Hello everyone. Today I would like to touch on a serious subject which some of you may have read in the news. If you have not heard, this winter WWE & the USA Network are planning to air live episodes of Raw on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. As you can imagine, the news has not gone down well with some who are related to the talents; as well as the majority of fans.
To better understand why this sets a bad precedent for the future, we have to look at past events. How many wrestlers have left WWE after a string of injuries? How many of those further went on to claim they were “burnt out”, and were happy to get injured so they could rest up? Far too many. The problem with the WWE schedule is it’s 100% nonstop. It never ends. WWE’s philosophy is that “if Vince McMahon or John Cena can do it week in, week out, literally anyone else can and should do so without complaint”. Basically if you get injured, expect to lose your spot to someone else. This is why some talent can’t help but cry, or lash out in frustration when they find out they have picked up a serious injury.
There’s this unhealthy mindset where you’re ridiculed if you show weakness. Just look at what happened to Mauro Ranallo when he left WWE due to depression earlier this year. He was called out for being weak and unprofessional. Other announcers in the business tore him a new one, instead of taking the time to understand his situation. In this instance it wasn’t even about the scheduling, it was down to a bullying mindset adopted by the likes of John Bradshaw Layfield. This philosophy applies when we talk about talents working special Christmas & New Year episodes; will they be buried if they turn up and say “screw this Vince .. I’m going home to my family!”. Sadly, I wouldn’t be surprised if some talent were punished for refusing to attend these events.
But let’s not think about the talent for a minute .. although they are important to many of us. Think about the backstage employees. Think about the ring crew, the production crew, marketing, advertisers, everyone who has to be there for a WWE show to go ahead will need to show up. Is it fair that they won’t be home with their families over the holidays? I’d love to know how they feel about having to work these dates, when traditionally they are pre-taped episodes to give everyone a well-earned break.
The talent do not get holidays aside from the usual Christmas period. Something tells me the staff get holidays, but I can’t imagine ’em getting much time. Let’s face it .. anyone who enjoys spending Christmas with their families would’ve booked their guaranteed holiday well in advance, and there’s only so many who could do so before they end up with a skeleton crew. Someone is going to have to show up to Raw when they really don’t want to. Does anyone remember that episode of Friends when Chandler forced his employees to work Christmas? It’s very much like that; he came across like Ebenezer Scrooge. At least in the end Chandler saw the error of his ways and called it off.
So what are the benefits of producing these shows? I can only think of one, and it goes back to everything Vince McMahon believes in. Money! And it’s no secret that Vince has spent much of his life caring for his promotion more than his own family. He’s sacrificed so much time putting everything in to WWE. When Kevin Owens made comments about Shane “trying to impress daddy” on Smackdown, it struck a chord as it’s too damn true. Vince does not understand the value of people spending time with their families, because he’s spent much of his life caring more about profit margins. This approach undoubtedly makes him a chairman who will do anything, and everything for his business, but the downside is it also comes at a price to those who work for him.
Some fans will turn around and say “Why not?”. My response to that is .. would you work Christmas Day? Would you work New Year’s Day? I could understand if you don’t celebrate Christmas or don’t care about New Year’s (unlike many others who see New Year’s Eve as a time to reflect on the year while bringing in the new with loved ones), but what about those who do? Would you want Jeff Hardy separated from his daughter on Christmas? Would you want Kurt Angle working as the GM instead of sitting at home with his wife and five children?
Imagine trying to explain to your kids (if you don’t have kids, imagine you’re trying to explain this to your nephew, niece, or friends kids) that although you work all year round and would usually be home for Xmas .. this year you won’t be because there’s shows on those days. What if your kids made you presents? What if all they wanted for Xmas was to see you? What if they already have everything? What if literally the only present they wanted was to spend time with you .. instead of watching you on television? If I had a famous father or mother working on TV all year .. I’d rather see them than get the latest smartphone .. or the latest anything for that matter. Just seeing my Mother or Father on Christmas would be the biggest present in itself.
As a father to my 7-year-old daughter who I don’t get to see on Xmas as she’s home with her Mother .. it hurts a lot. I sit there .. opening my presents on Xmas day, but nothing compares to the phone call I get later in the day when she tells me how much she’s enjoying herself. Just hearing my daughter on Xmas is a present in itself, so these live specials really piss me off. They really light a fire under me, and it lights more of a fire when people would happily pay to go see these shows .. because it encourages WWE and networks to do it again. If I was in WWE, I would tell management to piss off, and any fan who bought a ticket .. I’d tell them that if they ripped their tickets up, I’d personally give them the money back.
WWE should cancel these shows. It’s absolutely ridiculous, and anyone who thinks otherwise is being selfish and refuses to see the bigger picture. We get 52 weeks a year, and 50 live episodes of Raw is more than enough. Do we need two more? No .. we really don’t. So I ask you .. no, I plead with you, do not encourage WWE & USA Network by buying tickets for these shows. Keep telling WWE how wrong it is to book shows on these dates .. and not just for the talent’s sake, but for all the backstage employees who deserve time off as much as anyone on the roster. They work just as hard .. and should not be forgotten. Let’s stop Mr. McMahon-Scrooge and the awful USA Network before this becomes something which can happen again.
And I totally wouldn’t mind if WWE put on a 1-hour live show with talents & staff who volunteered (and paid handsomely). You couldn’t call it Raw obviously, but the concept of having a live show on Xmas Day isn’t impossible .. but a three-hour Raw? No thanks. I guess New Year’s Day isn’t as bad .. but if it were up to me, WWE would shut down for two weeks just before Xmas, and start up again on the 2nd January. This way everyone gets a much-needed, and well-deserved break where they can recharge their batteries and come back fresh for the next 50 weeks of non-stop, hardcore scheduling. Is that too much to ask? Apparently it is.
So I’d like to read your thoughts on this in the comments below. Is WWE slave driving its workforce? And apologies if I got a bit heated .. but it really does get under my skin. This decision is only motivated by money, and I believe it should be heavily discouraged by all. Thanks for reading! And see you again soon.