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Cult Icon
04-01-2019, 12:26 AM
I take it no one saw John Oliver going after WWE tonight?

Gooner
04-01-2019, 06:39 AM
Yeah I just watched it. It's pretty brutal, if perhaps skewed a little too much towards burying Vince (for example, they didn't mention how WWE provides rehab for all ex-wrestlers and a lot of the clips were more than 10, 15 years ago).

But yeah, some pretty valid points there, especially with the contract situation. And the Vince interview where he slaps the reporters papers is cringe-worthy.

comfortablynumb
04-01-2019, 08:29 AM
He did mention WWE provided rehab for past wrestlers, very quickly, but it was mentioned.

I watch John Oliver every week so it was surprising to hear "And tonight's main topic is ... the WWE."

I do agree it was essentially the same old - but still very valid - talking points. It seemed like something that could have run 10 years ago though minus a few more-recent events. Still not a good look heading into Wrestlemania though.

Gooner
04-01-2019, 09:18 AM
It must have been quick cos I certainly didn't hear it mentioned

comfortablynumb
04-01-2019, 09:32 AM
Very quickly. 16:01 mark.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m8UQ4O7UiDs

Gooner
04-01-2019, 01:13 PM
Can't see the video (must be US only), but I take your word for it!

Cult Icon
04-01-2019, 01:55 PM
WWE has released a statement refuting every point Oliver made in the video (I guess including that video where Vince clearly mocks a reporter for asking why he feels no responsibility towards wrestler's deaths) and have invited him to appear at Wrestlemania. I can tell you now that won't be happening, as Oliver is taping his show that night (as he does almost every Sunday).

LK3185
04-01-2019, 03:08 PM
The only real play this has gotten is wrestling twitter up in arms over John Oliver joking that Roman Reigns looks like a pedophile.

I didn't care about the subject matter because its been done to death but that's a really bad joke to make and not even funny (I've seen that clip) which has seemed to undermine his whole point of the segment.

comfortablynumb
04-01-2019, 03:31 PM
I definitely think it was not Oliver's best stuff, but it sure got WWE's attention.

LK3185
04-01-2019, 03:45 PM
Having watched the full clip, its not bad. Besides the Roman joke they should have cut... I would have added that WWE does pay for guys to go to rehab sometimes if not all the time. Also, I was a bit surprised when talking about wrestlers dying they didn't mention Owen or steroids really.

And some of it comes off dated considering the era we're in now.

Cult Icon
04-01-2019, 04:55 PM
He did mention Owen; it was brief, but right after they played the clip of Bret Hart from Wrestling with Shadows Oliver clearly brings up what happened to Owen. He also did mention that WWE does pay for rehab and that they cover surgeries for when talent is injured in the ring, but clearly went on to state that offering to pay for rehab means little when the environment is set up to put people in that position and that more needed to be done. Which is correct by my estimation.


I personally thought it was very fair and very damning. Oliver made it perfectly clear that he's a fan of wrestling (in fact, he made it clear numerous times) and was coming from a place where he wanted to help wrestlers and the wrestling business as a whole, not hurt it. Yes some of the information was dated and yes this subject has been talked about to death but I don't think that matters much when clearly very little has changed with these issues. The fact of the matter is that these wrestlers are still listed as Independent Contractors even though they aren't allowed to wrestle anywhere else and are told when, where and who to work with; you know, like employees. And yet they aren't. The fact remains that wrestler's don't have access to health insurance, pension plans and the works when they should. And filmed in 2003 or not, the clips of Roddy Piper talking about how the wrestling business is set up such that he won't be able to live past 65 (exactly what happened) and Vince McMahon mocking and bullying an HBO interviewer after questioned about why he doesn't feel responsible/have remorse for the number of wrestler's dying is horrifying. Maybe it didn't break any new ground but considering this is an issue that has needed to be addressed publicly for a long time, I thought it did a hell of a job.

The only, and I mean only, blip on the show was the Roman joke. And the only reason I had a problem with that is because a) it wasn't that funny and b) I knew immediately that all the wrong people would latch on to that to discredit the report. In the end though, aside from now being that funny, it wasn't that big of a deal (Oliver and Stephen Colbert often go to the "looks comparison" joke) and it was really more about Roman's wet hair and rejection of fans than Roman itself. Anyone seeing a bigger deal beyond that but then throwing cold water on the rest of the bit is very worrying to me.

LK3185
04-01-2019, 05:22 PM
I haven't seen people discredit the segment because of the Roman joke; Most agree with his points. Just that by doing that joke which again wasn't funny, is the primary takeaway for some and that's unfortunate.

