WWE has captured mainstream media publicity, something that the sports entertainment company always attempts to do, with its WWE Network, a 24/7 on-demand, web subscription streaming service that is set to debut in the United States late next month – later this year in other markets.
In an article by Lawrence Lewitinn, a producer for CNBC, fans of the professional wrestling company, otherwise known as the WWE universe, were the subject of ridicule. Prior to discussing the company’s stocks and where it’s headed this year, Lewitinn took at jab at fans, which they didn’t take too kindly.
“Good news for "professional" wrestling fans: No, it's not actually real,” wrote the CNBC writer. “However, now you can enjoy wrestling 24 hours a day, seven days a week from the comfort of your parents' basement.”
The comments section of the article has started to increase after it made the rounds on Internet wrestling and business websites, including Capital Liberty News, which it noted that CNBC is owned by NBCUniversal, which also owns USA Network, the cable channel that airs Monday Night Raw, a show that brings in three to four million viewers.
Many readers didn’t take too kindly to Lewitinn’s insinuation that WWE fans are unemployed nerds that live in their parents’ basements.
“I am not insulted by Mr. Lewitinn's comment, I am embarrassed for him. Making such a judgement about pro-wrestling fans or any person in general, shows how ignorant he is,” wrote one reader.
“People, you shouldn't be surprised with the lack of professionalism from CNBC. I mean what did you expect from a second-rate news organization and hack writers that CNBC tends to hire?” stated another reader.
Fans of sports entertainment have to deal with constant criticism for simply enjoying professional wrestling. For some reason or another, critics consistently point out to the industry’s fanbase that wrestling is fake – this led to a t-shirt being released by TNA’s Mr. Anderson: “Pro Wrestling is Real. People are Fake.”
WWE is scripted entertainment, but its SuperStars partake in some of the most athletic matches ever witnessed (see The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels from WrestleMania XXV, Mankind vs. The Undertaker from King of the Ring 1998 and Shane McMahon vs. Kurt Angle from King of the Ring 2001).