For many of us, professional wrestling is our escape from the craziness of the real world. For those who lean politically to the liberal side, it is becoming harder to ignore the reality of the wrestling business. The McMahon’s have had 30 years of business dealings and friendship with President Trump (sign up for updates on my forthcoming book, TrumpMania, here). Smartly, the WWE has largely avoided political entanglements publicly and though upper management may support one party over another, it has not been on the nose recently. In fact if you look into many wrestling companies over the years, you may not agree with the owner’s political choices or business dealings. Things are more complicated with supporting Ring of Honor and its parent company, Sinclair Broadcast Group.
For many of us, we want to cheer for the little guy, Ring of Honor. We see that it is a small wrestling company on a shoestring budget and news of a new TV deal or a record breaking attendance at a ballpark or at WrestleMania weekend is met by cheers. It reminds me of fan support of ECW in the mid-late 90’s. We wanted a little company to break through and succeed. Their success felt like our success. Ring of Honor may be an underfunded wrestling company but it is a division of a gigantic conglomerate, Sinclair Broadcast Group. I’ve seen no evidence of ROH trying to push a conservative agenda, outside of an unauthorized Briscoe tweet or two, however SBG has deeply rooted political leanings towards an ultra-conservative agenda. Local television station affiliate producers are not left to their own devices to provide non-partisan news. Producers are told that they must run certain biased political statements. Boris Epshteyn, a former advisor to Trump, participates in one of those must run segments. When a politician “body slammed” a reporter the day before local elections, the Sinclair affiliate did not mention it on the news. SBG is now rumored to be talking with Steve Bannon (the guy that was portrayed as the Grim Reaper on Saturday Night Live). This is all in the face of pending FCC approval to acquire Tribune assets.
For the little guy, Ring of Honor, I very much want the Tribune deal to close. It has the potential to provide ROH with tremendous opportunities including clearances in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. For the sake of local reporting and its influence over our political arena, I am cheering against Sinclair, and unfortunately, ROH.
Full disclosure: I am a Sinclair Broadcast Group shareholder.
Lavie Margolin has been a professional wrestling fan since 1988 and has attended ROH shows regularly since 2004. Lavie is currently completing his latest book, Trumpmania (examining Donald Trump’s 30 year involvement in the world of professional wrestling). If you’d like to be informed when the book is launched in 2018, sign up here. Tweet me @Laviemarg