, you have to applaud the WWE for taking action. After all, their product will inevitably tempt a select few into putting smaller peers into wrestling maneuvers. Administering public outreach and education makes sense.
But for every CM Punk—every "voice of the voiceless"—there is a John Laurinaitis.
Here are a few cases of on-screen bullying that tend to counter the organization's goals.
Hornswoggle appeared on a recent edition of Raw dressed as Jim Ross.
The act itself might have been light-hearted and funny, but the meaning behind it was wrong.
Still, had it ended there, it would have been fine.
Instead, Vince McMahon himself—owner and president of the WWE—decided to poke fun at Ross by mocking his mannerisms, accent and dress attire for the second time in three weeks.
There was no need.
Sakamoto—friend and valet to Tensai—provided nothing more than company and support to Tensai during his matches.
Yet, when Tensai lost unexpectedly and things began to slip away, Tensai attacked his confidant.
The story hardly makes sense.
It's literally just a bigger guy picking on a smaller guy who thought they were friends. The smaller man keeps coming back to the friendship and accepts the bullying.
In the business of wrestling, there's no getting around pitting good against evil. It's the nature of any story.
Hence, the campaign is so important to tell kids it's fake.
However, rather than keeping a simple heel vs. face angle, the WWE creative decided to take it a step further.
Chris Jericho—feuding with CM Punk—attacked his family. Specifically, Jericho pointed out Punk's father's (kayfabe) battle with alcoholism and his sister's (storyline) drug use.
It was a low blow.
John Laurinaitis symbolized the bully.
As the acting general manager and vice president of talent relations, he had more power than the locker room. Worse, he used that power unfairly.
He put heroes into handicap matches. He put titles on the line frequently, even if guys were already banged up.
Laurinaitis especially picked on Teddy Long, forcing him into ridiculous outfits.
He even used enforcers such as Tensai and The Big Show to do his dirty work and beat down others.
All in the name of "People Power."
John Cena's sham of a main event at Over the Limit could be construed as payback for months of John Laurinaitis' bullying of the rest of the roster.
But think about it.
Cena spent the majority of the match giving Laurinaitis noogies and wedgies, pouring water on him and making a mockery of a lesser, weaker opponent.
That is bullying at its finest.
Laurinaitis was once upon a time a wrestler. Michael Cole—who Cena turned his aggression to later—is a lowly announcer.
Yet, Cena was allowed to strip him down to his underwear and smear him in barbecue sauce.
"Pick on someone your own size" definitely applied.