Then again, because the segment was pretty spot on albeit a bit dated, there's not really much to add or debate. Anyone arguing against wrestlers getting better health care is a moron.

Team Farrell
04-01-2019, 05:28 PM
I'd say that there were a number of issues with it. The majority watching aren't going to be knowledgeable wrestling fans, and that's where the issues come from.

He speaks briefly about Owen and plays the clip of Bret "talking about his former employer". Factually, that statement is accurate. What he fails to bring up though is the context that Bret made those statements in a documentary that covered him being screwed over by the company at a time where he had nothing but terrible things to say about it, and then he came back into the fold less than a decade later. He also puts things in a specific order to imply that Bret made those comments about his brother's death.

No context to the HBO documentary was given. You got a clip of McMahon being lashing out in frustration and becoming sarcastic during an interview. The missing context is that not 30 seconds later, McMahon states flat out that (at the time 16 years ago) the majority of those people had worked much of their careers for other companies as well and he admits that there was a time that wrestling was a rock and roll lifestyle. What he also leaves out is that the entire Real Sports documentary took the perspective that the wrestling business with stupid at best, evil at worst and that WWE agreed to let Vince do the interview (knowing that they'd be coming in to try and make him look as bad as possible) because they knew that if they didn't they'd have no input and HBO would go out of their way to make them look worse.

We have all of this context seared into our brains but so many people don't.

The part that stands out to me is that they used a 2003 HBO Real Sports doc. That's 16 years ago. That's pre-Wellness Policy. That's before WWE started offing to send anyone who'd ever worked for them to rehab. That's before WWE made a point of having financial and health experts speak with their roster on a semi-regular basis. Hell, even the CM Punk stuff is more than a half decade ago. The company is seemingly a completely different place in 2019 when it comes to health and safety. That doesn't make his point that things could be better for wrestlers wrong, but it makes it seem like his information is a little outdated.

It's not a terrible segment, it's far from a hit piece, and he makes some good points. But it's very clear that he had a stance he wanted to take, and picked and chose portions of clips to support that stance without the surrounding context. The context is important because the first half is used to set up Vince as an asshole business owner (he flat out says it), and then he uses that point of view to make the rest of his point that he's screwing wrestlers. That context is important because the context takes the clips from "Owen Hart died while working for WWE and Bret says that they treat you like animals and put you down when your time is over," to "Bret was on the outs with the company and made those comments, a year later his brother died while working for WWE."

Again, it's not that bad. Ultimately it's a late night comedy news show host taking shots at something that he enjoys in order to hopefully help make the lives of those involved better. You can't fault the guy for that. I more or less agree with him that things could be better, but it's hard to say if the employee route is the answer.

Alan
04-07-2019, 10:57 AM
No context to the HBO documentary was given. You got a clip of McMahon being lashing out in frustration and becoming sarcastic during an interview. The missing context is that not 30 seconds later, McMahon states flat out that (at the time 16 years ago) the majority of those people had worked much of their careers for other companies as well and he admits that there was a time that wrestling was a rock and roll lifestyle. What he also leaves out is that the entire Real Sports documentary took the perspective that the wrestling business with stupid at best, evil at worst and that WWE agreed to let Vince do the interview (knowing that they'd be coming in to try and make him look as bad as possible) because they knew that if they didn't they'd have no input and HBO would go out of their way to make them look worse.

It's funny you mention that. Someone out there actually excavated clips of Meltzer's old call-in radio show from those years (early 2000s) and Meltzer (and various callers) discussed that appearance, and also Vince's equally astonishing interview with Bob Costas (where Vince also acted like a buffoon), and Meltzer basically said then that Vince looks so bad, and doesn't even realize it. In Meltzer's review of the Oliver clip a few days ago, he mentioned that he thought at the time that it was a very bad look for Vince, and watching it again, he still thinks it's a bad look.

I don't think adding more context to the situation would have made Vince look any better or more understandable. He acted petulantly and badly, and that was apparently the perception back then, among wrestling fans, as well as the mainstream media, and it still is today.

The reporter was calm, and asked a pretty obvious question, that any reporter worth two cents would ask in any industry with similar circumstances if he were interviewing a CEO. It was a total layup that every scumbag CEO (who has maintained bad working conditions and denied his workers benefits) in such a situation would probably respond to with some per-rehearsed moralistic claptrap nonsense about 'personal responsibility'. Instead Vince acted like a clown, showing no appreciation or awareness of the seriousness of the circumstances. In fact, in any other publicly traded company, this would probably be a big scandal and the CEO would probably have to make a public apology, and possibly even resign, but because it's wrestling, which is viewed as beneath contempt by serious people, it didn't turn into a major scandal.