If you want to see a version of WWE from an alternate universe, check out the company’s “first-ever WWE Community Impact Report,” a slideshow that promotes all the positive things the company does (and some it arguably doesn’t.) This report, and WWE’s coronavirus awareness PSA that doesn’t mention social distancing, have been released just as WWE started running live wrestling shows multiple times a week, circumventing a stay-at-home order by after deemed, along with other sports and media, an “essential business” by the state of Florida.
For anyone who follows WWE, this slideshow is incredible. The phrase “putting smiles on faces” is used so many times you’d think a wrestling fan wrote this as a parody. Alongside descriptions of their legitimate charity work with organizations like the Special Olympics, UNICEF, and The Make-A-Wish Foundation, WWE makes sure to mention their “in-kind media support” and the millions of views it has generated. There’s also a statement that WWE promotes “a culture of inclusion” for everyone, “regardless of age, race, religion, sexual orientation, or physical or intellectual ability” that recalls not only decades of angles that give a different impression, but that just last night Jerry Lawler said something so racist about a wrestler on Raw that it was edited out of the Hulu version of the show.
Even if it’s geared towards only people who don’t keep up with wrestling, the Community Impact Report is still a brazen PR move considering:
- WWE running live shows during a pandemic has been picked up by outlets like ESPN, CNN, NBC News, and many other major media outlets
- two of the biggest WWE-related stories to get mainstream media coverage over the past few years have been about its deal with the government of Saudi Arabia and how the company doesn’t give its wrestlers healthcare
- the Jimmy Snuka episode of Dark Side Of The Ring airs tonight