PWTorch editor Wade Keller was right earlier when he wrote that this “Jeff Hardy found unconscious in a hotel stairwell” WWE.com angle sleazily exploited both Hardy’s history of drug problems/suspensions and the pro wrestling business’ sad history of deaths and ruined lives.
Anyone who lived through the news on those Sundays of the deaths of Brian Pillman and Eddie Guerrero would have heard the echoes in WWE.com’s first story on Hardy being taken to the hospital. Keller was right when he asserted that this angle once again exposes the too-often lack of simple human decency in the McMahon family and everyone else involved in this.
The angle, though, also exposes WWE’s lack of ability to learn from its own history and its lack of focus on its own business plan. In the past few months WWE has set as its goal the capturing of a more mainstream image in order to capture more mainstream advertising dollars. WWE wants to improve the poor economic demographics of its core audience and capture a more affluent audience who had previously been turned off by the crude vulgarity of much of WWE’s product and the stench that surrounds the epidemic of drug deaths in the wrestling business.
To that end WWE banned (for the most part) blood on its shows, toned down the sexuality of the Divas, and abided by the strictures of the PG13 rating. This callous internet angle flies in the face of all that.
Now, though, if anyone in the mainstream media, including the internet gossip sites that are now part of that mainstream, catches on that WWE exploited the Hardy’s well-known history of drug relapses in this way, just to try to attract more buys to a poorly-promoted pay-per-view show, it could cause further damage to WWE’s business image. Stories like this can have a way of snow-balling, particularly in a media hungry for sensational copy on TV celebrities.
Is the bigger goal of slowly cleaning the sullied image of WWE worth gambling on, just to get a few more eyes on the WWE website and, perhaps, a few more buys on one pay-per-view show?
*****Bruce Mitchell, was and still is, one of the top writers at pwtorch.com, the source for this article.*****