Sunday, 23 March 2014

That Wrestling Podcast Episode 48

Anyone who’s watched an episode of RAW will know that WWE is very keen on advertising. They have a large number of sponsors and advertising partners who pay good money to flash graphics up on screen promoting their services and products. Behind the TV deals themselves they’re probably WWE’s chief source of income.
Many people would argue WWE goes too far in this area. While I don’t agree with that stance I can understand why people think it. Adverts within RAW are incredibly prominent and frequently overshadow the wrestling and the wrestlers. Never is this more apparent when a backstage segment is shown in which wrestlers are made to awkwardly shill some product that it’s highly unlikely they genuinely use.
Jerry Lawler accepts a fast food delivery mid-show.
He would have a heart attack later in the year
But as much as WWE pursue partnerships with outside organisations they don’t go as far as they could. Wrestler’s outfits have a lot of space on them for company logos and I’m surprised a company as savvy as WWE haven’t made use of that. It’s all too easy to imagine a wrestler with a logo for some prominent American food brand, Chipotle, for example (mostly because I think it’s a funny word) emblazoned on their tights.
I’m not arguing in favour of this. I think it would be a poor sign in wrestling if it were to actually happen. But it’s such an obvious thing that I feel it’s something we should have seen.
Observant readers will have noticed that Brock Lesnar already wrestles with various sponsor logos on his trunks. That’s nothing to do with WWE. Those are deals he worked out privately during his time in UFC, where such deals are common enough (another reason I would have thought WWE would make the move). WWE sees nothing from those agreements: it was a stipulation of ‘The Beast’ returning to the promotion that he would get to keep the logos and all the money from them.
The closest I think WWE has ever come to tying a sponsor directly to a wrestler was The Zombie. That wasn’t a regular character of course, it was a jobber character that appeared on the ECW Sci Fi channel show, but the reason it was made a zombie, as opposed to a generic wrestler or some other gimmick, was because WWE felt the need (for whatever reason) to tie the loser into the theme of the channel he was to appear on.
I’m perhaps even more surprised that this is something we haven’t seen in TNA. That’s a promotion notoriously strapped for cash, squeezing every cent for all it’s worth. Sticking a logo on a pair of tights could bring in money for, essentially, nothing.
Could it be that those in charge in the wrestling business simply don’t think this is a good idea? I can’t believe that. These are the people who have given us The Dicks, The Johnsons, Tank Abbot matches, the Misfits in Action, a Judy Bagwell on a Pole match, The Boogeyman, Isaac Yankem, S7ven, King of the Mountain matches, The Kiss Demon, The Great Khali, and the sumo monster truck competition between Hulk Hogan and the man now known as Big Show. There are no depths they won’t stoop to.

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