KELLER'S TAKE KELLER: A.W.'s reaction to getting fired shows WWE absolutely, positively made the right call in firing him
Aug 11, 2012 - 2:02:55 PM
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By Wade Keller, PWTorch editor
A.W.'s rant after being released from WWE confirms, without any doubt, that WWE made the right decision. He exhibits no awareness of the fact that his job wasn't to "break the mold" but rather play a role on WWE TV shows, which are strategically rated PG in order to accommodate sponsors and a major cable network which generate the money that paid his salary.
He said WWE "made me bold" and "now it has turned its back on me." The Attitude Era ended years before he applied for a job with WWE, years before he ever appeared on a WWE TV show. If he was under the impression he was supposed to act like it was 1999, I don't know who gave him that impression.
He also has a mistaken notion of what "entertainment" means. Regarding the Kobe Bryant rape joke, he said, "(T)o those I upset, I apologize again. Remember it's entertainment, folks."
I'm not sure if people were upset, exactly. I think they were shocked that someone could be so oblivious as to think it was (a) appropriate for the show he was on, and (b) funny and clever.
It would be one thing if his joke was edgy and funny. It was neither. It was not entertaining, as he suggests. It was just hack shock humor that fell flat. It's not that his joke got over with the crowd who demanded more from him, yet WWE shut him down.
Remember, his joke was that his wrestler was so awesomely unstoppable it was just like Kobe - if he actually did what he was accused of - forcing himself into a woman against her will. You know, isn't that awesome! To be so unstoppable in the ring that it's like Kobe's sex drive with a woman who is saying no.
Entertaining? Uh, no. Bad humor, bad taste, not clever. Even in the Attitude Era that he mistakenly thought he was hired to be part of, that would fall flat on every level.
Being shocking isn't difficult. Every colleague A.W. worked with could say stupid shocking stuff like that. What separates A.W. from his colleagues isn't his gift for edgy humor, but rather showing the bad judgment to say it and then the obliviousness to think he's special because he blurted a stupid one-liner that most people have the wisdom to keep to themselves should it even cross their minds.
WWE doesn't need the headache that comes from working with someone so unaware of what it means to work for someone else and follow their rules. If WWE wanted someone to be "edgy" and "controversial," they could do much better than a dated, tasteless, not-funny joke comparing the act of raping a woman against her will to the determination and strength of a wrestler trying to win a match.
He says on his new Twitter page: "Ladies and Gentlemen welcome to my f---ing non PG world!!! Where all bets are off and I tell it like it is. F--- the Bull S---, I'm legit!" (Dash-edits are mine, not his.)
A legit tool. Swearing is not a finely honed skill. He's not proving anything by throwing three swear words into his first non-WWE tweet. Every single person right now reading this could swear three times in a sentence. It doesn't make them cool, edgy, clever, hardcore, or whatever. It just makes them someone who uses one of the lowest forms of communication to try to get attention and try to stand out from the crowd.
The most ironic aspect of his rants was when he wrote "Let this be a lesson to up and coming talent in the WWE; don't try to be great like the Rock or Stone Cold. WWE isn't the same. Just be normal, shut up, and be a yes man so you can collect your check and feel like you're special. Sellouts!"
Wait, A.W. is equating his Kobe rape joke to "trying to be great like the Rock and Stone Cold." Is he serious?
Yes, Austin gave the finger and yes Rock obsessed about shoving things up people's candy asses. They didn't, though, define their acts via thuggish dated rape jokes. They were extremely talented charismatic wrestlers who worked within the system to push the limits to become breakout stars. They had a base of talent, honed through years of hard work at mastering the basics, and then augmented it with an edginess that fit the moment they were in. A.W. told a stupid rape joke in a PG environment. He isn't Steve Austin. He isn't The Rock. He's someone who tells bad rape jokes and swears, and then thinks that makes him awesome and a rebel.
WWE obviously made the right call in releasing him. Let's let that TV time be given to someone with talent that shines without the need to resort to bad jokes and swearing. Anyone who thought WWE overreacted by firing him should, after hearing his response to being fired, know they made the right move.
(Wade Keller is supervising editor and founder of Pro Wrestling Torch. He hosts the PWTorch Livecast on Tuesdays and Fridays, presents the daily Wade Keller Hotline for VIP members, and publishes the PWTorch Newsletter for VIP members every week, among other duties. He has interviewed pro wrestling's top stars in their longest insider interviews in their careers including Hulk Hogan, The Rock, Steve Austin, Goldberg, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Eric Bischoff, Vince Russo, and many others.)
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PWTorch editor Wade Keller has covered pro wrestling full time since 1987 starting with the Pro Wrestling Torch print newsletter. PWTorch.com launched in 1999 and the PWTorch Apps launched in 2008.
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