Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Leftism and Wrestling: The Fruits of One's Labor

The Hardy Boys created Broken, they should get to use it however they wish
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Even though capitalists and conservatives run and populate the wrestling business, as an artform, it lends itself to leftist ideals. This series hopes to show wrestling fans why they should embrace the left, not just for the sport/art, but also for themselves.

The Hardy Boys re-signed with WWE and made their comeback with the company at WrestleMania this year. It was perhaps the most memorable thing to happen on the show, which is saying something given it was the last time Undertaker would wrestle a match with WWE (for now). How they were able to overshadow seemingly everyone else on a show as castoffs from TNA/Impact Wrestling is a miracle until you stop to think about why they generated so much buzz for themselves. They sure as hell didn't have a marketing machine behind them; TNA was in tatters thanks to the shambles Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff left them in years prior and the constant mismanagement of Dixie Carter and her cohorts running the show. Sure enough though, the Hardys, Matt Hardy in particular, created the Broken Universe, something so insane, so buzzworthy, so creative that it beckoned the eyes of the wrestling world upon it. TNA provided an outlet for that story arc, and the company brass nominally decided who would win and lose in the matches. Other than those things, which are important in the grand scheme of things to be completely fair, the company was completely divorced of the process.

So why is it that the biggest reason why the Hardy Boys were coveted free agents when TNA stupidly didn't renew their contracts are not free to travel with them freely? Because of the way capitalism works, TNA, or now Global Force Wrestling, feels that it owns the creative concept of the Broken Universe. Specifically, Ed Nordholm, a suit who somehow got involved in personnel decisions, and Jeff Jarrett, who wasn't even a part of the fucking company when the Hardys created these characters, feel that they deserve ownership because they provided the avenue of distribution. It's a garbage practice, but it's a common one in the modern Western economic climate. If you create something, you have to be the one in charge or else a corporation will trademark it so it and it alone can profit from it. GFW doesn't own any of the trademarks, and the company was recently denied its initial request to trademark Broken-related terms. Matt filed trademark claims earlier this year, but they weren't processed because they were short on details. Basically, the Hardys cannot use the gimmick in WWE without being slapped with a cease and desist until all this shit gets cleared up.

Honestly, the Hardys are in a relatively good spot with WWE because they don't need the hook to be huge stars in the company, one where they have a robust history. Additionally, the issue isn't that WWE doesn't get to have the gimmick on its television programming, because really, WWE is a far bigger and greedier corporate entity than TNA/GFW ever could hope to be at this point. The real issue is that two workers do not get to enjoy the fruits of their labor because an entity with more money, more power, somehow more legal standing, and more ability to defend said legal standing is forcibly trying to seize it. I don't know about you, but I feel like that's just a bit fucked up, what do you think.

Of course, working for someone else's benefit is not something new or exclusive to any region in the world. Capitalism was an upgrade over feudalism, because at least labor got a slice of the pie more than "You get to survive and maybe get a ham or something on a special occasion." However, the dynamic is still the same. The serfs are replaced by workers and the landed gentry by capital. People swear capital, which is basically just accumulated wealth managed by gatekeepers who make claim to said wealth (whether singular or a confederated, corporate body), is necessary to function, but if it is, it's only because it's been made artificially necessary. The point is that a group of workers can get together to build a bridge without financial backing in strictly theoretical terms. Money without labor is not going to get that bridge built.

Nowhere does this maxim ring truer than in professional wrestling, where the product is the labor. You certainly cannot have a wrestling show without workers, unless you somehow afford enough robots to put one on. However, a group of wrestlers can far more easily produce a show without a backer than a troupe of laborers can build a bridge without someone to buy materials. Wrestling should be the ultimate haven for left-economics to thrive. However, the business seems to be polarized way too far to the right. Too many wrestlers pledge fealty to promoters whom they think know what they're doing, and it isn't until that promoter rips them off that they blast the person, not really knowing the system is set up like that. In reality, they would have so much power if they teamed up and unionized, whether on the independent level or in WWE. They would be able to take the things they create with them to other places. They would be able to capitalize off the fruits of their labor.

Above a hot wrestling act being able to do its desired act for a bigger audience, members of said audience would be best to support more leftist economic policy. If one believes that capitalism can exist to be labor-friendly, then more power to them, but I fear they would be wrong. Some kind of dismantling or regulation of megarich capital needs to happen in order for true prosperity to reign in America, in Europe, on planet Earth. Whether it's through socialist regulation and heavy taxation or a total reorganization of how revenues are distributed among the workers with a phasing out of capital, it should happen and happen soon lest the planet turn into a rotting husk of a playground for people who have enough supplies stocked up to survive more than the next week. And hey, so I don't make this a total bummer of a close, you'll have more money to spend on wrestling!

Of course, this tale may be coming to a close anyway. The following video aired on WWE dot com/WWE YouTube last night, and it seems to be hinting that a deal has been made and the Hardys will be Broken once more. Still, the fact that it had to come to this, and the fact that any deal may end up benefiting WWE more than Matt and Jeff means this post is, and always will be, evergreen until the world's economics change drastically.