CANOE Network SLAM!Sports

 
SLAM! Sports SLAM! Wrestling
  Sep 14, 2000



News & Rumours
Bios
Obits
Canadian Hall of Fame
WrestleMania 30
WrestleMania 30 photos
Video
Movie Database
Minority Mat Report
Columnists
Features
Results Archive
PPV Reviews
SLAM! Wrestling store
On Facebook
On Twitter
Send Feedback




Photo Galleries

Raw in Miami


Tragos/Thesz Hall of Fame inductions


WWE Battleground


ROH in Detroit


Smackdown & Main Event in Ottawa


Raw in Montreal


WWE in Kingston







SCOREBOARD
PHOTO GALLERY
VIDEO GALLERY
COMMENT




READER ALERT: For all the latest wrestling happenings, check out our News & Rumours section.

SLAM! Wrestling Editorial: The WWF's war on Internet sites: The letters
 Last week, John Molinaro wrote about The WWF's war on Internet sites and it hit the 'Net like few columns have before. We heard from Jim Ross of the WWF in his Ross Report, the WWF in both Stamford and Toronto, and a wide variety of readers and other columnists from other sites and media outlets.
 A back-and-forth debate online between SLAM! Wrestling and the WWF isn't the answer to either of our problems, and it leaves out the most important part in the whole equation: You, the fans. You support both the WWF and SLAM! Wrestling and for that we thank you. So this week, instead of an editorial, we're turning the forum over to you, printing your letters in response to John's column.


Reader Feedback

  • September 7:The WWF's war on Internet sites


  • Hey John, just wanted to let you know that I thought your last column on the WWF's manipulation of the media was excellent. It is good that the public gets to see the darker side of the WWF.

    I just hope you don't lump us Canadian Press reporters in with the rest of the ignorant mainstream media.

    It tells you something of the reporters sent to cover the WWF when I spend half the time at an event explaining to the other members of the media who the wrestlers are and what they are about. Unfortunately wrestling still does not have an air of respectibility in newsrooms around the country and is still considered more of a circus sideshow than a legitimate form of entertainment.

    No reporter worth his/her salt would go into an interview not knowing anything about their subjects, but wrestling isn't treated as a serious subject.

    It's somewhat ironic that the same members of the media that treat wrestling with the least amount of respect are the ones who the WWF seeks to gain the most coverage from.

    It seems that the WWF would rather have ignorant reporters asking the same old questions "Is it fake?", or "does it hurt", than actually telling the true stories and really getting to know the personalities and learning more about the business.

    In a sense, by shutting out the media who would give the wrestling industry the most fair and accurate coverage, the WWF continues to stunt the development of the industry's image in the eyes of the public.

    If that is the price of being shielded from informed criticism, then I guess the WWF is willing to pay.

    Steven D'Souza, Canadian Press

    Another theory is this: with that company going more mainstream, garnering more mainstream media coverage, the pie can be split only so many ways. The wrestlers have a heavy schedule as it is. If they are going to spend some of their free time with the media doing interviews and promotions, there has to be pick and choose. And things like MTV award shows, political conventions, and mainstream papers appear to be what the wrestlers' bosses are choosing, displacing smaller mediums like the wrestling web sites.

    umbuttse@cc.UManitoba.CA

    Remember, the article about WWF marks calling themselves journalists? Remember what John Powell said about mouthpieces for the company? Remember the part about Nimby the Wonder monkey!!? Well that should tell you a lot about Jim Ross!

    Jerilyn Bridges

    Thank you for, in one article, summarizing everything I believe about the WWF and Vince McMahon's Machavellian art of controlling the media as he wishes. Your web page doesn't even try to go out and "dig the dirt" in a hurtful way, and yet still the company is wary of you. Fight the good fight, because there are some people who have been following wrestling a lot longer than the Johnny-come-latelys that know the real truth.

    Bryce Mcneil

    Good work on the WWF column. They'll come back to the Internet sites when their fortunes fall in three or four years. Right now they don't need us. Don't forget, we are "wrestling" sites, and the WWF hasn't been interested in "wrestling" for quite some time.

