John Cena has always (well, since he stopped rapping) branded himself as the working man’s working man. He’s harped on his Boston upbringing and no-days-off attitude to try to connect with working class lunch pail guys as much as he connects with kids. And what connects with the “everyman” more than a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon?
John Cena’s newest shirt on the WWE Shop was pretty much a PBR can with his likeness on it, prompting people to make immediate comparisons and accusations of the classic no-no of “gimmick infringement.”
Well that didn’t sit well with the good folks in their ivory towers over at PBR City, as they gave Cena’s shirt the old FU (see what I did there?). Not only that, they threatened some legal action and reminded us that Cena has always had a fondness for their beer.
Welp. That’s that.
Actually, this morning I went to the WWE Shop and I couldn’t find the shirt anywhere. Even the link in the tweet takes me to the John Cena store and not directly to the shirt. So it looks like Pabst at least put enough fright into the company that they thought it would be better to simply remove the shirt and cut their losses. Maybe they should leave the beer-related merchandising to the bald-headed guy from Texas from now on.
UPDATE: A WWE spokesman responded to the Pabst claim with the following statement:
“As a content creator, WWE respects trademarks and intellectual property, and therefore will not proceed selling the merchandise, despite it being an original design clearly within fair use.”
For what it’s worth, the shirt did look pretty cool.