Over the last few years, the storytelling in WWE has gotten stale and boring and it’s forced the company to make a number of changes. It began with the call-ups of a number of NXT wrestlers to create more rivalries and most recently evolved into a brand split when the WWE Draft was held to divide up the roster between SmackDown Live and Monday Night Raw.
Since the WWE brand split, things haven’t changed a whole lot. Ratings haven’t really gone up even though the company has tried to make some different matchups and try some different things.
We’ve seen a major push for Finn Balor who will take on Seth Rollins for the WWE Universal Championship at SummerSlam. There’s also been a major push for Dolph Ziggler who will face off with Dean Ambrose for the WWE Heavyweight Championship at the WWE’s second biggest pay-per-view. It hasn’t mattered.
Despite the perceived unpredictability, the WWE just isn’t what it used to be and many fans are looking elsewhere for entertainment.
In an attempt to possibly hit another demographic, Monday Night Raw commissioner Stephanie McMahon told the crowd at Beyond Sport United in New York City that the WWE has plans to include LGBT storytelling going forward, Wrestling News Source reports.
— WrestlingNewsSource (@WNSource) August 11, 2016
“Throughout my life I have grown up knowing gay [WWE] superstars and executives. It’s always been accepted, but now it’s about getting that message out there,” McMahon said.
“We will integrate LGBT characters into our programming… and I do think there will be an opportunity to integrate some of those storylines in the near future,” Stephanie added.
McMahon also mentioned how the WWE has a great relationship with GLAAD and is working hand-in-hand to prioritize sensitivity with the creative team.
“We’ve had GLAAD come in and speak to our entire writing team and give a whole tutorial on sensitivities, the right words, the wrong word [and] why those words matters,” Stephanie explained. “I think that with their guidance and support, we will be able to portray that [LGBT storyline] appropriately.”
— EntertainmentTonight (@etnow) August 11, 2016
It’s obviously a good thing that the WWE is willing to explore these new storylines, but it’ll be interesting to see who the characters will be. The only current openly gay WWE superstar is Darren Young although Rosa Mendes has come out as bisexual. That’s only two superstars on the entire WWE roster which makes one wonder how the WWE plans to make it work.
Is it possible that McMahon and the WWE creative team will ask a non-LGBT superstar to perform as an LGBT character? Or are there more WWE superstars on the roster that identify as LGBT, but have yet to make it public? It wouldn’t seem like forcing a WWE superstar to pretend to be gay would be a great way to pull in the LGBT community.
Stephanie McMahon also referenced Pat Patterson who recently released a book titled, “Accepted,” which chronicled his life as a gay wrestler who had to hide it.
“It’s about his life as a gay wrestler and how from the beginning of his career he had to hide that,” McMahon explained. “He first came out … on a show on WWE Network called ‘Legends’ House.’ It was a reality show with a bunch of our legends, and he had such a positive response. It was so warm and supportive that he then decided to tell his story.”
One must applaud the WWE for being inclusive, but this could be a slippery slope if not handled properly. Stephanie McMahon is doing the right thing by getting GLAAD’s input on the writing and it should be very interesting to see all of this come to fruition.
[Photo via Noam Galai/Getty Images]