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April 8, 2011

Thoughts on no more ‘wrestling’ in WWE

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.

Posted by Kevin Eck at 11:21 PM | | Comments (29)


Ted Turner said he was in "the Wrasslin' business"

I don't really care, its not like I ever called ECW Extreme Championship Wrestling or WCW World Championship Wrestling, just ECW & WCW. The only time I ever remember saying the full name was when it was still World Wrestling Federation.

The only thing I wish they would cave in on is what they call what they do in the ring. Call it "sports entertainment" all you want but it just sounds silly when they try to dance around using the word "wrestle/wrestler/wrestling"

this is ridiculous, if not altogether unnecessary...

are they gonna change the name of WRESTLEMANIA? that has "wrestle" in it...

"Sports Entertainia?"

I think you're so caught up in the story you're missing the long-term angle here, Kev.

This is part of a slippery slope. Once all the fuss has died down we're going to tune into Raw one night and find out it's now World Whistling Entertainment. Flair will show up and we'll find out all those 'Whooo's were just practice for where the industry was going next.

I'm with you in that it's a non-issue -- until WWE On Demand blanks out every historical use of the word "wrestling."

Just kidding (I hope).

Well to be fair, Bruno Sammartino would be referred to as "one of the greatest WWE Superstars of all time" which doesn't sound so silly and in fact, in my opinion, makes Bruno seem like a larger than life legend "Superstar" who had a legion of fans and influenced future stars and was a marquee draw, etc rather than just a 'wrestler' who, in McMahon's words "rolls around a mat in his underwear".

Just wondering, do you know if WWE plans on re-branding WrestleMania itself? perhaps to just "Mania" or something?

RESPONSE FROM KE: haven't heard that but that would be a mistake in my opinion. That woild be like changing the name of the Super Bowl or the World Series.

Stupid move by WWE. They should stop been an entertainment company and go back to been a Solid Pro Wrestling company like they were back in the days of WWF.

So what will WrestleMania become, SportsEntertainmentMania?

I was hoping the timing of these anti "wrestling" rumours were nothing more than a poor April Fool's joke on the IWC.

But of course, the swing away from the WWE's more traditional values have been going on for some time now, and the in-ring product today is very different from what it was even five years ago.

Personally, I feel that for any business to be successful and profitable, it needs to get it's core product right. Let's face it, the XFL was a disaster, and the the World Bodybuilding federation before it wasn't a particularly successful enterprise either. I don't know all the facts and figures on WWE Studios, but somehow I doubt Hollywood take films like See No Evil, Knucklehead and the Chaperone particularly seriously. Judging from their limited releases and critical panning, movie going fans don't either.

The WWE's core audience is wrestling fans. It always has been. The people who spend money on their DVD's, their live events, their merchandise and their maggazines do so because they and their kids love the in-ring product. When WWE gets this product right - and with it's production values and performers, the WWE is more than capable of doing this on a regular basis - no-one in the world can do it better. This should be a source of immense pride for everyone involved in the WWE, certainly not a source of embarrassment.

At the end of the day, the millions that ordered Wrestlemania (Entertainmentmania doesn't really have the same ring to it, does it?) do so because they want to see mind-blowing live spectacles like the Undertaker/HHH put on, not because they want to see pre-recorded American idol spoofs or the Rock interacting with Pee Wee Herman.

If the WWE continues to distance itself from the word wrestling, it will also be distancing itself from the vast majority of their most loyal and devoted fans. I simply can't see how that could be a positive move. sounds like TNA will be the only 'major' WRESTLING company left in the world.

this is a great sports entertainment Blog!

i like watching sports entertainment at least once every week...

this **** is insulting.

also> I want to see womens WRESTLING back in the WWE!
smackdown this week was dry and boring without any divas

Unfortunately Vince McMahon can't seem to understand that it doesn't matter how you dress a pig up, it's still a pig. It's still wrestling no matter how hard you try to say it's not.

It is about time they made this move official! There hasn't been any "wrestling" in WWE in years. It's not sports either, maybe they should call it reality TV entertainment!

Can't say I'm that surprised, how often is "wrestling" actually on Raw or Smackdown? The WWE style of "wrestling" is very different to what "wrestling" actually is...whether we're talking Olympic style "wrestling" or the chain "wrestling" style (like ROH). The WWE demands a more watered down "wrestling" style that is more accessible and appealing to the mainstream audience, hence why someone like Cm Punk had to train the WWE style after years of great indie work, he was a great "wrestler" but not a great WWE superstar.

