The Wrestling Inc. Daily podcast recently welcomed former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang where he sat down with Wrestling Inc. Managing Editor to talk about his stance on WWE’s third-party edict, a story that broke on Wrestling Inc. Yang also gave his thoughts on AEW and how they have differed in their treatment of their wrestlers compared to WWE.
“I think AEW has been a leader in terms of being talent friendly, and you can see it with the fact that several wrestlers were integral to the formation of AEW,” Yang noted. “When I’ve talked to folks who work for AEW, they really like the fact that they can perform for other promotions, which obviously you know is not something that’s happening at WWE. So I do think that AEW has a very different attitude towards its talent, and AEW is an up-and-coming promotion that is doing the right thing by talent in part because they know that that’s going to be a way they can compete and be successful.
“The WWE is in a very different position where they are a quasi-monopoly, and they’re plugging wrestlers into a machine that they feel like they built and they feel like any wrestler is lucky to be there and they need to keep their mouths shut. It seems like a very different approach to talent because the companies are in very different places and have different cultures.”
Yang was asked if professional wrestlers should be considered for the Screen Actors Guild. Yang noted that almost all pro wrestlers would happily want to be part of SAG to enjoy the benefits and protections that actors and actresses are afforded. He said that if the move were to happen, it “would be transformative for the industry.”
“I think that’s one approach that could really work wonders, and if you were to ask professional wrestlers, ‘how many of you would like to be part of the Screen Actors Guild?’ I have a feeling you’d see every single hand go up because SAG affords tremendous protections to other actors and actresses who are on screen every day and every week,” Yang said. “The parallels are almost 100% where if you’re a professional wrestler, you are inhabiting a character, you are given storylines and plots, in some cases you’re given actual lines, you rehearse [and] you perform in front of a televised audience.
“So they should be members of SAG, and that would be transformative for the industry. Wrestling has been in the dark in terms of it being included in things like SAG because of its roots, but if you look up at the reality now, I mean you’re talking about hours and hours of scripted TV programming every week, and the wrestlers are the talent. So by right, they should be considered for SAG membership and all of its protections.”
Yang was also asked if politics and pro wrestling had any relation other than the fact that President Donald Trump is a WWE Hall of Famer. Yang acknowledged the parallels but was not certain on the true impact wrestling has had on politic. He did assert that “the bill is coming due” for Vince McMahon.
“I joked with someone that I thought that professional wrestling and politics have a lot in common,” Yang admitted. “My sense of things is that most political figures and their teams don’t watch pro wrestling. I may be something of an exception in this regard, but I agree with you that the parallels are real and that pro wrestling certainly had an enormous impact on me growing up and has influenced our culture in profound ways. So to me, the impact on politics is unclear, but I have a feeling that politics is about to start impact wrestling in a more real way than has been true in the past.
“What I said in another conversation is that Vince has been getting away with exploitation of his performers for decades and the bill is coming due, and I plan on being one of the people that presents him that bill and get some to pay it.”
You can check out Yang’s podcast, Yang Speaks, by clicking here. Yang’s full interview 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.