WWE Talent Could Be “Screwed” By Proposed Major Change
Top tier WWE talent could end up being “screwed” if proposed changes take place to gambling laws that would see betting on matches in some US states legalised.
A recent report from CNBC noted that WWE was pushing betting regulators in both Michigan and Colorado to allow betting on the outcome of pre-determined matches. As a result, the company has noted that match results could be locked in months in advance and would have to be kept top secret or WWE could become liable for penalties.
Now Dave Meltzer on Wrestling Observer Radio has noted how much of a big change this could make with even the talent left in the dark about whether they will win or lose until the last moment:
“If they do this, legitimately, they can’t tell anyone (finishes to matches in advance). It’s not like you’re gonna sneak around the system, there’s gonna be safeguards and everything. The minute they tell people and it gets out, or even if it doesn’t get out, they’ll have people investigating them and they’d be in an incredible amount of trouble for gaming violations and things like that. That’s nothing to mess with. They literally can’t do that. So the talent will not be able to know their finishes, at least in the matches that are being gambled on.
“If you’re a guy, and you’ve got a big pay-per-view match – if you’re gonna win the match or you’re gonna lose the match, the working of the match is very different, the story you tell is different. These matches are crafted, set up with agents and all these people, and the structure of the match depends on many different things, such as, ‘Where are we going next?’, ‘What is the match story?’, ‘How do we lead to the finish because what is the match finish’?. If you don’t know any of this…
“I don’t know how deep in the card they’re gonna allow the gambling to be because they’re kind of saying selective matches – the guys that this is gonna affect the most is your champions, your Charlotte Flairs, your Roman Reigns, Bianca Belair, Usos, and all of them. They’re the ones who need more than anyone, especially Roman Reigns, to know where he’s going and what he’s doing. And those are the ones who are not going to be allowed to be told, and those are the ones with the most pull.
“If Roman Reigns is going into that pay-per-view against Sami Zayn, and he doesn’t know if he’s gonna win or lose until the last minute, how do he and Heyman and everyone craft the storylines for the week before and the week after and where they’re going and how you factor Cody Rhodes in, and everything.”
Meltzer then noted it would be left to a few names at the very top of WWE to know what was happening but suggests if the writers can’t be let in on it, the ability to tell long-term stories is hampered:
“Imagine if you’re in creative, because creative can’t know these finishes. If creative knows the finishes it’s gonna get out. It’s got to literally be Levesque (Triple H) and Bruce Prichard and almost nobody else knows the finishes. The agents can’t know the finishes, no one can. Because if the agents know, they’re gonna tell their favorite wrestler to be buddies with him. I’m not saying it’s gonna get out, but they’re gonna know, and then they’re gonna be hit with a violation.
“Almost nobody can know these finishes, so now you’re on the writing team, and you have no idea of these finishes, so you can only write for a week, you can’t do long-term stories.
“I don’t know if the people who are wanting to do this to get in with DraftKings and get sponsorship money, while at the same time kind of like screwing up the booking aspect of wrestling, really understand wrestling.”
Dave Meltzer also noted that while the proposal has been met with some eye-rolling, it could still happen and he thinks talent as well as creative could end up screwed:
“Just the vibes that I’ve gotten from people are just kinda like rolling their eyes, and just thinking it’s really… it’s not a good thing, but it still might happen.
“It may be one of those changes, and maybe they feel that this will raise the price (of the company), because now there’s gambling and they can tell the people who they are selling it to that ‘we are going to have a big increase in popularity because gambling will now be allowed on these things’. And they may think that that’s the case.
“It’s uncharted water, it may make it more popular in some ways. But they can’t do predictable finishes all the time. Because if you do, it’d be too easy to beat the system and then the gambling people would not want to be involved.
“It screws the main event talent a lot because they’re not gonna know where they’re going, and it screws the booker because he’s gonna have to book in a logical manner and an illogical manner at certain points in time to keep from being predictable.”