Murphy’s Law – Wrestling with politics

Joel Murphy

Joel Murphy

As former WWE CEO (and current wife of WWE mastermind Vince McMahon) Linda McMahon’s Senate race against Richard Blumenthal heats up in Connecticut, her opponent is using her ties to the wrestling organization to cast her in a negative light. Congress’ steroid investigation in the early 90s, the WWE’s decision to classify wrestlers as independent contractors instead of employees and clauses in performers’ contracts that protect the company in the event of injury or death have all been brought up by Blumenthal during the campaign. Criticisms about the WWE’s portrayal of women have also been an issue for McMahon during the race.

In response, Linda’s husband Vince has launched an Internet campaign entitled “Stand Up for WWE” which encourages fans to post messages on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter defending the company. The WWE’s website currently features a video with its employees talking about what a great company they work for (no wrestlers appear in the video, just “normal looking” long-term employees who were no doubt carefully selected to showcase just how diverse a workplace it is). Linda McMahon’s campaign manager claims that Vince and the WWE started this initiative without consulting Linda or her campaign, which is about as believable as current WWE Champion Randy Orton’s chinlock-based offense.

The fact that Vince McMahon feels the need to devote airtime on his precious wrestling shows to defend his company shows that he and his wife are concerned about Blumenthal’s attacks. But I don’t really think Linda’s association with the company is really a liability. It may have been back in the old days, before Jesse Ventura was elected governor (thanks to his successful “Minnesota ain’t got time to bleed” campaign), but these days politics have become just as much of a spectacle as Monday Night Raw. Truth be told, the WWE wishes they had characters as colorful and outlandish as those found in this year’s elections.

One of Vince McMahon’s most enduring creations is The Undertaker, a Gothic character who has been known to come down to the ring carrying an urn, which he uses as a weapon, while flanked by an army of druids. The Undertaker’s dark persona stand in stark contrast to WWE wrestler C.M. Punk, who recently was the leader of an organization called the “Straight Edge Society” and who evangelically preaches a pure, drug-free lifestyle.

While both of these characters are entertaining in their own right, this year’s elections have combined their most memorable attributes to create an even more outlandish character – Christine O’Donnell. Not only did she have to release a campaign ad claiming that she is not a witch (thanks to reports that she dabbled in witchcraft back in the day), but she also went around preaching abstinence and speaking out against masturbation. Get her some catchy theme music and put her in a match against a bikini-clad Kelly Kelly and you’ve got yourself a memorable WWE feud.

But it’s not just O’Donnell who is outshining the WWE these days with her larger-than-life persona. In fact, she is part of a popular subset of the G.O.P. known as the Tea Party. While I think the name of the faction could be a bit catchier (it seems a little boring for merchandising purposes), clearly this group is attempting to take over the Republican party, much like the n.W.o. attempted to take over WCW in the 90s. Recruiting Sarah Palin and staging passionate rallies are a good start to the revolution, Tea Party, but if you really want to make an impact, start attacking the old guard during their speeches and spray painting “TP” on their backs after you render them unconscious. You should recruit some established Republicans (and perhaps Democrats too) to have dramatic heel turns where they rip off their suit jackets and dress shirts to reveal Tea Party t-shirts underneath. I suggest renting Bash at the Beach ’96 for some helpful tips.

Even local politicians like Phil Davidson, who ran for treasurer in Stark County, Ohio are showing they have what it takes to make it in the squared circle. In case you missed his impassioned speech last month (which went viral), Davidson stood behind a podium and spoke with an intensity reminiscent of Mick Foley’s early Mankind promos. Davidson worked the room and worked himself up into a lather, even implementing a brief call-and-response moment with an audience member (“Desperate measures, yes!”). All he needed was a steel chair or a barbed wire baseball bat to wave around and I would have given him a shot at the title on the spot.

But all of these superstars pale in comparison to newcomer Jimmy McMillan, who made a big impact Monday night during the New York gubernatorial televised debate. All eyes were on Democrat Andrew Cuomo and Republican Carl Paladino, but McMillan, representing the “Rent Is 2 Damn High” party, stole the show. McMillan is the real deal – with the natural charisma of The Rock and amazing facial hair that puts Hulk Hogan to shame. He sat on stage in a stylish suit and black gloves, repeating his “Rent Is 2 Damn High” catchphrase, touting his karate skills and rattling off memorable one-liners, like his pro-gay marriage quip: “If you want to marry a shoe, I’ll marry you.” If I was Vince McMahon, I would sign McMillan to a long-term contract immediately (and I’d make sure the contract was lucrative, since, from what I hear, McMillan’s rent is too damn high).

So while I appreciate Vince McMahon’s desire to help out his wife with his “Stand Up for WWE” campaign, I think the best move in today’s political climate would be to simply dial up Linda’s intensity to 11 and have her launch into a WWE-style tirade against her opponent. She has access to some of the best promo guys in the business today, so why not embrace her WWE ties and treat this whole race like a feud? Surely Vince and Co. can concoct an angle that will have Linda looking like a babyface and Blumenthal playing the heel.

Or, if that fails, she can always join up with the Tea Party and challenge Jimmy McMillian and Blumenthal to a steel cage match at Survivor Series.

Joel Murphy is the creator of HoboTrashcan, which is probably why he has his own column. He loves pugs, hates Jimmy Fallon and has an irrational fear of robots. You can contact him at murphyslaw@hobotrashcan.com.

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