KARACHI: Donald Trump winning the election has shocked the world, to say the least. However, what comes as a horror to most of the world may just prove to be beneficial to World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). It is important to note that Trump becomes the first WWE Hall of Famer to become President of the United States. This should definitely influence WWE’s current state of affairs for the better.
However, the situation is not so simple. It is certain that the WWE will cash in on the fact. In the coming weeks, there are bound to be tributes and a huge amount of marketing involved. To those not aware, Trump has been featured on the sports entertainment show previously.
Back in 2007, he was featured in the storyline against the WWE owner Vince McMahon in what was billed as the ‘Battle of the Billionaires’. During the buildup for the match, Trump one-upped McMahon by giving away money to the fans in the arena. The ecstatic fans collected as many notes as they could as thousands of dollars fell from the ceiling. He later appeared in Wrestlemania 23, where his chosen competitor defeated McMahon’s representative in a ‘hair vs hair’ match. Much to WWE’s delight, Wrestlemania 23 broke buy-rate and attendance records.
In 2009, McMahon sold his multi-million dollar corporation’s flagship show Raw to Trump, as part of a storyline. Trump, in his classic style, made promises to please the Raw audience for being fans for 17 long years, and “do stuff that’s never been done before and seen before.” The storyline continued until McMahon bought it back and fired Trump. One of the highlights included Stone Cold hitting Trump with his signature move Stunner to the audience’s surprise. Eventually, the newly elected president was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2013, much to the audience’s dismay, who booed him during his speech.
It’s no secret that the McMahon family and Trump have been close friends for a long time, and Trump is a big wrestling fan. He even hosted two consecutive Wrestlemanias (IV and V) back in the 80s. Earlier this year, it was reported that Linda McMahon (Vince’s wife) donated $6 million to Trump’s campaign.
Now that brash-mouthed billionaire calls the shots at the highest level, the WWE is bound to benefit from that. Their promotion can even start as early as their next show on Monday night. While the world recovers from the shock, McMahons must be celebrating and devising new marketing strategies.
Strangely enough, when Trump became on-screen owner of the show, the company stocks fell. In spite of that, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame, years later.
It would not be too shocking to see WWE dedicate the entire next episodes of Raw and Smackdown to Trump. Furthermore, Trump’s contribution to the WWE may not be game-changing in the long run but a few million bucks extra don’t hurt anybody. And now that the company can boast about something unprecedented, there is a higher possibility that their stocks will rise and the company will gain more mainstream media attention.
Interestingly, whereas the WWE management is a big supporter of Trump, it’s a different story among the wrestlers. Recently, fellow Hall of Famer and WWE legend Mick Foley made a lengthy post on Facebook where he pleaded his countrymen not to vote for Trump. Many other wrestlers share his opinion. How the company deals with this huge opportunity for free publicity and profit, and where the road goes from here, remains to be seen.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 10th, 2016.