    Don Lebarba, 1wrestling.com

    I hope my favorite wrestling pen has not been silenced by the comments of Jim Ross. His argument was about as pathetic and unbelievable as a feature article by WWF.com staff writers. It had all the substance of his fabled barbeque sauce. The man's a rather good announcer but his writing fails to bring about the suspension of disbelief required to swallow his line. In our last communication you said you'd keep writing if I kept reading. Keep writing, John. And remember: You can't conceal the whole story until you've walked a mile in Jim Ross' hat.

    don.stradley@haledorr.com
    It seems very Big Brother of them. Part of the challenge of reporting is to get that gut reaction from an athlete following competition. To remove that whole "lockerroom" interview -- that is a spontaneous occurrence -- is to remove the heart of any reporter's job. We are not here to simply regurgitate the company line, but to delve and ask questions on the fly -- questions we have not run past a PR flak. Our job is to get "real" answers and not those that have been "taught" to the athlete by a media-machine such as the WWF.

    It seems very hypocritical for the WWF to restrict media coverage by suddenly saying all interviews must be approved beforehand, when they have relied so heavily on the press to build their entertainment empire in the first place. It seems they only want to ensure good press or coverage by sources they deem "beneficial" (i.e. Rolling Stone, etc.). It is absurd by them to try to enforce this type of censorship, I'm not surprised as the world of professional wrestling is one that is all image and in that respects is unlike any other sport. In baseball there are negative results that occur from athletes speaking their mind to media, but in the WWF all the negative results are the careful manipulations of the image machine behind it, i.e. if you hear a negative story about Steve Austin it's because they want you to.

    Jon Cook, SLAM! Sports Baseball writer
    I have been following the John Molinaro/Jim Ross debate quite closely. I think that their difference of opinion is of great interest to all wrestling journalists. While I cannot speak of the problems others have run into, I can offer what has happened to me.

    While working on my audio show at 411wrestling.com with Jonathan Widro, and writing at Scoopswrestling.com, I tried to book WWF guests daily. I contacted the WWF Canada office and the main office, and left messages which were never returned. I contacted some of the wrestlers directly (through their agents) and was told that even though they approve of the interviews, their hands are tied until everything was "approved" by the office. I was referred to Adam Hopkins of the WWF's Public Relations department who was very pleasant on the phone and asked me to fax over exactly what was needed on my company's letterhead. I did this, and received no response. Again, I left several messages on the voice mail of the public relations department at the main WWF office to no response.

    I think that when Mr. Ross said that his office has never been contacted by an "outside website" he forgot to mention the fact that this is nearly impossible considering all of the red tape that is needed to be cut through.

    Personally, I have no problems with the WWF's policy of monitoring interviews. If I ran a business, I would want to make sure that all my employees were on the same page when speaking to the media, to ensure office solidarity. I do have a problem, with the unprofessional manner in which the WWF has conducted themselves in regards to their own policy. You cannot tell me to go through the trouble of faxing over interview requests, schedules, and company background information, and then not follow-up. You cannot say that the office will approve interviews, and then not return messages.

    I cannot understand why the World Wrestling Federation is turning down free exposure at sites like Slam!. I was willing to have all my questions monitored, and still received no response.

    I am glad that John's column was read and replied to by Mr. Ross, because at least I know the message was delivered. The paragraph that Mr. Ross devoted to John's column, is more than I have ever gotten in my pursuit to land any WWF interview.

    Murtz Jaffer, TSN, ScoopsWrestling.com, 411wrestling.com
    When I interviewed Mick Foley about Beyond the Mat last year, Barry Blaustein later told me that the WWF was not happy with it and wouldn't let me interview Mick about his book.

    It is standard procedure for any entertainment or sports entity to require a reporter to go through the public relations department to get an interview. I know of very few sports teams who would be willing to let their stars be interviewed by a website. Newspapers and other print or televised media have a reputation for responsible reporting in most cases and can easily be held accountable. The Internet largely isn't mature enough to deserve that reputation.

    One other thing you have to remember is that most wrestling websites just haphazardly report rumors and have plenty of opinion columns that bear only a slight resemblance to the truth. It mostly is tabloid style reporting and you damned sure don't see Jerry Seinfeld or Brad Pitt giving interviews to tabloids.

    Of course, personally, I don't like it. I would love to be able to talk to anyone in the WWF I wanted at any time. I also think it is their right to control what their employees say to the media to protect the image of the company.

