I am back to teaching! Besides severely limiting my time to watch wrestling , it certainly influences the way I view our beloved WWE. For example, I am currently reading 1984 by George Orwell. Because of this classic novel, I am starting to see a lot of parallels between the novel and the WWE.
For those who need a refresher and/or are studying for my upcoming test, 1984 is tale of an every man named Winston Smith. Smith lives in Oceania, a brutal dictatorship that controls every aspects of society. The most shocking is the government controls your thoughts at all times. If you said the wrong words, you could be in trouble.
Who makes sure you stay in line? A shadowy organization called The Thought Police. This is where the WWE connection comes in for me. They are the corporation controlling your thoughts. Dissent is not allowed in their current structure. If you complain or don’t fit the company “model”, you could lose your job.
So I will look at some of the current examples of the “WWE Thought Police”. They have clearly broken the Thought Police until the storyline examples and the corporate view.
The Storyline View
This is clear example of the Thought Police at its finest. You have the leadership of the organization, in this case Stephanie McMahon and Triple H, not allowing any dissent to occur. Daniel Bryan, Cody Rhodes and Dolph Ziggler have all been physically punished for dissent against the organization. Rhodes even lost his job for showing a limited amount of dissent against the machine.
The biggest victim against independent thought is The Big Show. Much like good torturers, the corporation has mentally tortured our constantly emotional giant. Stephanie brought up Show’s “personal finances” to embarrass him in front of the WWE Universe. Triple H forced him to watch as other WWE superstars where tortured in front of him to add to his pain. He demanded Big Show knock out Daniel Bryan as well or face financial consequences.
That is what I like about the angle so much. It isn’t enough to go to the traditional physical assaults from groups like The Shield. It is the mental torture from your leaders attempting to control your thoughts. It is good storytelling that many great authors have used over the years. It is the uplifting idea of one single individual fighting and bringing down the evil government. However, it didn’t work out too well for the main character in 1984 and it doesn’t work on too well in the corporate world of the WWE.
The Corporate View
In 1984, dissenters against the government where tortured in the Ministry of Love. It wasn’t enough to simply kill them and/or make them confess, they had to break them down to the point of non-existence. The WWE, in its corporate world, seems to force a certain mindset of its employees. Dissent is clearly squashed. Let us look at some examples:
Zack Ryder was languishing on the outer edges of the WWE Roster, appearing many at house shows and Superstars mainly. Then in 2011, he started to become popular because of his Youtube show. People were chanting for him despite the fact he hadn’t appeared on television in months.
If we go back to the ideas in 1984, the government is not interested in creating martyrs. They don’t want dissent and will break down people until they actually trust their government. The WWE seems to have done this. They didn’t want a superstar to create his own popularity outside the norm, so they had to destroy him for the whole world to see.
How else can you explain what happened to Ryder? You can’t crush a superstar if he isn’t on television so he must be brought to the forefront to lead to his demise. Sure he won the United States Championship but lost it in less than a month. He never even received a champion’s required re-match.
He followed this with interactions with Kane and John Cena. With Cena, he was a second fiddle. He was emasculated with losing him girl to Cena. But far worse, he was destroyed by Kane. He was tortured for months. Good storytelling tells us the Ryder would have to regain momentum if he was ever going to be a credible character. But the Thought Police had no interest in building Ryder up, simply destroying him. We don’t seem to chant for Ryder anymore.
Ross seems an interesting case to me. Has there ever being an employee tortured more on camera then Ross? He has “fired” on camera a few times and off-camera at least three that is recorded. Vince has fired him after a Bells Palsy attack. Vince fired him after Vince’s federal case was over. He was supposedly fired or forced a retirement this time because he couldn’t control Ric Flair at the WWE2K14 press conference.
Jim Ross was a brutally honest individual who was not afraid to share his opinion behind closed doors. The McMahon Family seems to demand compliance and Ross didn’t fit the mold. How anyone could deal with that amount of on-camera abuse, I will never know.
How could CM Punk fit into my 1984 model you might ask? CM Punk, after all, was the guy who rebelled against the Thought Police and came out ahead. He became a main event player by speaking his mind. The how is CM Punk is simply the WWE’s version of Emmanuel Goldstein.
Goldstein was the rebel of 1984. He was the one the government supposedly hated. He said and wrote the things that the rebellion wanted to hear. However, as it turned out Goldstein played the valuable role of weeding out the dissenters in 1984. He may have not ever existed as a real person, simply an idea.
Let us apply this to CM Punk. Punk was the “voice of the voiceless” and said the things we wanted to hear. He was the anti-hero against the company. However, who won out in the end? The company man John Cena, the model employee, was the one who won in the end. CM Punk vowed to take down “the man” however he couldn’t even main event pay per views when he was champion for over a year. The Goldstein of the WWE has his place, making money representing those who rebelled against the authority, but all the while the status quo remained in place.
I hope you enjoyed our literary analysis of 1984 today. Besides the fact I spend too much time teaching, I think the analogy applies to the WWE. I am sure you could make the argument that many corporations control what their employees say. However, the WWE has a way of destroying your credibility slowly before dropping the so-called hammer.
Still don’t believe me? Look at Dolph Ziggler. Strange how his push in the company ended the same time he was most critical of the company. Now he is jobbing to the United States Champion. Big Brother is always watching.
Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Additionally, I have my Twitter account, WWELasher as well. I promise not all my articles will deal with things I am currently teaching.