WWE does not want its programming to be viewed as the sports entertainment version of “The Newsroom.”
While its tandem of Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter has been relying on exaggerated conservative and anti-immigration rhetoric to garner heel heat, the leading pro wrestling company asserts that there is no political agenda behind the storyline.
That means that despite carrying the Gadsden flag and presenting a cartoonish version of the right-wing position, Swagger and Colter are not mocking the Tea Party.
Rather, it is simply a means of creating a rivalry between Swagger and Mexican immigrant Alberto Del Rio.
Amid vast coverage of the angle in the political blogosphere, WWE’s Brian Flinn issued a statement to The Hollywood Reporter:
“WWE has a long history of creating fictional characters that serve as either protagonists or antagonists, no different than other television shows or feature films. To create compelling and relevant content for our audience, it is important to incorporate current events into our storylines.
“WWE is creating drama centered on a topical subject that has varying points of view to develop a rivalry between two characters. This storyline in no way represents WWE’s political point of view. One should not confuse WWE’s storytelling with what WWE stands for, similar to other entertainment companies such as Warner Bros., Universal Studios or Viacom.”
Many wrestling insiders believe the new storyline is WWE’s attempt to play off the successful RJ Brewer character in Lucha Libre USA, which drew media attention on outlets like Nightline for its anti-immigration perspective.