Fans from the Attitude Era no doubt remember Pat Patterson and Gerald Brisco’s on-screen roles as “The Stooges,” Mr. McMahon’s hapless helpers who accompanied him during his ongoing feud with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. Now, wrestling’s “Monday Night Messiah” Seth Rollins has apparently taken it upon himself to play Vince McMahon’s stooge in real life, toeing the corporate line. Unlike the often-hilarious antics of Patterson and Brisco, there’s nothing funny about Rollins or his comments.
Rollins has already established himself as a thin-skinned performer whose replies to fans and non-WWE wrestlers have become the stuff of legend. As ridiculous as some of Rollins’s tweets may be, it’s understandable that one of the top WWE performers would want to defend his
employer the person he independently contracts with.
However, Seth Rollins seems to be more than Vince McMahon’s lapdog, he seems to be Mr. McMahon’s bootlick, toadying up to Vinnie Mac whenever the WWE needs one of “the boys” to talk up how wonderful the WWE is to work for. Let’s take a look at some comments Rollins made when *gasp* people criticized the WWE for letting so many wrestlers go at a time when the company is rumored to have a $500 million cash surplus (although this figure may be inflated). Speaking via Instagram Live, “Seth the Stooge” remarked:
“One thing I am seeing that is a little upsetting to me is all the negativity and hostility towards WWE. This is a difficult day for everyone, for all of us. I think if ever there was a moment for us to unify, for us to kind of band together and to try to do the best we can, to keep this business alive the best we know how, this is that moment. I think pointing fingers or saying you should have done this or you should have done that — I don’t know, it just doesn’t feel like the time or the place for it. I think this is a day for compassion and for empathy and for understanding and to try to support each other, to pick each other up.”
“For all of us who are fortunate at this moment to still be able to, you know, have a position where we can collect a paycheck and support those around us and those who love us I think we have to take it upon ourselves to, you know, work harder to make sure that there’s a place for all those who had it the worse today to come back to.”
“I think as a planet we should rally around the idea that this is only temporary and those who lost their positions and are struggling to figure out what to do next that they’ll be able to make it back from this. Whether that’s with WWE or another organization or a completely new field. This isn’t the end and if we start fighting among ourselves it only makes it worse. So, I encourage you to try to come together over this and try to unify.”
Smithers’s Rollins’s comments may sound inspiring to the general public, anyone who follows wrestling knows how badly wrestlers are treated by promoters, with wrestlers classified as independent contractors, but treated like employees (except when it comes to receiving benefits associated with employees such as paid leave, medical benefits, etc.) Granted, wrestlers have to stand up for themselves, but unless guys at the top like Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, and others take a stand, nothing will change. As noted in a previous column, Vince McMahon sees his performers as a dime a dozen and an undercard can be quickly replaced. However, if the WWE’s main event performers rallied behind the rest of the locker room, the WWE’s Superstars might succeed in being classified as employees.
What’s even worse about Rollins’s comments is that he not only doesn’t do anything to help the undercard, but he’s making the WWE out to be a beleaguered company that’s doing the best it can. Consider these comments from Forbes.com’s Alfred Konuwa:
WWE’s mass layoffs stand in stark juxtaposition to smaller—and poorer—combat sports promotions that are opting to retain staff and ride this out, something that WWE can afford to do more comfortably than just about anybody. Early in the spread of the coronavirus, WWE’s first official statement on the matter reminded investors of its “substantial financial resources, both available cash and debt capacity, which currently total more than $0.5 billion, to manage the challenges ahead.”
As more than one person has pointed out, the WWE’s layoffs and releases seen to be cosmetic as the company prepares for its upcoming quarterly earnings report. If so, Seth is helping out by telling people not to come down hard on the WWE. People should unify (notice he didn’t say unionize). As aggravating as his tweets are, Seth should return to calling out CM Punk rather than serving as the WWE’s stooge.
What do you think of Rollins’s remarks? Let us know in the comments section.