    Ben Miller, Wrestleline
    I read both your column on the availability of WWF wrestlers for interviews and JR's comments in his report. I'd just like to say that as much as I love the WWF and the product they put out, I agree with what you say. The WWF clearly believes that wrestling Internet sites will take away some of their thunder, and they think that people will turn to wrestling sites for their information and recaps instead of watching Raw and Smackdown! Also, the suits there think that by talking to wrestling sites, the real truth will come out on certain situations (WWF voters, etc). SLAM! being the most credible wrestling site on the web, I would think the WWF would value any opportunity to speak to them. I will continue to watch both WWF and visit SLAM! Wrestling, but I know in this case SLAM! wins, hands down.

    Tyler Ledvina, Fairhaven, MA
    I think any multi-(b)million dollar corporation should and can do what it likes with it's business. I totally understand the media has it's job to do, but why should they (WWF) let other businesses on the Internet compete with their own product?

    It would be like having someone who works at, say, "Burger Baron" get an interview with someone who works at "McDonalds" on what's in the Big Mac for their own website. Why should they (McDonalds) comply when they can put out whatever they want on their own site?

    I know the answer is, "It's free advertising and people can read what the wrestlers are really like."

    I know SLAM! is a credible group, but, let's face it, a lot of the wrestling sites are dirtsheets that, I think, ruin it for everyone, by printing whatever idiotic rumours they can think of. All it takes is one bad apple to spoil the bunch. The only credible ones in my mind are yours, wrestleline.com and wrestlingtorch.com.

    I feel the WWF is just protecting their self-interests and I guess I have no problem with that.

    For the most part, I think people who go the the WWF web site are either the Internet smarts who can smell a spin-doctored interview a mile away and will just read the "Ross Report," or the casual young fan who will read what their favorite wrestler, like "The Rock" or "HHH" has to say and not even know what the word "spin-doctor" means and probably couldn't care less if the interview was manufactured. Whether or nor not that's a good thing, I don't know. I'm sure when they get older, they can go to the other sites and determine what's the truth and what isn't.

    Brent Shepherd
    Wow - you really opened up on the WWF! Aren't ya a little worried that the chances of getting that elusive interview just disapeared?..Oh! I get it.

    D.T. Andrews
    I think that the reason why the WWF refuses interviews with wrestling Internet sites is because of some of the reasons you've mentioned. But there's something else to it as well. If nobody talks about what's going on, stories can't get spilled, lies can't get started, and thus less disension in the locker room. Perhaps WCW should have looked into this a long time ago. Because you almost never hear of dissension in the WWF locker room, but like any other locker room, there HAS to be. Because nobody gets a long with everybody, it's just that the WWF blocks all the entrances. Oh well, I guess it just makes reporters work harder.

    Jobberman
    I only have one question for you regarding your last column about the WWF. If what you say is true, how come we often see Chris Benoit, Edge, Christian and the likes on Live audio wrestling? They often ask questions that could possibly put them into trouble...

    Is Live Audio Wrestling considered mainstream?

    Pascal Trepanier
    Brilliant article...I have had some information about Lita that I had been trying to confirm and everyone seems scared to answer my question and I have always wondered why.

    Marlon Andrews
    It's not just wrestling Internet sites. It's also Wrestling Talk Show's like mine "The Pain Clinic Pro-Wrestling Talk Show." I am the producer and co-host and I spend a lot of time contacting the WWF requesting superstars to come on our show and plug local shows and PPVs and unfortunately the WWF has the attitude that since we cover wrestling that they already have our audience. Why win over something they already have. If we were a sports talk show or conservative political talk show, then that would be another story.

    My philosophy is to continue to plug for the interviews and if the WWF ever dips to #2, then I will remember that when they offer folks (like they did when they were #2 before) to me.

    I agree 100% with you and I hope that they realize your point.

    Rich "Richie Rich" Jones, Producer/Co-Host, The Pain Clinic Pro-Wrestling Talk Show, Hot Talk 1280 WHTK

    P.S. Our last interview that we set-up through the WWF's office was last April and Shane McMahon, head of the Internet division. How ironic.

    Past editorials




    Know someone who might be interested in this page? Just type in their e-mail address to send them the URL.

    Destination email address:


    Your email address: