This coming October, WWE’s weekly show SmackDown Live will make its long-awaited debut on FOX network television. The deal to bring the long-running wrestling show to FOX will bank WWE an estimated $1 billion, which means that the company will be under intense pressure, from the get-go, to deliver the goods and justify the hefty price tag.
In a bid to attract high ratings, FOX apparently wants Donald Trump to make his grand return to the squared circle. According to Sportskeeda, the network has asked WWE to book the controversial U.S. president for the premiere episode of SmackDown. While there is no evidence to support the news as yet, the report claims that FOX is currently discussing the idea with WWE owner Vince McMahon.
The rumor isn’t a far-fetched story at all, though. Not only does the president have a strong relationship with FOX, but he’s also a WWE Hall of Famer. Trump has appeared at WrestleMania, and on several episodes of the company’s weekly programming.
Furthermore, outside of the ring, the McMahon family’s relationship with the president is well-documented. Linda McMahon headed the Small Business Administration until earlier this year, before moving on to a new role as the Chairman of America First Action. America First Action, a political action committee, seeks to aid in President Trump’s re-election campaign.
Vince, on the other hand, is a long-term friend of the president — and a key donor to his political causes.
It’s no secret that WWE has been suffering in the ratings department recently. Fans regularly complain about the company’s lack of creative direction and tame product. The days of edgy storylines are a thing of the past, and WWE has expended at least some effort over the last decade in dodging negative publicity.
Trump showing up on SmackDown is a sure-fire way to bring in millions of viewers, and to generate some media attention. However, since Trump’s presidential appointment in 2016, WWE’s programming has been apolitical for the most part. Therefore, bringing in such a polarizing figure might go against the company’s current business model.
Of course, the main reason why WWE has shied away from controversy in recent years is to appease other networks and their sponsors. If FOX is behind this idea, as the story claims, perhaps McMahon will be less concerned about facing any costly repercussions. After all, the company still has a prosperous working relationship with Saudi Arabia, despite protests from the media — and fans — following the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi.
In the world of pro wrestling, anything is possible.