Double standards can be a touchy subject, particularly in the world of wrestling. Wrestler's can get done for saying silly things, while the higher ups on the roster can get away with something just as bad.
Following the release of A.W. yesterday, there's been a split in opinion's considering his actions, and whether his punishment was deserved.
His rants on Linda's campaign, double standards and the current state of the WWE has a lot of people siding with him, while some people still find that his joke about Kobe Bryant to be unacceptable. Myself, I find myself in between of it all.
Contradictions and the WWE go hand in hand with each other many times. A.W.'s firing came just week's after the chairman of the board Vince McMahon mocked JR's cerebral palsy to no backlash whatsoever. Before that we were greeted with an altercation between CM Punk and a fan on Twitter, whereby Punk told that fan to 'kill' himself following ignorant comments regarding Gay rights. All these actions have come with little to no backlash.
A.W. is pointing out these flaws and stating that his comments shouldn't warrant a firing if the stuff stated above is happening quite regularly. It's the kind of line that is brought up many times in comedy – what kind of jokes cross the line?
When you break it down, were A.W.'s comments on par with so many of the recent ones? As the main man in the WWE, Vince McMahon can say whatever he wants. As someone who's known known JR for years and has also been known to have a strange sense of humour, it's easy to understand that Vince finds such things as JR's condition funny and appropriate. It in no way makes it right, but who would even begin to question the boss? Tensai's comments on Tout, while racist, has another side to it as well. As someone who's worked in Japan for years, maybe those type of comments are just about acceptable in his mind. If not, I doubt he or his friend Sakamoto would have gone through with it in the first place. CM Punk's comment on Twitter, again, while inappropriate, was still only out of order to an extent. Let's remember that his comment was directed at an ignorant low-life who's comment on Gay marriage looked like something that came out of the 1970's, so the comment back was at least in response to something nasty.
AW though, it's a little bit different. A.W. said that Titus O'Neil was so 'unstoppable' in the ring that he's reminiscent of Kobe Bryant raping a woman in a hotel room. When you break it down that way, there's slight difference.
Sure, those comments flew right over the kids' heads, and many of the adults as well I'm sure, but it still doesn’t make it right. While AW makes some good points about double standards, I don't think he should be the one holding the flag on this matter. At this moment, he's the voice of the voiceless, but I don't think that voice should be from someone who made a rape joke, no matter how tame it was.
It simply boils down to how two wrongs don't make a right. If CM Punk can get away with telling someone to 'kill' himself, that doesn't not make it OK for A.W. to make a joke about rape. There was a meaning behind someone like Punk's comment, but none whatsoever behind A.W.'s.
Yes, the case of double standards will always be there, but WWE can simply draw that big, red line wherever and whenever they want. In this hugely fickle society we love in, A.W. simply should have known better.
I'm not saying that his comment warranted a firing, but if you're a mid-carder and say something controversial then you're going to expect some sort of a backlash. That's what happened to A.W. here, and while he can blame Linda McMahon and the WWE all he likes, at the end of the day, it was he who got himself fired.
Higher ups have more leverage to say what they want, and that's not just in the wrestling world either. That's the case in many places. And while that doesn’t make things right, it's still something that people have got to understand.
A.W. took the advice of Paul Heyman, Stone Cold and even CM Punk about letting yourself be heard. But at the end of the day, a rape joke doesn't quite cut it as standing out among the rest and trying to get ahead. It was a comment with no meaning behind it, no punch and no purpose. It was just simply stupid on his part. And even though this firing has come two weeks after the comment, and after everything regarding it had cooled down, it is the WWE that can simply pull the plug and let someone go whenever they feel like it.
Wrestler's have got to be smart about reading those blurry lines in the WWE rulebook. And while A.W. could read those rules, he decided to read into it more and attempt to pick out those contradictions in the hope that it would save him from getting him fired. In the end though, picking out those contradictions only made his judgement that much worse.
To finish up with two of my most used words in the article – A.W. simply should have known that double standards don't always apply in the WWE.