Two incidents inside the wrestling industry in recent weeks show both how close is the coordination of the Linda McMahon Senate campaign with her company, World Wrestling Entertainment, and how thorough is the attention to detail by both.
As is often the case these days with inside-inside news, I am indebted to wrestling fan and journalist David Bixenspan for much of the following information.
On the Raw telecast this Monday on USA cable, the announcer plugged a new book by Mick Foley, the wrestler who also has authored multiple bestsellers. Foley had a famous and successful run with WWE – as himself and as his alter egos “Cactus Jack,” “Mankind,” and “Dude Love” – but he now works for a rival promotion, TNA.
Plugs for opposition talent don’t happen by accident. In all likelihood, Linda’s husband, Vince McMahon, the potentate of WWE, ordered the Foley book valentine as a quid pro quo for Mick’s recent defense of Linda’s political candidacy on his blog and in media interviews. Today the McMahon campaign, fighting off a new line of accusations emanating from the Richard Blumenthal camp about WWE’s independent contractor abuse, is holding up the silly Foley line that grossly exploited company employees “prefer it that way.”
An even funnier story involves journeyman wrestler Matt Borne, a second-generation craftsman whose biggest claim to fame was that he was the original WWE incarnation of the character “Doink the Clown.” (The most recent Doink on TV was none other than Nick Dinsmore – the guy who years ago played the retarded character, “Eugene,” in one the original useless flurries of WWE YouTube clips by the anti-Linda crowd.)
Borne, like Foley, has been a media go-to guy for spoon-fed lines about how the McMahons do everything in their power even for those performers who, alas, make poor personal choices. (Borne himself went through WWE-sponsored drug rehab.)
For Borne, the reward was a recent WWE tryout camp held at his wrestling school in Freehold, New Jersey. John Laurinaitis, the head of WWE talent relations, and one of his assistants, Ty Bailey, did the scouting. Borne’s charges paid a stiff registration fee for the privilege of showing their stuff to industry movers and shakers, and Borne pocketed most of the dough for a nice payday. Funny, but before this month not many people had even heard of the Matt Borne Wrestling Academy.
What makes the timing even more suspicious, Bixenspan tells me, is that these tryout camps are usually staged at the training center of a current or former WWE regional “developmental” promotion. Or, if not there, at a wrestling school with historic WWE ties, such as that of Afa Anoia, the “Wild Samoan” in Pennsylvania (and an uncle of recently deceased wrestler Eddie “Umaga” Fatu).
I tell ya, the Society of St. Tammany has nothing on the pro wrestling fraternity.