By Jim Phillips, Senior Editor
“Politics is a strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles.” — Ambrose Bierce
From the oval office to the squared circle, the use of politics, or ‘politicking’ as it’s known in the wrestling world, comes in all forms of underhanded chicanery and backstabbing profiteering. We have all heard the tales of up and coming wrestlers beset by the machinations of another, descending upon them like some goddamned winged monkey assassins sent from the underbelly of the business, by those who either want to keep the newbie down, or step on them in order to keep their own floundering career above the water that laps at their necks.
Now, in true political fashion, let me do the requisite flip-flop and say that not all politicking ends in a dire result. There have been instances when the right word or push from the inside has led to the acquisition of great talent, as in the case of the Ringmaster, or where buy-outs of companies have led to the transferal of workers who rose to greater heights as a result.
More often than not, however, it is the stories of squashed careers, and unfulfilled pushes that we hear about. While some of these can certainly rendered down to their essential cores of bullshit or bitterness, or the exposed, torn spirit that is a combination of the two, there are tales that hold merit to the implications.
One immediately harkens to the incident between Ken Anderson and Randy Orton that left Mr. Kennedy out in the cold and jobless, with RKO showing himself to the rest of the crew as someone who “had Vince’s ear” and would use that to his advantage over and again. There is also the story Goldberg tells of how he was misdirected and taken advantage by Hall, Nash and Hulk Hogan during his streak in 1998.
For better or worse, this led to him having a long career in the business, that allows him to dial in his drizzle shits, while sliding through every couple years to cash in for the big events. Politics is power, Forrest. Greedy is as greedy does.
These are not new development in the business however. From the creation of the NWA, to fall of the WCW, the driving force of it all is revenue. Money leads to power, which can purchase influence to make things fall they way a person sees fit. This, in essence, is what all political gamesmanship is based upon. While it may not make it right, it is certainly a reality of the world that we inhabit.
In recent years, we have seen the power of politicking cross the lines from behind the curtain to the front row as fans come increasingly a part of the decision making process in the office through the use, or abuse of social media. Most prevalent was the recent throwing of feces back and forth over the transgender issue. I can feel the glare of your triggered eyes burrowing into the screen at the mere mention of it. Choices are good, and I believe that there is a place on the card for everyone as long as the booking is solid and there is a substantial story to be told.
The long and short of it all is that politics in the wrestling world are ever present and have been there since time immemorial. For those in the business have to ask themselves if they intend to use it to underhand and undermine someone out of a job for your own personal benefit, or if you are willing to step aside and help build someone up that may have otherwise went unnoticed. Much of this decision falls back on whether or not you choose to be the shepherd or the wolf, because no matter how valiant the protector, the wolf will eat.
“Stay on the roads and keep clear of the moors. Beware the moon lads.” Truer words were never spoken.