On today’s episode of The Wrestling Inc. Daily podcast, author Lavie Margolin and Wrestling Inc. Managing Editor Nick Hausman sat down and discussed Margolin’s 2020 Election Special re-release of his book “TrumpMania: Vince McMahon, WWE and the Making of America’s 45th President”. During their conversation Hausman and Margolin touched on the topic of Saudi Arabia and the Trump administration’s continued business dealings with Mohammed bin Salman, even after the Kingdom’s killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. This tied into the two talking about WWE’s continued business relationship with the country as it has been reported that WWE hopes to return to Saudi Arabia.
“Of course, the bottom line of any corporation is to bring value to its shareholders, whether it’s public or not,” Margolin noted. “I remember the first time I heard that in a college intro class, I was like, ‘wow, I thought they were trying to do good things.’ I think firstly, what drives the McMahons, and Trump and other people is money many times. So I think when they do something controversial, they have to sort of couch it in the best way possible to say like, ‘we’re doing this for change,’ but when you’re going out there and you’re running shows, it’s either overtly promoting the country, or its not disassociating from it.
“It’s endorsing it, and it’s using sports or entertainment as a vehicle to sort of advance things. And it’s very different, if you remember from the mid-to-late ’80s with South Africa, [Frederik Willem] de Klerk and the way that they were treating people over there. There was a whole movement. ‘We won’t play Sun City.’ You look at how things have changed there but certainly, the WWE has taken advantage of the opportunities afforded by Trump, but I think they’re somewhat lucky, in that, they’re sort of able to take the tail wind of another company that’s sort of unabashedly doing it, which is the UFC and Dana White.
“WWE, they barely mention Trump, but White’s like, ‘hey, I just watched the fights with him, and he’s great. And I’m going to speak at his convention.’ So it sort of opens the door, and I’ve been thinking about this in the last couple of days. If the WWE actually brought Trump onto RAW or SmackDown, I think based on what the UFC has done themselves, I don’t know if it would be as controversial as if they had done it as a standalone.”
Hausman followed up and asked Margolin if he thinks Trump could be seen on WWE TV in the future. Margolin believes that no matter the result of the upcoming result of the U.S. Presidential election, Trump will be want to be seen in the public eye and notes WWE would be one of the first places to embrace him.
“If he is elected, I think everything is out the window,” Margolin stated. “He’ll do more of what he wants, and then, if he’s not re-elected and doesn’t continue on, which aren’t necessarily connected elements, he’ll want to be back in the public eye. And that’s one of the first places that will embrace him, and there’s, from what I’ve read or heard, $450 million of debt to pay down. So whatever you can do, that’s certainly a good way to make a couple million.”
Margolin originally wrote his book one-year into Donald Trump’s presidency, and he discussed his research and his findings about the demographics of wrestling fans. He said that Vince McMahon is more apprehensive towards his advertisers and partners and cited a Washington Post study that found that ice hockey and college football were the top sports whose fans learned Republican. The same report found that pro wrestling fans largely lean Democratic.
“I think he’s more apprehensive about his advertisers and his partners, who tend to be sort of middle of the road as entertainment companies, mostly,” Margolin said. “Even FOX, they try and separate themselves between the news and the other things that they do, certainly, but interestingly, I think it was the Washington Post that had done the study, and the only two sports that did lean much stronger in terms of Republican were ice hockey and college football.
“But one of the most fascinating things that I learned in the book was that ultimately, Smackdown Your Vote was revealed the night before the 2000 elections as they’re heavily favoring the Republican candidate, Bush. However, Gary Davis in the LA Times, when Smackdown Your Vote first started, they said, ‘our base is middle America Republicans, and we think this will serve serve them well.’ They put that out there right away. Nobody noticed and then they kept moving forward as a nonpartisan organization.”
Lavie Margolin’s “TrumpMania: Vince McMahon, WWE and the Making of America’s 45th President: 2020 Election Special Edition” is now available. You can purchase your copy on Amazon by clicking HERE.
Lavie’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.