Steve Cook is here with your Monday look at the news: as WWE cracks down on third party involvement, AEW goes a little too All Out, and NXT on the move?
Hi, hello & welcome to News From Cook’s Corner! I hope you all are having an enjoyable Labor Day weekend doing whatever the fruits of your labor provide you the ability to do. Maybe it’s drinking mint juleps and watching the Kentucky Derby. Maybe it’s watching wrestling PPV events. Or maybe it’s even doing some Twitch streaming & recording some Cameos before your boss shuts it down. Whatever it is, hopefully you’re partaking.
Indeed, it’s ironic that one of the top stories just before Labor Day involved WWE’s treatment of its…independent contractors. I always fight the urge to call WWE “Superstars” employees. Wonder why that is?
WWE Putting Its Foot Down!
WWE informed their Superstars last week that they would be banned from engaging with third party platforms like Cameo or Twitch while utilizing their character names. Many WWE Superstars have become Twitch gamers on the side, streaming their video game fun while chatting with their fans about what’s going on in their lives. One can see how this could be problematic for a company like WWE, like if, for example, somebody mentioned on a stream that they tested positive for the coronavirus WWE likes to pretend doesn’t exist a little while back. Could present a problem.
To be honest, I’m ill-equipped to report on a lot of what’s going on here. I’m not on Twitch because I’m nothing more than a casual gamer who’s working on a season of Major League Baseball Featuring Ken Griffey Jr. on Nintendo 64. I mean, if there’s an audience for that let me know, but I kinda doubt it. I can’t even imagine buying a message on Cameo because it’s just not my thing. I know people do it, and more power to ya, but it’s not me. I’m not paying $300 for Alexa Bliss to turn me down.
Dave Meltzer reported that one of the causes of the ban was Lana advertising an energy drink on her Instagram account. Lana vehemently denied this, as would anybody being outed as the cause of something causing great consternation to their co-workers. Maybe it wasn’t the singular cause, but you know darn well WWE wants a cut of whatever Lana is getting out of that company she is advertising for as Lana from WWE.
After some confusion over the new policy, WWE released a statement to various wrestling websites. Some humdingers in this one, let’s take a look…
“Much like Disney and Warner Bros., WWE creates, promotes and invests in its intellectual property, i.e. the stage names of performers like The Fiend Bray Wyatt, Roman Reigns, Big E and Braun Strowman. It is the control and exploitation of these characters that allows WWE to drive revenue, which in turn enables the company to compensate performers at the highest levels in the sports entertainment industry.”
After all these years it’s nice that they admit to “exploitation of these characters”, right?
“Notwithstanding the contractual language, it is imperative for the success of our company to protect our greatest assets and establish partnerships with third parties on a companywide basis, rather than at the individual level, which as a result will provide more value for all involved.”
It’s amazing how all of these companies embrace socialism when it meets their needs. They would love all of these Superstars to make the same amount of money while they get a ton of money on top. Corporations love socialism for themselves, and rugged individualism for the poor bastards they employ. You know the endgame here is for WWE to offer a halfassed version of Twitch & Cameo where they get a cut of whatever their “independent contractors” get. They’ll get some business, but not as much as some of these people were getting on their own. And they can spread it over the roster because socialism is awesome when it doesn’t take money off the corporate teat.
That’s how WWE operates. You know they’re all about the brand, not so much about the individuals unless they can get some money out of them. That’s why Vince McMahon can be presented as pro-Black employee, some of them made money for him and he liked that. He really doesn’t care about whatever his employees present publicly as long as WWE can make some money off of it.
WWE Superstars have already taken steps to make sure their future endeavors can’t be completely owned by WWE. Many of them have their own YouTube channels utilizing their real name. i know folks like Jim Cornette hate the idea of wrestlers putting their real names out there, but situations like this are exactly why this generation of wrestlers are doing that. That way, if WWE lets them go for whatever reason, they still have some value in their actual name & personality. Unlike poor Billy of the Gunn Club, whose TNA names didn’t even stick. Xavier Woods lets us know he’s Austin Creed. Cassie & J. McKay are Iiconics with YouTube channels. Even Colby & Rebecca have a YouTube channel, which is kind of shocking considering how much of a corporate stooge Seth Rollins tries to be.
Irony appears to be the theme of the week. At the same time we’re criticizing WWE for being too controlling of its work force, we have to send some flack AEW’s way for not doing enough to protect theirs.
AEW’s All Out event on Saturday night saw Matt Hardy take a fall off a forklift and land on one of two tables with his legs. His head bounced off the floor and he seemed completely out of it. Referee Aubrey Edwards attempted to stop the match, but Hardy insisted on continuing and the doctor was ok with it.
Hardy & Sammy Guevara went right to their finish, another dangerous spot from a high place, this time a lighting rig they climbed up. Sammy took that bump & Matt avoided further physical abuse, but it was still a very questionable decision to have a human being that had just been knocked out climb up a lighting rig.
AEW has to do better.
I can give them a pass in some areas, but not when it comes to talent safety. Its not surprising that Matt wanted to continue the match, one of those unwritten rules of wrestling is that you must finish the match regardless of any injuries you suffer. Somebody had to step in and make the decision for him. Edwards tried and was overruled by the doctor. Doctors aren’t going to always be right, but it’s always better to err on the side of caution.
Tony Khan reported that Matt was released from the hospital on Sunday, and it turned out he didn’t have a concussion. Sounds like a good development.
Jim Ross also got a healthy amount of criticism for a remark he made about Anna Jay during the show. Honestly, JR is what he is at this point. He can still call a good match, but a lot of the time he’s either disinterested or he’s reprising Jerry Lawler’s old commentary material. If you’re going to have him on your show, you know what you’re getting.
I mean, is it creepy for a 68 year old to be lusting after a 22 year old co-worker? Obviously! I just don’t want to call for his head over it, as I’ll probably be here writing cringe-worthy things about Stephanie McMahon’s granddaughter when I’m 68. I hope not, but it seems likely. As a future lonely old pervert I feel its in my best interest to let others lead the way on this one.
NXT to Tuesday?
There’s tons of speculation going on about the future of WWE NXT on USA. No, it’s not getting cancelled. However, USA seems interested in moving it to another night, where it could get higher viewership and demo numbers due to lack of wrestling competition on another major cable channel.
Of course, that idea goes against everything Vince McMahon has ever stood for. The last thing he wants to do is move a show to another night because of competition. Heck, that competition is the main reason NXT is on Wednesday night anyway. A move might end up happening, but it won’t be at WWE’s request.
As a fan, I’d like NXT to run on Thursday night. Mostly because there’s no other wrestling on Thursday. As a pundit, I’d like it to stay on Wednesdays so WWE & AEW fans continue arguing and boost hit counts of websites everywhere. Tuesday…eh, I can watch Impact then. It would be understandable though, as Impact would put a lower dent in NXT viewership than Dynamite does.
I expect NXT to change nights at some point. Then again, every show does except for Raw.
That’s all the trouble I can make this week. Good night now!