In case you haven’t heard, WWE has made it official that it will no longer be known as World Wrestling Entertainment. Going forward, the company will simply be WWE.
Removing the word “wrestling” from the name of the company has some in the Internet Wrestling Community up in arms, but it’s a non-issue as far as I’m concerned.
As long as there are guys and girls in spandex performing in scripted athletic exhibitions inside a ring, those of us who follow the product know that it’s wrestling regardless of what words WWE chairman and CEO Vince McMahon chooses to use or not use in regard to his company.
The fact is that pro wrestling does carry a stigma in some circles, so McMahon’s goal of re-branding WWE as an entertainment company in an effort to expand its business beyond the ring makes a lot of sense.
The move certainly shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. For many years now, McMahon has tried to distance the company from “traditional” pro wrestling.
He has said in past interviews that when Ted Turner called him back in the late ’80s after purchasing WCW and said, “Hey Vince, I’m now in the wrestling business,” McMahon replied: “That’s great, Ted. I’m in the entertainment business.”
In recent years, not only have terms such as “pro wrestling” and “pro wrestlers” been replaced in WWE by “sports entertainment” and “WWE Superstars,” respectively, but even an innocuous word such as “belt” has been banned in favor of “championship.”
Do I think it sounds silly for WWE to refer to someone such as Bruno Sammartino as “one of the greatest sports entertainers of all time?” Sure I do, but as the old saying goes, a rose by any other name ...
To read a story in the Los Angeles Times on the name change, click here.