Political shock jock Glenn Beck trolled the headlines this past week by virtually criticizing the WWE for being an entertainment company. Beck—a noted nut job and real-life political extremist—took exception to the character of Zeb Colter, who is a Tea Party extremist in his own right.
Beck dismissed Colter and the WWE on his radio show as "stupid wrestling people." There is a sweet irony in Beck's strife with the WWE. The Colter character is a satire on noisy, right-wing commentators like Beck who are driven by shock value. Yet even as a hyperbole, Colter doesn't hold a candle to how nutty Glenn Beck can be when he gets ready.
To add a little context, Glenn Beck has previously gone on record as saying: "The most used phrase in my administration if I were to be president would be, 'What the hell you mean we're out of missiles?"
He followed that gem up with: "I could give a flying crap about the political process...We're an entertainment company,''
One would think that Beck's pride in entertainment over substance should establish him as somebody who understands the objective of a storyline designed to draw money, viewership and ratings.
It's the same formula Beck used to become relevant enough to land his own television show on Fox News. There, he was subpar as a poor man's Paul Harvey. Fortunately, people stopped watching Glenn Beck and he has since rematerialized on the radio waves pretending to be Rush Limbaugh.
WWE's relentless pursuit to change Beck's mind about them create the illusion that Beck is an authoritative, relevant voice of reason in any realm.
Where was this appeasement when President Barack Obama condescended to the WWE while campaigning against Linda McMahon? The WWE didn't lift a finger to put out a press release then.
Maybe Vince McMahon felt he'd be dirtying his hands in doing so. Maybe It's just best to concentrate on winning over the real power brokers in politics like Beck.
The WWE was pathetic in breaking kayfabe and shooting two separate vignettes where Swagger and Colter awkwardly explained to Mr. Beck that wrestling is not real. Appearing as Jake Hager (Jack Swagger) and Wayne Keown (Zeb Colter), Swagger and Colter addressed Beck's comments in the video shown below.
At one point, Colter refers to Alberto Del Rio by his real name of José Rodriguez. He goes on to confirm that Rodriguez is a "friend."
So much for buying into a storyline.
In a press release inviting Glenn Beck to appear on Raw, the WWE stressed:
Similar to other television shows and feature films, WWE is in the entertainment business, creating fictional characters that serve as protagonists or antagonists. To create compelling and relevant content for our audience, it is important to incorporate current events into our storylines.
In what has unfortunately become a Vince McMahon staple, the WWE recoils whenever it is caught acting like a wrestling company. Such is evident right down to Raw's commentary in which lead announcer Michael Cole is programmed to mock everything.
Barack Obama's problem was that he didn't use the word "wrestling," a word which still seems to strike a nerve with Stamford suits. "Wrestling" inspires meaningless press releases and unnecessary damage control even when it's being uttered by a professional blowhard.
WWE's quest to be disassociated with wrestling is just as transparent as its efforts to manufacture mainstream media attention.
Beck should have accepted that invitation from the WWE. They are perfect for one another.