Vince McMahon defiantly appeared on WWE SmackDown and Raw just days after news of his hush-money sex scandal broke. Many, including some within the company, were taken aback by the brazen display. Mainstream media outlets openly mocked wrestling fans for a perceived positive reaction to McMahon’s television appearances.
In the past, wrestling fans have had some questionable reactions that received negative press coverage. In the 1970s, a top heel from Florida passed away in a plane crash. When they announced the tragedy at the next show, the crowd cheered.
The crowds at SmackDown and Raw had a mostly positive reaction to Vince McMahon. Footage from the crowd that has circulated on social media showed that a lot of people were happy to see him, despite the controversy. In this week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Dave Meltzer noted how wrestling fans were portrayed by major news outlets in light of their reaction to Vince.
“The story got a lot of mainstream publicity for a day by leading outlets, which no doubt led to huge ratings increases for Smackdown, Raw and NXT (even though taped) this week.
A number of mainstream outlets mocked wrestling fans for their cheering reaction to McMahon. While things have changed greatly, this did bring up memories from 1975 when Bobby Shane, a top heel in Florida, was killed in a plane crash, and it was announced the next day at a show in Jacksonville that Shane had died and the crowd cheered.”
Vince McMahon’s controversy did not seem to offend many of the live fans who witnessed his television appearances. In some circles, the situation is seen as a private matter between two consenting adults. As far as the mainstream news media’s coverage, wrestling fans were not painted in the most positive light.
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