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It seems that whenever Dave McKenna writes about pro wrestling, he gets the little things right but misses the big ones by a country mile. His column about the Rock’s appearance at the Republican Convention (“The Rock in a Hard Place,” 8/11) had some nice details, but a large part of it was based around a stunning howler. The Rock hasn’t been a heel for the better part of a year. I realize that it’s a fine distinction in pro wrestling these days, but if nothing else, the cheers he gets on TV and the way the announcers talk about him should easily tell you that he’s supposed to be a good guy. The bad guys are the ones who hit people with sledgehammers and throw their opponents through stages. The good guys only do that if somebody does it to them first. I know it’s not Socratic logic—but hey, what do you expect from wrestling?
More to the point, McKenna seems to be oblivious to the larger and more fascinating story about the convention antics, that WWF CEO Linda McMahon was also there in Philadelphia to schmooze with the politicians, announce a WWF-led voter registration drive, and throw around veiled threats that the WWF has 14 million voting-age fans who just might vote in a block if persuaded to. This “14 million” is the kind of creative accounting that hasn’t been seen since the Pentagon’s weekly body-count figures during the Vietnam War, but it does suggest that Vince McMahon has serious delusions of grandeur. First he bankrolls a renegade football league. Now he thinks he’s a political boss. The Rock, for his part, has a featured role in the upcoming Mummy sequel and more movie roles lined up—which would suggest he might trade the wrestling fantasy world in for a full-time Hollywood one somewhere down the line.
There are a lot of great stories out there about this strange business. It might be good to tell the right ones some time.