There was a time in the late 1980s where Hulk Hogan could have run for President. Worrying thing, in retrospection, is that he could have won. His popularity was huge, he was red, white and blue, he was an American hero. Overlook what he did next, but for a period, he was a phenomenon.
It seems strange that as a lifelong wrestling fan, I would wish the McMahons to lose. I am not a Connecticut voter and have no interest in this election other than the WWE involvement. However, I can't help but feel that a McMahon victory in November is a vindication of many of the WWE controversies.
A McMahon victory seems to suggest that steroids do not play a part in the deaths of wrestlers.
We've have had this debate before, I know, but let's ignore the McMahon spin which tends to sound like Big Tobacco's response.
It is fundamentally clear that steroids are not good for the human body. People who take them medically are restricted in their use because of the side effects they can have. Some of those who died may have had other medical conditions, but to ignore the part that steroids played is criminal.
McMahon claiming they can't be certain is a cop out, and her victory in November would suggest that she's right.
There is also a creative angle to be examined. A McMahon victory tends to support WWE's creative positions. And here comes the irony that her triumph would support both the PG-era and the excesses of the Attitude Era. There are serious issues with creative writing in wrestling today, especially in the WWE.
If Linda is going to put herself forward as a figurehead of the business, then she also needs to realize that she has to take the blame of some of what has happened. The problems of the Attitude Era are well known, with some of the story lines (and we all know them) bordering on the bizarre and disgusting. The Attitude Era had a lot of good aspects of course, but at times, it was excessive.
Linda must explain how these constitute entertainment, and in some cases she will struggle.
The much-publicized PG-era, which the adverts have espoused recently, fail to recognize that this kind of wrestling is actually not popular with fans. I have argued elsewhere that PG does not necessarily mean bad TV, but in WWE, it tends to be that way.
Unfunny promos, weak finishes, copycat wrestlers and mild action all present the current product as a shadow of its former self. Ratings and buy-ins reflect that people are turning off. If Linda is a major figure in WWE, can she therefore explain why ratings are so low?
Jerry Springer on RAW? Is that even PG? Enough said, though, on this one.
I could easily write another article espousing the many great things that wrestling has provided for me and thousands of fans. There is no greater thing than watching wrestling live; it's up there with any other sport. And yet behind the magic, there are serious issues need addressing.
At times the McMahons have shown great arrogance in their actions and words. They are trying to buy a Senate seat. The WWE has been put on trial and because of it, it has become watered down and sold out with endless endorsements from "guest hosts."
It has made for some pretty poor TV in recent months. I wonder if Batista would vote for Linda?
All in all, this election before it has even addressed the issues of the economy and education has already brought much attention to the WWE product. And for fans it's also allowed some personal reflection. "Stand Up for WWE"—why would we need to, if WrestleMania 25 was the norm?
The reality is that a McMahon defeat would allow them to take stock. Only by pressure from outside forces can WWE change into a regulated organisation, with proper drug testing, with proper creative angles balancing family fun with what fans want. Would Senator McMahon bring about these things?
I don't know Richard Blumenthal, but I do know Linda McMahon and her victory in November sends a terrible message—that WWE is not liable, that drugs don't kill, that Attitude was acceptable and that PG is popular.
The last two may not be as serious as the first two but if she is going to be the first lady of WWE, she needs to answer for them as well
The WWE is on trial both in Connecticut and throughout the world.