There’s a lot going on. A lot of uncertainty, and I’m not anywhere near a position to form any sort of plan out of this. Every one of us has had days where we can live as close to previously normal as possible, and days where it’s all crashing down and it hurts inside. Today was a bad day for where my interests meet. I’ve been on Twitter all day reacting. Good friends (hey, Will!) that aren’t as wrapped up in wrestling as I am had differing reactions. My wife entertained my reactions but I can tell she also was thinking these are people we don’t know. All true and valid thoughts and opinions from them both. My reactions are too long for a tweet or a quick kitchen conversation. So here goes…
As of me writing this WWE has fired about 30 people probably more. Wrestlers, agents, writers, referees, and most likely there’s more to come. WWE frequently has a big talent cut once a year. It happens. It’s better to take the money spent on a talent who you don’t see a future in and redistribute that money to talent or work that could be more profitable. That’s just business. In the majority of jobs across the country things could happen which aren’t personal or a reflection on you. It’s just time for our ways to part.
That’s in normal times.
In Coronavirus times though, WWE just let go of dozens of people with more coming who now have no where else to work in their industry. The only other company running shows in the United States right now is AEW and whether they taped a lot in advance or are being secretive now is unknown, but either way they’re not in a position to hire a lot of new talent right now. Usually a released WWE wrestler can work for another company in the States, or travel to other countries. Neither of which are an option right now. Some will say they can find other jobs. Lots of places hiring right now. True. How many are paying what these men and women were making in WWE? How many of these jobs will cover their mortgage and other bills right now? That are also available near their homes because they can’t travel that far.
“Lots of people lost their jobs recently.” Also true. Very true. Many of which happened because their place of business closed due to not being essential. Your TJ Maxx, Kohl’s and the like are closed. (There’s that pay difference again too.) The people who worked at those stores have no money because those stores were closed by powers above them. Stores like Walmart, Target, and even Big Lots and Dollar Tree are still open and staff paid because they’re deemed essential. Many of these stores are hiring extra help to keep up with the essential work.
Much like the Governor of Florida decreed WWE to also be. An essential business which then begins massive lay offs. Yes, there are hospitals laying people off, and we all agree that’s some crap. However, I can’t find any of these hospitals which also made an $18 million donation earlier in the week.
WWE made an $18 million dollar donation to a super PAC in Florida right before being named an essential business. Coincidentally of course. In a press release for stock holders they announce half a billion in holdings. The success of their TV deals. The XFL just folded and it was revealed money from WWE was put into the upstart football league. There is money there and available to continue to pay employees until other avenues open up. You have to save the money as a corporation, that’s fine and makes sense. But to throw workers out into no options is heartless. Wait until other companies are making shows or people can travel, and then release the wrestlers. At least then they have options to earn a check. You cant show off your expensive new toys and then wail that you have no money at the same time.
Also, last night Vice TV played the latest episode of The Dark Side of the Ring about Jimmy Superfly Snuka. Heavily implying that Vince McMahon paid off local police to look the other way after Snuka was most likely responsible for the death of his girlfriend. Deflection worked because no one’s talking about that today.
It’s also upsetting to see men and women who drove themselves to the PC in Florida (cant fly) to work in an empty arena, possibly expose themselves to Covid-19 (at least one confirmed case in WWE already), and then days later are fired.
Today also would be new comic book day. If there were any new comics to release. All of comic publishing is on hold until who knows when. Most of the stores are closed because they’re not essential. This is a long chain of people not getting paid. Creators cant create (or get paid) so the companies cant send product that the distributor cant ship and the stores cant sell. And no one gets paid along the way. There’s a real good change that many shops close up, publishers close, and creators are searching for other work outside of anything to do with comics. Right now, I’m waiting to see if there’s an update from my local shop for pick up/delivery this week because I was able to get a couple bucks together. Not much, but at least I can do something.
And that’s where it all came together for me. The wrestling, the comics, the rants I posted today, the exasperation from my wife and friends hearing said rants. It all came together in my desire to get some comics.
There is no greater escape than super powered battles of good versus evil. I get to find those in endless hours and endless issues of wrestling and comic books. It can trigger any emotion the human body can form but in the end it’s always detached from reality. Our most emotional moments are when dreams or nightmares become reality. The guy that was never meant to win the world title clutches it in his arms and cries onto the belt. Crying our eyes out when someone has to retire or dies far too early. The loudest sounds in the world for moments. Moments like hearing Edge’s music as he surprise returns at this year’s Royal Rumble after being told he’d never wrestle again 9 years ago. Moments like “Avengers… Assemble” and 10 years of movies plus decades upon decades of loving comic books only for the world to crap all over it becomes worth it.
And right now neither wrestling nor comic books are helping me to escape the current reality. I’m not working right now and wont be until who knows when. My kid doesn’t have school right now and to be honest I don’t think he’s going back this school year. My wife is getting crazy work hours and extra money but only because she works at a grocery store and is risking her health every single minute she’s there in order to make money to support our family. Two days ago we find out that an apartment complex that I can see out the window right now has two positive cases of Coronavirus.
Reality. Sucks. And I can’t think about it nor stay in the real world for too long or else like many of us I will break down. Being introverted helps. I didn’t go out and see people very much before this. Doing podcasts helps, I can talk to people. Writing helps to get something out. But I also know if I’m less upset with what’s happening in WWE, or comics, or other interests then I instead have to accept a huge bitter new reality. That being: I have no idea how long we’ll be staying home, I have no idea what is and is not guaranteed after, I can’t be sure my job is safe after, I can’t be sure school won’t drastically change, I can’t guarantee money, I can’t guarantee my wife’s safety and I have to fear what I would do without her every day, and I can’t ensure that any elected official is going to protect me and my family for however long this lasts. 2 weeks to 2 years depending on who you talk to and when. Nope, that just changed. And in the time it took me to write this it changed again.
I could yell at state or federal government all day long, but I don’t think for a moment anyone would listen. Which increases the anxiety and uncertainty. But I have to get this stress, this fear of the unknown, out in some fashion. “I have no mouth and I must scream.”
So myself and others like me complain about comic book shipping practices. And we say Vince McMahon is a horrible person. And it helps us all get through to tomorrow. Wearing masks, six feet apart, and desperately wanting someone to give us an escape but how when our escape artists got fired?