What a bunch of marks
For some people in the federal government, professional wrestling is apparently still very real.
A report from Politico on Thursday detailed efforts by the Trump administration to launch a series of public service announcements aimed at educating people about the pandemic with a theme of “Helping the President will Help the Country.”
The report raises questions about the Department of Health and Human Services attempting to use taxpayer funds to produce campaign ads masquerading as public health PSAs. The proposed campaign (which was eventually scuttled) is the subject of an investigation by the House Oversight Committee.
But this is a sports website, so we’ll just focus on HHS’s inability to distinguish fact from fiction in WWE.
As part of preparations for the campaign, HHS compiled a list of dozens of celebrities who might be good to include in the PSAs. The document, released by the House Oversight Committee, also includes “additional notes” about the celebs’ political leanings and personal history. It notes, for example, that Brad Pitt “slammed GOP and Trump’s impeachment during Oscars speech” and that Reese Witherspoon was arrested for drinking and driving in 2013.
There are a few sports figures on the list, like James Harden, Rob Gronkowski, Mariano Rivera and David Beckham. Ronda Rousey also made the cut, which is where this gets funny. The “additional notes” section next to Rousey’s name notes that she supported Bernie Sanders in the 2016 Democratic primary, that she expresses “anti-feminist views at times” and that she was “arrested during [a] WWE event in 2019.”
On the April 1, 2019 episode of Raw, the final show before WrestleMania 35, Rousey, Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair brawled with each other in the ring after a match as tensions boiled over between the three women ahead of their main-event match at WrestleMania. When WWE security couldn’t break up the fracas, a bunch of “cops” dressed in extremely official-looking “Metropolitan Police” uniforms, entered the ring to handcuff Rousey, Lynch and Flair.
The melee continued backstage as the women were loaded into police cars. The cops made the mistake of putting Rousey and Lynch in the same car and so, despite being handcuffed, they started whaling on each other with their feet, despite one officer’s pleas to “cut it out.” After Lynch was removed from the car, a still-handcuffed Rousey climbed into the front seat and attempted to get away, crashing the car into another vehicle.
Thankfully, all three women were released from jail in time for WrestleMania.
This was, of course, not a real arrest. It was a segment on a TV show. But the members of this administration have historically had a hard time being able to tell when they’re being “worked” by WWE. The president himself was once infamously duped by a segment on Raw in 2007.
When WWE showed Vince McMahon’s limo exploding, Donald Trump called WWE the next day to make sure his buddy Vince wasn’t hurt.
“What kills me is, so many people called — I mean, the office the next day, people … I’m not kidding you,” Paul “Triple H” Levesque said during a 2008 appearance on Opie and Anthony. “And he’ll probably be mad at me for saying this, but like, Trump called, and was like, ‘Did something happen to Vince?’ It’s just the magic of television, you know what I mean?”
Instead of politically charged PSAs about the coronavirus, maybe HHS should launch a campaign educating people about the difference between a “work” and a “shoot.” It sounds like some people could use a refresher.
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