Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Why I cancelled my WWE Network Subscription

I've spent a lot of time on twitter retweeting people arguing against the Trump presidency and I haven't made a move to show my displeasure in any way that matters. Now, with the appointment of Linda McMahon to the Small Business Administration I can let my disappointment hit people who matter in the pocket books. Granted the ten dollars a month I pay for the WWE Network that I'm about to cancel isn't a lot, but it is just the beginning as it also mean that I won't be buying any WWE merch and there are a lot of wrestlers I like to support in the company even when WWE is providing poor programing, and that is going to be lost as well.

There are probably lots of WWE wrestlers that don't support Trump and that sucks that I won't be watching them anymore. I grew into a real wrestling fan watching a lot of those guys come up in the indies, but I've talked a big game about boycotting things in the past for their bad actions. Stuff like not listening to R Kelly or Chris Brown was easy because I didn't like either of them before their shitty behavior. I put a minor move toward that in action today when Kid Rock came on the radio with “Bawitdaba” one of the two songs of his I like and I changed it because he's an asshole. And nothing really tests my resolve like canceling something in wrestling which is probably my second favorite thing behind video games. I've stopped watching Raw before, but this time fuck 'em. Raw sucks anyway and Smackdown may be good, but I've got plenty of NJPW to watch with their streaming service anyway. Plus there are many other independent companies that provide streaming services to watch as well.

Of those I'm mainly looking into getting Progress Wrestling or Chikara. I'm not a big fan of Chikara's comedy, but they have a strong continuity and I do love a good time with my wrestling shows. On the other hand Progress is a company I've heard nothing but good things about and has the UK wrestlers who have been a huge deal in the US and Japan recently so they've got damn good wrestling. Some may say FloSlam is a good choice, but Gabe Sapolsky tweeted something about how Linda was a good choice for the position and that bums me out. Now I know part of it is that WWE has been working with Gabe recently and helped him so he wants to support them even though he is on a competing streaming network, but that bums me out because of how the WWE with Linda and Vince in charge has operated.

There are places where you can find more comprehensive histories about how WWE came to be what it is, but there are many reasons that should disqualify Linda from being in any kind of position regulating small businesses. First of all WWE came into being as a regional product then went around spending money across the country to buy tv or wrestlers to come to their promotion and leave the one they were working in order to spread their influence across the country. Sure they faced hard times during the nineties, but they also had a court case for distributing steroids and got out of that some how despite the fact that later almost everybody admitted they did steroids including the poster boy Hulk Hogan. During their fight with WCW they employed lots of lawsuits to try and hinder their development and with the third party fighting them, ECW, they signed wrestlers to bigger deals to leave.

Throughout their history wrestlers who work for them have been considered independent contractors which means WWE doesn't have to pay for their shit. These people travel across the country and and work nearly everyday for the WWE, but somehow aren't actual employees. When wrestlers are fired or quit they are subject to a 90 day no compete clause, which is bullshit because it has been beaten in court by two of the bigger name wrestlers who left and had the money to fight WWE in Alberto Del Rio and CM Punk. Recently they tried to get a bunch of wrestlers to sign contracts that would prohibit them from working for companies that have TV deals or streaming services, but allow them to work smaller indie shows.

Now, Linda McMahon is a good business person, not great, we know that from WWE's many pitfalls like the XFL (which I personally thought was awesome, but didn't catch on) and the bodybuilding league. But what she doesn't do is promote small businesses. WWE has had a monopoly on wrestling ever since they bought WCW through some what dubious methods and in any respected industry the government would have looked at that purchase and said it was not legal and forced WWE to at least sell parts of WCW off like it does with phone or cable company mergers.

So today I say goodbye to the WWE and that's going to be rough, but I can't just boycott stuff I didn't like in the first place. But really I'm looking as it more as a chance to support an actual small business that Linda McMahon is supposed to be promoting anyway. I'm not sure which company it will be, but it will be a company that promotes the inclusiveness and positivity that I embrace.