As things evolved and the internet blew up, we went from newsletters being mailed out weekly, to web sites and blogs churning things out in a 24×7 cycle. A near constant stream of news and opinions, and a world where everyone wants to know everything about everyone. If kayfabe was taking a hit with the newsletters, and took a major shot with the Kliq/MSG incident? Social media and the internet very well may have completely killed it. Look on wikipedia, and you can pretty much learn any wrestler’s real name, personal information and more. And it’s not exactly like the wrestlers, or WWE, make it too terribly difficult, either. Many wrestlers have Facebook and Twitter and other social media, and while it’s been embraced as a way to reach out to fans, it changes the dynamic. And then WWE embraces another avenue, reality TV, most notably with Total Divas. Anyone who has seen it knows that while you get some of the Divas in character, any time you get Mr. and Mrs. Danielson on screen, he is Bryan. Not Daniel, as WWE fans know him from RAW and other programs.
So, with news of Lana and Rusev’s engagement breaking recently, and Vince McMahon rumored to be not-so-happy about the news getting out, I have one question to ask. Can WWE really be mad about it?
In 1985, it was easy to keep things quieter. The veil of illusion was not impossible to maintain. The internet was just a pipe dream, no one had heard of reality television, and people were happy to just be entertained by guys named Hulk Hogan, Brutus the Barber Beefcake and others. No one cared to know that those guys were really Terry Bollea and Ed Leslie. But now? Now that information is super-common.
And, when it comes to news stories, WWE is still a big name, and the wrestlers are in many cases, larger than life. Someone like Rusev has a hard time going somewhere and not being noticed, and someone like Lana? She attracts attention. Vince might not like it, but his talent will have lives outside of the squared circle, and in this day and age where everything is recorded and everyone has a camera or three on them, it’s exceedingly rare for something to happen that wasn’t chronicled by someone. So, if two wrestlers, or a wrestler and a Diva are an item, odds are it’s going to be known, and by many, quickly. So while Vince had Lana and Rusev on opposing sides of a feud, he also should have known that in real life, they were romantically attached, and planned accordingly. He can be mad all he wants, but unless they were sneaking around and no one knew about their relationship, then he can’t be mad at anyone but himself. And even if they were keeping things private, as much as they are Superstars in the public eye, why should it matter if they want to have some tiny semblance of a private lives?
Even if McMahon and company didn’t embrace social media, the internet and reality television as they have, things like wikipedia and blog sites like this one would have an abundance of news, gossip and opinion about all of his wrestlers. In this era, it’s inevitable. But if he had done, or was doing, his best to maintain that secrecy and mystery around his roster, I could understand his anger over a paparazzi shot blowing up a mid-card program. But he doesn’t try to keep them out of the public eye, so having him-or anyone else in WWE-be upset that their globally recognized talents become a news item? And that news item alters a storyline? That’s just absurd. You can’t push your talents constantly and in every medium known to man, and then get upset when one of those mediums pushes them too, just in a way you had no control over. I suppose, if anything, I am just surprised that it took this long for something like this to happen.