Due to the recent emergence of Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter in the WWE, the company has gained widespread media attention. Many have been critical of the anti-immigration storyline that the WWE is currently carrying out, including conservative political commentator Glenn Beck. Because of that, the WWE has invited Beck to appear on Monday Night Raw on Feb. 25.
According to a WWE press release sent to Bleacher Report, Beck addressed the angle on TheBlaze TV on Thursday and made some less-than-flattering remarks regarding the WWE. Rather than sitting idly by and allowing its brand to be dragged through the mud, the WWE is standing up to Beck and giving him a platform to present his case:
WWE is giving Beck the opportunity to address our 14 million weekly viewers and our global fan base, as he believes we are offending our “conservative” fans with this storyline.
Beck didn't mince words as he accused the WWE of demonizing the Tea Party, and he labeled the characters of Swagger and Colter racist, despite the fact that they have never used racist language. He also accused the WWE of offending 80 percent of its fanbase, which is obviously nowhere near accurate.
It's interesting that Beck accused the WWE of stereotyping, because he did the exact same thing during his diatribe. He said that he didn't believe that any Harvard, Ivy League-educated professors are watching WWE, which essentially suggests that he doesn't feel as though the WWE attracts high-class individuals.
His argument was that almost the entire WWE fanbase shares Tea Party ideals, which is an inaccurate assumption to begin with. He believes that Swagger and Colter misrepresent what the Tea Party is about, and by virtue of that, he believes that the WWE is alienating its own audience. There is no doubt that some fans are probably offended to a certain degree, but that can be said of any edgy storyline.
Beck started off the segment in which he discussed the WWE by poking fun at the product and alluding to the notion that it's "fake." He proceeded to crack jokes about people who think that it's real and then contradicted himself by acting as though Swagger and Colter actually believe what they're saying. Beck conveniently forgot that the WWE is a show that is meant to provide entertainment, and the WWE said as much in its press release:
To create compelling and relevant content for our audience, it is important to incorporate current events into our storylines. WWE is creating a rivalry centered on a topical subject that has varying points of view. This storyline was developed to build the Mexican American character Del Rio into a hero given WWE’s large Latino base, which represents 20 percent of our audience.
The fact that 20 percent of the WWE's fanbase is Latino immediately pokes a gaping hole in Beck's uneducated theory. Due to the issue of immigration, the Tea Party is light on Latino supporters, meaning that every non-Latino WWE fan would have to be a member of the Tea Party in order for Beck's 80 percent hypothesis to be accurate. It clearly isn't, and the WWE made a point of letting that be known.
At the end of the segment, Beck said that he wouldn't "waste" any time or money on the WWE, so it's unclear whether or not he'll accept the invitation. Beck has proven many times over the years that he is more than willing to satisfy his own ego, though, so I can see him potentially accepting. At the same time, he probably knows that he'll be made to look like a fool, meaning there may be some apprehension.
Aside from the Tea Party issue itself, what is most interesting to me is Swagger's involvement in this whole situation. As most wrestling fans know by now, TMZ.com is reporting that Swagger was arrested on Tuesday night and charged with both DUI and possession of marijuana. The general thought is that Swagger will lose his push, be suspended or perhaps even be terminated, but he would play a vital role if Beck were to accept.
As much as the WWE wants to remove itself from anything that is drug related, I'm sure that Vince McMahon enjoys the outside attention that Swagger's character has received. Because of that alone, he may be reluctant to pull the plug on Swagger so quickly. The WWE has suddenly caught the attention of a new demographic that isn't as prevalent as Beck has suggested.
If Beck puts his money where his mouth is, then I'll be intrigued to see how this is handled. The WWE broke kayfabe in its press release and made mention of the fact that Swagger and Colter are part of a storyline, but that isn't something that it can reveal on television.
I can't say that I've ever been interested in seeing Beck or hearing what he has to say, but I'm certainly willing to make an exception in this instance. Beck claims that the WWE is making a mockery of a large contingent of people, but Beck did the exact same thing and has done so throughout his career. He enjoys dishing out the medicine, but the manner in which he reacts to the WWE's invitation will prove whether or not he's willing to take it as well.