Turns out? WWE was never really about Mom & Apple Pie after all

A sale of World Wrestling Entertainment to investors in Saudi Arabia would bring an end to its longtime facade of being an All-American franchise

Turns out?  WWE was never really about Mom & Apple Pie after all

When people have described Vince McMahon over the years, they have always talked about how he symbolized the American Dream. And for good reason. He's a self-made billionaire, who took his father's regional company and made it an international success.

At 6'2" and 250 pounds of rock, solid muscle, Vinny Mac was a symbol of the power and ultimate success of western capitalism. He wore the best, drove the best, and lived the best. His life was a whirlwind of celebrities and money, all fueled by two things that make this country great: GREED and EXCESS.

McMahon embraced it all, and often even reveled in his image. He pushed WWE as a household name, the symbol of its industry. Much like Q-Tip or Kleenex dominated their markets, the 'W' logo has become synonymous with sports entertainment in North America. Suddenly, it wasn't called 'pro wrestling' anymore. Instead, people just stated that they were going to see the 'WWE show'.

Much of that show counted on the audience accepting World Wrestling Entertainment in the same way they have Coca-Cola, Chevrolet, Harley Davidson, or the NFL: They were unapologetically American-Made, all original, and wrapped in pure red, white, and blue. 

And just like the rest of us kind folks, the people at WWE were fans of TRUE heroes like John Wayne, Superman, and The Fonz.

They were also constantly ready to salute the soldiers and pay tribute to the troops. In many ways, the promotion's identity and lore were both intertwined with our nation's values.

WWE always featured All-American heroes like Hulk Hogan and John Cena, who fought to defend the people and their homeland

It never mattered where the foreign foe came from, there was always a flag-waving fighter on the other side of the ring, prepared to vanquish him. Many a Russian, German, Asian, or Arabic enemy has been torpedoed by a titleholder or blasted by a brawler.

It was an innocent re-enactment of war, where the good guys always seemed to win. Aside from the occasional use of salt in the eyes or a flagpole across the back, nobody really got hurt and no lives were lost. Most of the time, the evil-doers usually got what they deserved.

Then, the hero would celebrate, prouder than a bald-headed eagle after his epic victory.

It's a terrific story, with the nationalist defending his home turf. It's also something that Vince McMahon knew that we could all relate to. It fit the narrative that we had always been taught in history class. The US might be attacked, but they would never back down. And they will never stop fighting.

But it turns out, the image of WWE as being an overtly patriotic corporation was more about PR, and less about the USA

Of course, every company in the United States wants to brand itself as 'American Made', but McMahon went a little over the top with it all. At almost every opportunity, the WWE package would feature the stars and stripes.

The visual alone is enough to get a Pavlovian response from fans from Carolina to California. Across all 48 contiguous states, along with Alaska and Hawaii. No red-blooded, registered voter could see it, and not have a tear well up in his eye.

That image ran into trouble when Vince struck a deal with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman that focused on presenting premium events from Saudi Arabia. Due to the country's appalling human rights record and allegations that they harbor terrorists, wrestling fans back home bristled at the thought.

For the most part, however, the WWE Universe has tolerated, if not accepted, the Crown Jewel events as a financial windfall for the company. They may not have liked it, but it was viewed much like our nation's own relationship with the Saudis. They were looked at as uneasy allies. Maybe even a necessary evil.

Now, the Saudis aren't just partners with World Wrestling Entertainment, they could own a franchise that they have always coveted

Like many of us, bin Salman grew up a fan of the sport. And when you have his kind of money? You can buy just about any toys you want. That's why he put in such great effort to bring the product to his country. It was not only a guilty pleasure on his part, but it was also a chance to latch onto an American icon. That kind of cache carries more weight globally than many people may realize.

Now, a group of Saudi investors has reportedly come to an agreement to purchase WWE. If that comes to fruition, then the wrestling company that once was considered one, big Fourth of July barbecue would be gone forever. All the bottle rockets and firecrackers will have been fired off, with nothing left but smoke in the air and dirty paper plates.

For all the years that John Cena saluted and Hulk Hogan talked about prayers and vitamins, none of it ever really meant anything. It was as cartoonish as the character that former WWE World Champion Sgt. Slaughter played in the G.I. Joe animated series.

Turns out, Cena ran off to make movies, Hogan was exposed as a phony, and Slaughter was a fake Marine. Everything patriotic about WWE was just part of the storyline; nothing was real. It was always about green, and never about red, white, and blue.

Vince McMahon sold us the romance of what was so great about us... the American public.
Our country. Our traditions. Our values.
And it was all bullshit.

A sale to the Saudis puts to rest the idea that WWE went hand-in-hand with Baseball, Mom, and Apple Pie 

The new ownership of WWE would have much more than a perception problem. They will have a world problem. Most nations view the country as a hostile area. Despite attempts to market themselves as a 'progressive' Arabic society, there's still a laundry list of human rights atrocities still taking place there.

Because of that, they have been blacklisted and boycotted by several companies and individuals worldwide. Even in WWE, Sami Zayn (who is Syrian) refused to travel to Saudi Arabia to work the Crown Jewel shows. Many more performers have voiced their displeasure with the trips and the overall conflict of interest.

An exodus is expected, and many believe it's already started with Stephanie McMahon's resignation on Tuesday. Now, there are questions surrounding names like Triple H and Nick Khan, as well. Will they remain part of the corporation? What about lower-level executives like Shawn Michaels or William Regal?

If the Saudi Public Investment Fund takes control of the company, expect the public backlash to be multiplied tenfold. To many people, they will be totally toxic. That negative perception won't change no matter who is in place to run the company.

This change in perception could really hurt World Wrestling Entertainment. At least in the short-term, and possibly for decades to come. To say this could all just go over smoothly is laughable. The world of sports entertainment has been turned on its edge right now, and it's leaning in the direction of the Middle East. 

As far as the legacy of WWE is concerned, they can never be viewed as a symbol of the American Dream anymore

The promotion culled that image since the 1960s, but unfortunately, those decades of patriotism were all for naught. They mean nothing now, regardless of how this whole situation turns out. Not even blasting the first few chords of 'Real American' can change that, no matter how much we want it to.

It's all like stolen valor, just a part of angles and never authentic. And I guess we should have seen it coming. This is pro wrestling, after all.

So, here's a spoiler for you:
Turns out? WWE was a whole lot faker than we ever thought...  Then. Now. And Forever.