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Monday, July 21, 2014

WWE Responds to Lana-gate - It's Not Offensive, You're Just Ignorant

World Wrestling Entertainment finally responded to criticism lobbied against them because of Lana's anti-USA promo from Battleground. 

After the story began to make the rounds on some very big publications (and I'd like to think BZ85 had the most impact), Vince and company had no choice but to come out on the defense.

It's a pretty standard tactic with WWE. I've lost count of how many times they've done something stupid and tasteless, ignored criticism to it, then came out with a half assed apology to shut up the masses while still defending themselves. There was the Katie Vick thing, the Iraqi sympathizer angle, the RTC group, etc etc. 

Today's statement was no different.

I already covered how I feel about this turn of events in two previous articles here on the site, but I still feel like the majority fails to grasp just how despicable this situation is. Even if you buy the argument that WWE wasn't exploiting the MH17 tragedy, they're still exploiting the man responsible for some pretty heinous acts. They're glorifying him every time Lana and Rusev come to the ring, no matter how they try to spin it.

It's making my blood pressure spike again.

In case you missed the segment last night, and you probably did considering how bad it was, allow me to set the scene. Lana comes out looking unquestionably hot, Rusev looks big and intimidating, and they cut an anti-US promo before the match with Swagger. Seems normal, right? Happens every week. Well, someone decided it would be a fantastic idea to play off of recent violence overseas and wrote a promo that sounded an awful lot like they were referencing MH17.

One picture is worth a thousand words. This video of the most offensive part of the promo must be worth millions!

It's likely that the video will be taken down soon by World Wrestling Entertainment. So, for the benefit of those unlucky souls that missed such a well written promo by Lana, here's a  transcript.

"You blame Russia for the recent current events? When in fact you Americans should be scolded for your war-mongering in Afghanistan and Iraq? You Americans should be insulted and afraid."

It wasn't just me who read between the lines there. The internet was set on fire with condemnation and shaming of WWE for what many saw as a sickening and pathetic attempt at exploiting real life tragedy for the sake of a midcard wrestling angle.

In a statement released today, WWE says that "Last night’s segment during WWE’s Battleground event was in no way referring to the Malaysia Airlines tragedy. The storyline with characters Rusev and Lana has been a part of WWE programming for more than 3 months. WWE apologizes to anyone who misunderstood last night’s segment and was offended."

See? Rusev and Lana have been apart of WWE way longer than Putin has been an asshole, and they were on TV way before there was ever any tension between Ukraine and Russia. 

This statement will probably put out a lot of fires, but it just pisses me off even more. They're not really apologizing to you because of what they did. They're apologizing to you because you were too stupid to understand what Lana was REALLY talking about. She wasn't referencing the crash of Malaysian flight 17. No! She was actually talking about Lebron James going back to Cleveland.

Goddamn you Russia! Goddamn you Putin! Miami had the new dream team!

If this doesn't open up a lot of eyes to how Vince McMahon sees the rest of the world, I don't know what will. He exploits our soldiers deaths in Iraq. He makes jokes out of rape and necrophilia. He ridicules midgets, fat people, and retarded people. Someone in charge still has the sensibilities of a carnival barker and will say and do whatever it takes for people to give them attention and buy just one more t-shirt. 

And we let them get away with it! You, me, we're all guilty of funding this dinosaur and his ridiculous ideas of values and entertainment!  Lana's offensive promo at Battleground is just the latest.

And this is actually the second time this year that WWE has had to defend their use of Vladimir Putin in their pitiful story lines. Just a few months ago they found themselves on the barrel end of controversy after Lana started praising the Russian president in her pre-match promos. At the time, WWE's use of the madman was laughable but relatively harmless compared to recent tragedies. 

In May, they released a statement saying that -“WWE programming, like Hollywood movies and television shows, is an exciting blend of action, characters and fictional storylines of good versus evil that are often inspired by pop culture and current events. Russian President Vladimir Putin has given us good material to work with to create strong characters in Rusev and Lana, who are perceived as either protagonists or antagonists depending on where in the world you are watching WWE programming.

Well yes, it certainly looks like Putin gave them some great material to work with. 298 dead civilians should make for some great television, right?

As I was finishing this story, my phone gave a long buzz that rattled my desk. I check my Galaxy S4, because I'm not cool enough for a 5, and what do I find? WWE texted me to remind me to tune in to RAW tonight for the fallout from the epic Battleground PPV and to get ready for Summerslam.

Screw you, Vince.

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