Thursday, October 6, 2011
Four reasons the WWE Raw walkout is more compelling than "Occupy Wall St."
Much media attention has been given to the protests over lack of jobs and "corporate greed" labeled Occupy Wall Street. Like the protest itself, some of this attention is legitimately warranted, while a lot of it is manufactured. Garnering virtually no attention from the traditional media, however, was another protest over jobs, working conditions, and an unresponsive corporation; the "walkout" by the WWE Superstars at the end of this week's Monday Night Raw. From what I have seen so far, the Wall Streeters could learn more than a few things from their brethren in the squared circle, so here are four reasons why I have paid more attention to the WWE walkout than to Occupy Wall Street.
4. Personalities. Sure, there have been compelling stories from a handful of the Wall Street protests, but they have been few and far between the rants from the disjointed and incoherent, as well as some that are outright bigoted. The WWE, on the other hand, employs some of the best talkers in the world. How much more attention might the Wall Streeters receive if The Miz and R-Truth led a special version of their "You Suck" rap, if Mark Henry said he planned to put the president, Congress, and corporate CEO's into his Hall of Pain, or if The Rock threatened to turn the NASDAQ sideways and stick it straight up someone's candy a$$?
3. Purpose. What specifically prompted the Wall Street folks to gather in protest? 95-percent of them probably can't answer that question, and now that labor unions are starting to take over Occupy Wall Street, the answer will become even more muddied. (Why are the union folks protesting anyway? Don't most of them have jobs already?) The WWE Superstars, on the other hand, were united Monday on one, single grievance; unsafe working conditions. Sure, referees have been getting smacked around for 40 years. And yes, some of the wrestlers were complaining about attacks from other wrestlers - last I checked, that was in their job description. And the first guy to walk out, Jerry "The King" Lawler, used to regularly throw fireballs into the faces of his opponents. Okay, maybe there are some consistency issues, but they were united on Monday, dang it!
2. An actual corporate boss to hate. If Occupy Wall Street really wanted to stare down a corporate boss, they would be in Washington - the folks there have caused a heck of a lot more problems than those on Wall Street. It has to be difficult to galvanize support again a generic figure responsible for alleged "corporate greed." The WWE, on the other hand, has plenty of bosses just waiting (and often wishing) to be hated. Whether it is current COO Triple-H, the Vice President of, excuse me, EXECUTIVE Vice President of Talent Relations John Laurinaitis, or the former (and I suspect future) boss Mr. McMahon, there is always someone at the top in which to direct your enmity. They may order you into Hell In A Cell afterward, but at least you have an outlet.
1. The commentators are better. To whom would you rather listen? The monotonous monotone Brian Williams lecturing us yet again on NBC about how our "politics are broken", even though it's (hat tip David Byrne) the same as it ever was? How about the Fox or MSNBC hosts and their guests screaming at each other, "You're a facist!" "Well, you're a commie!" "Well, you're a racist!" "Oh yeah, you eat white asparagus!" I would watch Occupy Wall Street daily if it featured Jim Ross ("What the hell? The corporate boss is runnin' like a scalded dog!"), Booker T ("Awwwwwwww, you gotta be kiddin' me!"), Michael Cole ("In the immortal words of Booker T, what thuh....?") and The King ("Look JR, protesting puppies! Ah!") I know, Lawler doesn't say that any more. I miss the old King.