On Smackdown this week, Michael Cole was asked why he wasn't wearing his singlet. He responded that he wasn't "entertaining" that night.

Jake, Jimmy and Jason: Shh! Please don't give them any ideas! As long as they keep the name Wrestlemania, the WWE is still holding on to a thread of rationality.

Let's hope the WWE doesn't kill its own business through this dumb "New Coke"-like move. If the WWE ends up destroying itself because it's afraid of the word "wrestling," and TNA becomes the only place us wrestling fans can go, and then it'll be a sad day.

Also I don't care about this but let's be perfectly clear about WHY its happening. The further Vince can get "wrestling" away from WWE the less he has to worry about his wellness policy which he has admitted only exists for PR. If he's just "putting on a show" he's essentially paying circus freaks with no one protecting them or watching who is doing steroids, etc.

Inconceivable, that comment had me laughing my butt off.

To show how ridiculous this is, on 4/8 Smackdown Booker asked Cole why he wasn't in his singlet, Cole replied because he wouldn't be "entertaining" this evening.

WWE better change it's website soon as not to confuse anyone. It still says World Wrestling Entertainment.

How Hi-Larious!

so will they now BLEEP the word "wrestling" like they do with "WWF" on the old videos ? ...I Hope you die Vince !!!

I think some people are missing the point here. I personally think it's a brilliant move and can see where Vince is going with it.

Put it in the perspective of Walt Disney, the company is 'Disney', but they do much more than cartoon mice. Over the years they branched out from sketches to comics, feature films, animations, theme parks, theatre productions, radio shows, television networks, sports, news and current affairs. Without doubt Disney is the biggest entertainment company in the world. Do you think the company would still be here today if all it produced was cartoon strips of a mouse?

It's the boldest step that McMahon has made and I dare say there will be moments where he will fall and everyone will get on his back about it, but I think for the sake of the company, avid fans, share holders, management and McMahon's legacy, it's a brilliant move.

As wrestling fans we'll be looking at the wrestling side of the business and yeh some judgment calls like 'not mentioning the w-word' will get annoying, heck I still get annoyed when I hear '...the most anticipated match in history' every other week but you kind of take it as it is.

The competition in which two Superstars try to pin each other's shoulders to the canvas for a three-count isn't wrestling? Fair enough. However, if it isn't wrestling, then what is it? This competition must have a name, and it can't be sports entertainment, for that is not specific. An argument can be made that the NFL is sports entertainment, for it is a spectacle as well as a sport. However, when the whistle is blown, the athletes compete in a game of football. Sports entertainment can be the name of your business, but not your athletic competition. Besides, even the pubescent marks who just want to see their favorite shirtless men with big muscles do a backstage skit and two or three moves of doom call your product wrestling, WWE. If you don't like that, think of a more descriptive name, for "entertainment" doesn't seem to have caught on.

This is a non-issue to me. There's absolutely no reason to believe that this will somehow lead to no more wrestling in the WWE.

It's just as likely that it will lead to no more entertainment, as that word is also taken out of the company name by this change.

I don't really know the reason for changing the name. It's still wrestling after all. Anyways a new good name for WWE would be "World Wide Entertainment." Has a good ring to it doesn't it? Just a random idea, but obvious.

wwe will always b da best no matter wat. they wrestle, they entertain, thats all good. wwe is alwayz da best:)FYI:TNA suks dey try so hard 2 do everythin like wwe. They want their superstars nd divas and their legends. They kuld keep hulk hogan hes just another wannabe. He just want 2 b in tna 4 da money. he wasnt even a good wrestler, the rock, randy orton, triple h, and shawn michaels r way much better. WWE RULES:) ive been watchin it since i was 5 now im 15 nd still lovin it, now i hate john cena he has good mic skills but suks at wrestling randy orton is better in wrestling nd mic skills:)

Kevin, you should have mentioned how this is the exact same transition MTV made a couple years ago to support how much of a non-issue it is. That group is no longer "Music Television" (gee, wonder why!) but now is simply "MTV." Branding as only an acronym isn't uncommon these days. In fact, KFC tried to do it several years back (albeit, they've kinda come back to Kentucky Fried Chicken nowadays).

Wrestlemania from now will be referred to as the "Most Electrifying Event of Sports Entertainment..."

So, why not change the way they announce the card? It's not "Randy Orton VS. C.M. Punk". Just call it "Randy Orton AND C.M. Punk". Like a ballet performance. Is that what they want?

No different than "Chris Jericho and Cheryl Burke", really.

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About Kevin Eck
The Baltimore Sun's Kevin Eck blogs about professional wrestling.
E-mail Kevin.

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