Be a Star or Be a Bully?

While it’s always hard to take a professional wrestling promotion seriously, the WWE hurt its legitimacy big time this past week when they continued a storyline that not only terrorizes their workers on live TV, it stops them from voicing workplace issues and degrades them for being individuals.

It even limits their success because of the way they look.

For a company that prides itself on their “Be a Star” anti-bullying campaign, this “storyline” is a disaster. The wrestling fans that watch see it as enjoyable. That’s because it is. The emotional journey that the Big Show and Daniel Bryan went on this week was something that hasn’t been seen on WWE programming in quite some time. It was dark. It definitely wasn’t PG. It was awesome.

So here’s the problem. Over the past decade, the WWE has made it their mission to cater to younger kids and make their product more family-friendly, but this storyline is not. If anything, this arc is the complete opposite of what the company should be doing if they want kids to watch.

It’s a known fact kids emulate what they see on TV, even if they have parents who put things into perspective for them. What kind of message is the WWE sending its young viewers by treating their employees like this on live TV? Even if its all kayfabe and a part of the show, ask yourselves this, are any of you preparing yourself for that conversation with your kid, you know the one where you tell them there’s no Easter Bunny, Santa Claus and that the WWE is fake?

Have any of you had that conversation yet?

The fact that the WWE blurs reality with well-written, relatable and close to non-fiction drama makes them even more responsible for what they put on their show. The fact of the matter is simple, the WWE has to make a decision- a real one when it comes to who their major demographic is children or adults. Right now, it appears their more lost in their own self-assessment than the Ultimate Warrior at a WCW contract signing.

This puts the company in the same situation they were in 20 years ago. Do they cut out the family-friendly stuff and go for a more rugged product? If they wish to continue this current storyline, the decision looks to be a simple one.

About Patrick Hickey Jr. 13205 Articles
Patrick Hickey Jr. is the Founder, Editor-in-Chief, Master Jedi and Grand Pooh-bah of and is the author of the book, "The Minds Behind the Games: Interviews with Cult and Classic Video Game Developers," from leading academic and non-fiction publisher McFarland and Company. He is currently the Assistant Director of the Journalism Program at Kingsborough Community College and is a former News Editor at NBC Local Integrated Media and a National Video Games Writer at the late He has also had articles and photos published in The New York Times, The New York Daily News, Complex and The Syracuse Post-Standard. Love him. Read him.

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