Rick Bassman is a former WWE consultant who owned the developmental territory UPW. He helped develop many of yesteryear's WWE Superstars and he talked about the current state of the promotion amid the pandemic when he joined The Wrestling Inc Daily podcast.
"WWE is a survivor. I'm not that political so I'm not gonna tow any company line. I have been part of the company on and off for years but I kinda wish they weren't running right now," admitted Bassman, who formerly worked as a consultant for Vince McMahon. "I just think it might be a better look. But at the same time they're all about taking care of business first. They're doing what they've gotta be doing."
While nearly every other sports league has suspended operations, WWE keeps on chugging along during these times and Bassman was asked what he thinks the motivation factor for that is.
"I haven't thought about that but let me give you the two things that come to my head right off the top. One is taking care of the bottom line and keeping the revenue flow. A big part of that is their TV deals that call for X amount of original content each year. In order to keep those rights' fees coming, they've got to produce shows," said Bassman.
"This is a big publicly traded company now but all of us in the biz still call it Vince's company. I don't think there's any other corporation of this size on the planet that you refer to it as one person's company. Vince is a maverick. He has to and wants to do things his own way and fly in the face of convention for better or worse. He's just being himself. He's showing that I'm gonna do what I wanna do and how I wanna do it. I'm not saying that's a great thing or a bad thing, but I believe that's why."
He was then asked if FOX or NBC, which owns USA Network, are pressuring WWE to still run shows.
"On my podcast I say I don't talk politics… but I'll do my best to give my semi-uninformed best political answer. We have a President – and I'm not gonna tell you which side of the aisle I lean on – and he's made it clear that he wants business up and running. I think Vince is very aligned with the President in that philosophy and I think that FOX is probably in alignment with the President and Vince," stated Bassman.
"I'm not a subscriber of conspiracy theories but I think FOX wants business to run. I think the President does and I think Vince does. The non-conspiracy part is that I don't think FOX and Vince are in this together but they have the same philosophy. FOX has a contract that says, 'Give us X amount of original programming so we can keep our advertisers coming.' So, yeah, I do believe that they probably are taking that stance."
Amidst this coronavirus pandemic, former XFL commissioner Oliver Luck sued Vince McMahon for wrongful termination following the demise of the league. Bassman was asked about his thoughts on that.
"I don't know much about that. I just know what I've read. [Luck] had an employment contract. I didn't read the contract and if I had, I'd probably give you a much better take on it as I'm good at interpreting these documents," stated Bassman. "But if the guy feels he has a case with merit, why not try to collect? I'm not saying that Vince/XFL owes it to him… but I don't know enough about it to have an informed opinion.
Rick Bassman can be heard every week on his podcast Talking Tough. Bassman's full interview with Wrestling Inc aired as part of a recent episode of our podcast, The Wrestling Inc. Daily. Subscribe to get the latest episodes as soon as it's released Monday - Friday afternoon by clicking here.