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What if Disney bought WWE?

Mike Chin
ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
2.74K   //    06 Dec 2018, 08:00 IST

Disney acquiring WWE would open all sorts of possibilities.
Disney acquiring WWE would open all sorts of possibilities.

WWE is the largest wrestling company in the world and imposing media presence in and of itself. However, in recent years, the conversation has surfaced as to whether WWE might ever sell outside the McMahon family. If that were to occur, it would have to be a major media company with money, resources, and a prospective interest in what WWE brings to the table. Moreover, given the level of commitment the McMahon family has shown to its wrestling business across generations, we have to assume that any sale would have to involve a partnership that respected what the WWE product has been and afforded it a degree of autonomy.

Disney is one of the few companies that fits this profile for its tremendous resources at its disposal, and a history of absorbing brands like Marvel and The Muppets. In interviews, Stephanie McMahon has suggested that selling isn’t completely impossible, but that’s not exactly a reason to think a deal is imminent. Moreover, she more recently made comments about WWE’s growth efforts and explicitly suggested that WWE could one day be bigger than Disney. Whether that name drop was incidental or a strategic nod toward the Disney company for some strategic purpose is unclear.

There is no concrete reason to think Disney will buy WWE anytime soon, but this article takes a moment to speculate about what such a major business transaction might look like and mean, particularly for WWE which would surely need to adapt to accommodate this big shift in ownership.


#5 A harder PG sensibility

Under Disney, WWE would not only stay but steer harder into its PG style.
Under Disney, WWE would not only stay but steer harder into its PG style.

WWE has been operating in the so-called PG Era for some time now. Hardcore fans have debated the merits of this philosophy. Many have resented WWE eschewing the edgier storytelling style that defined the successful Attitude Era, while others have ceded the realities of WWE’s business interest. Moreover, as more time has gone on, talents and booking have adapted to by and large succeed within a new framework.

Despite taking on a more family-friendly identity, on the whole, WWE has still walked the line as often as not when it comes to how completely it colors within the PG lines. For example, when The Rock comes back, he has greater latitude to still carry himself the way he did in his heyday, complete with questionable language. The same is true for Stone Cold Steve Austin, and to a lesser extent, the liberties Vince McMahon and Triple H themselves have taken with items like getting color.

Under the Disney banner, we can expect WWE to rein things in tighter than ever, representing not only themselves as a family-friendly brand but a larger corporation with those kinds of sensibilities.

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ANALYST
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