WWE is by far the most successful professional wrestling league in history. Soon to celebrate 25 years of Monday Night Raw, making it the longest-running continuous show in US history, the phenomenon is experiencing something of a renaissance at the moment. Stephanie McMahon, daughter of wrestling impresario Vince McMahon, has an official executive role in the company and has taken an active role in pushing it into the 21st Century. She’s making the most of social media, as well as the current social climate, to bring wrestling to the attention of a wider audience than ever before.
Perhaps her most notable successes have been in rebranding the image of women in the ring. The sport has always been male-dominated and has generally aimed to appeal to a particularly male mindset. This is hardly surprising, but the resulting misogyny both inside and outside the ring has been shocking at times. Rumours have abounded of certain female wrestlers essentially playing the role of pimps with other, newer female wrestlers. The backstage culture around the sport has become somewhat infamous, with its own arcane rules and no end of tales of bad behaviour, occasionally verging on the downright criminal. However, Stephanie McMahon seems to be the new brush set to clean things out.
Stephanie McMahon’s Initiatives
Her first major effort to redress the balance came with the #GiveDivasAChance campaign. The #MeToo campaign has become a worldwide sensation, with women using the movement to draw attention to the constant everyday discrimination, abuse, and trouble that is regularly thrown at them. With her own campaign, McMahon is aiming to bring the show’s female performers (or Divas as they are known) into a position as wrestlers in their own right.
The campaign has picked up with the many wrestling fans following it on social media, drawing a positive response from a usually male-dominated fanbase. It’s heartening to see and has led to real changes within the ring. The Divas are now renamed and recognised as Superstars in their own right, with the newly formed Women’s Division. In December, the historic first contest took place in just about as game-changing a place as you could imagine: the United Arab Emirates. This Gulf nation is heavily Muslim, with views on women’s rights that could easily be seen as repressive. By picking this spot for their inaugural match, McMahon sent out a message to the world that WWE is embracing its female talent and it doesn’t care who knows it.
Other Examples of WWE Impact on Social Media
This is just one of the examples of how the sport is pushing forward with the help of social media. Another great campaign is their marketing for the forthcoming VR experience they will be bringing out in the near future. WWE is set to release their very own virtual reality experience, giving wrestling fans the chance to find out how it feels to step into the ring and hear the roar of the crowd. It’s a one of a kind experience, and fans are eager to try out this amazing new way to get a feel for wrestling. And the numbers speak for themselves. WWE is expected to top one billion social media followers this year, a clear statement of the broad appeal of this unique form of entertainment. The sky truly is the limit for this amazing sport.