It’s the ULTIMATE smackdown.
Wrestling is getting ready to take on its biggest enemy… in a no-holds-barred steel cage match.
They’re about to take on political correctness!
Fans have grumbled that the once-edgy WWE has lost its hardcore touch they once loved. Instead, it’s gotten softer than a marshmallow, with tamer storylines and careful dialogue that’s been workshopped by a roomful of Hollywood-trained writers until it offends absolutely no one.
But that might be about to end as the organization prepares to take one of its signature shows to a TV network that hasn’t been afraid to embrace a little edge.
They’re moving one of its signature shows, “SmackDown Live,” to Fox Sports starting this autumn in a five-year deal worth more than a billion smackers.
And a new report on the wrestling site Rajah.com finds the network wants to get the most out of its money.
Citing an unnamed source, the website said Fox is “looking for WWE to produce a more edgier product and that they aren’t looking to give into the PC culture that dominates current WWE programming.”
That’s some sweet entrance music to the ears of fans, who have complained that the sport’s desperate attempts at mass appeal have led to increasingly bland characters and plots (no to mention corny gags and gimmicks).
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Even some of the sport’s legendary stars have complained about it.
“That is probably the reason I’m not on TV anymore and I mean that seriously because they [WWE] went so politically correct,” Jerry Lawler — aka “The King” — said on his podcast in 2017. He said the sport isn’t rated “PG” anymore but rather PC.
“They’re so politically correct to a fault,” he said, and later added:
Parents should listen and decide whether they think this is okay for the kids, but I think what the WWE has become is PC. And, it’s what the whole world has become politically correct and worrying about offending anybody. That’s what keeps you muzzled so to speak.
But it’s also gone the other way.
A 2013 character named Zeb Colter was supposed to be a caricature of a Tea Party patriot – but was depicted as such an over-the-top heel (aka villain) that conservatives complained they were being openly mocked.
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The wrestling bigwigs learned the hard way that there’s a difference between being topical… and insulting your core audience!
Of course, fans are no doubt worried about a possible SmackDown-worthy twist that could change everything. The deal with Fox was negotiated last summer, BEFORE the network’s sale was completed.
Disney bought the company… and some might wonder if that means WWE will now have to SMEEEELLLLLL what The Mouse is cooking.
No doubt PC Disney would want to make wrestling even tamer.
But they’re not going to play the heel here: As part of the deal, Fox Sports, Fox News and the Fox TV channel will be spun off into a separate company that won’t be part of Disney but instead remain under the control of the Murdoch family.
So fans can get ready to rumble when “SmackDown Live” airs on Fox Sports this fall for live two-hour shows every Friday night adding to its 20-year history, which makes it one of the longest-running shows in cable history.
The only show that’s been on longer? “Monday Night Raw,” also from WWE.
— The Horn editorial team