Chuck Ross of TVweek.com is featuring an article about being contacted by Kellie Baldyga, a publicist for WWE, over his coverage of the announcement last week that Drew Carey was being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. Baldyga took issue with the headline reading “Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame” when referring to the news about Carey and that WWE wasn’t “wrestling.”
Baldyga was beginning to bother me. First, our headline was perfectly fine and accurate. Second, what was this “demand” about changing OUR headline?
I called her and introduced myself. The conversation then basically went as follows:
Me: Your release says that Carey is being recognized as being an entrant in the 2001 Royal Rumble. I believe that was a wrestling event.
Kellie: No, we don’t do wrestling events. They’re entertainments. And we don’t call them wrestlers. They’re superstars and divas.
I’m thinking to myself, is she kidding me? Is this woman mad? The company’s official name is World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. Its crown jewel is an event called WrestleMania. In the best tradition of wrestling on TV since its earliest days, they put on terrific shows (and events), with athletes who are performers and they’ve got storylines that are far more elaborate than any Gorgeous George and Freddie Blassie would have ever imagined. Why would they want to run away from who they are, from what’s made them wildly successful beyond most people’s dreams?
Me: Kellie, I really don’t have time for this. WWE presents wrestling events. I’m not going to change the headline or anything in the item. If you’d like, I’ll just remove it.
Kellie: Huh? What?
Me: Kellie, I don’t have time for this. What do you want me to do?
Kellie: Remove it.
So I did.
Kellie sent me a follow-up email saying “I hope nothing was contentious in our conversation…” She added, “I know the perception is that we are a wrestling company but we are actually much more than that–we are a global media company which is how our Chairman and CEO, Vince McMahon, positions us.”
Whatever. Take away wrestling from WWE and what do you basically have? I don’t think WWE is quite as diverse as global media companies such as News Corp. or Time Warner or Viacom, but what do I know.