This past Saturday evening in London, England, WWE Divas Champion AJ Lee fainted live in the arena during her scheduled match on the card. She collapsed. Passed out. Live, in front of thousands of spectators. It wasn’t part of an angle. It wasn’t part of the match. The woman, who just a few weeks prior, suffered a concussion and was pulled from RAW at the last minute, literally hit the mat due to what is being attributed to dehydration. This of course, in the mind of Vince McMahon, or his creative team, whatever, is considered the perfect fodder for comedy.
Monday night on the “RAW Country” show in Nashville, Tennessee, the WWE creative team came up with a doozy. Let’s have Vickie Guerrero pass out a bunch in a match with AJ Lee. Get it!? Yeah, we get it, Vince. Is it necessary? Does it help anything or push forward a story in any way? Not really. Luckily in this example, it’s not a situation where a backstage joke is confusing and makes no sense to the audience watching it being played out on television or live in the arena. It made sense in this case.
Vickie, who was being punished by “The Authority,” was afraid of getting beaten up by the Divas Champion. She saw Brad Maddox, who was also being punished, get carried away on a stretcher. So she had the great idea of faking an injury to attempt to get out of it. Stephanie McMahon, who came off as a bit of a babyface (which is a whole other story) wasn’t having it. She can go to the hospital after she gets what’s coming to her. So Vickie continued to “faint” multiple times, coincidentally enough, in a match against a woman who just days ago passed out — for real — during a live event in London.
How many times have we seen this before? Right off the top of my head come a few examples. WWE color commentator Jerry “The King” Lawler suffers a heart attack live during an episode of RAW. Within weeks, one of the top performers in the company, CM Punk, is on television mocking the situation. Legendary WWE play-by-play man Jim Ross is going through surgery due to colon cancer. Within weeks, Vince McMahon is dressed up as “Dr. Hiney” and is pulling JR’s head out of his ass.
Listen. Vince McMahon himself might not be coming up with these ideas personally. Maybe it’s one of his brilliant “creative team writers” coming up with this stuff. But the buck stops with Vinnie Mac. When WWE is flying high, McMahon gets the credit. When the company is in the toilet, McMahon gets the blame. So when something of horrible taste is done on his television show, he gets the credit or blame. This stuff does not make television without passing by Vince’s desk. He has the final say on everything that goes on in his company. At least that’s what we’ve been told for years now.
Here’s the thing: WWE is not Saturday Night Live. They are not a sketch comedy show. Sure, they have segments designed to entertain, or even provide some comic relief. That’s not what WWE is at its’ core though. Yet, anytime something that feels tragic happens, they almost always seem to need to mock it or parody it on their show. If it can be done in a way to advance a storyline or a match, I totally understand it. If it’s done as a comedy bit, as long as it’s not offensive, then it’s fine. To each his own. The AJ example isn’t tragic by any means, but it is in bad taste and did not advance a story in any shape, form or fashion. So why did they do it? Because WWE can’t help themselves. If someone presents an idea that fits the aforementioned description, Vince’s reaction always seems to be: “brilliant!” You can almost hear Vince’s rich-guy laugh when picturing him first hearing of such an idea.
Listen, in the end, this is not a big deal. It just seems to me that any chance WWE has to stick it to one of their own employees, they jump all over it. Why do that when you gain nothing from it? Why offend your own crew when it accomplishes nothing? I just don’t get it. So you’re going to offend Jim Ross and/or make him feel uncomfortable. For what reason?. You’re going to mock Jerry Lawler’s near-death experience. For what reason? You’re going to shove it in AJ’s face that she passed out, something that is out of her control. For what reason?
WWE isn’t SNL! Knock it off, Vince!
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