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Donald Trump Is Not Fit To Be A WWE Hall Of Famer

October 12, 2016
Kevin Eck is a former member of the WWE creative team and now blogs about pro wrestling for PressBox. 

As a matter of full disclosure, I am not supporting Donald Trump for president. That's not what this column is about, however. 

In addition to "The Donald" being the Republican presidential nominee, a business mogul and reality TV star, he also is a member of the WWE Hall of Fame. 

The question is: Should the revelation of a 2005 video of Trump speaking explicitly about groping and kissing women prompt WWE to remove him from its Hall of Fame?

I think so.

WWE taking such action is not unprecedented. When an 8-year-old tape of Hulk Hogan making racial slurs came to light in 2015, WWE immediately scrubbed Hogan from its website, including his Hall of Fame profile.

Also in 2015, WWE scrubbed Hall of Famer "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka from the website after he was charged with third-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter in the 1983 death of his then-girlfriend. A judge later ruled Snuka was not mentally competent to stand trial.

Before going any further, let's be clear about what the WWE Hall of Fame is. As most wrestling fans know, there is no WWE Hall of Fame building. There is also no voting process like there is in most sports and entertainment Hall of Fame organizations (although there has been recent speculation WWE may allow fan voting to be part of the induction process).

Inductees for the WWE Hall of Fame are chosen by the company, with WWE chairman and CEO Vince McMahon getting final say. An annual induction ceremony takes place during WrestleMania weekend.

In 2004, WWE began the "celebrity wing" of its Hall of Fame with the induction of former baseball star Pete Rose. Trump, whose relationship with WWE goes back nearly 30 years and includes a headlining appearance at WrestleMania in 2007 that set WWE box office and pay-per-view records, was inducted in 2013.

It's easy to dismiss the WWE Hall of Fame as something not to be taken seriously, but WWE undoubtedly takes its public image seriously, as evidenced by the company severing ties with Hogan and Snuka.

Snuka being charged with murder is obviously on a different level than the Trump and Hogan tape scandals, but if Hogan was banished from WWE for expressing racially insensitive views, why hasn't Trump suffered the same fate for his lewd conversation at the expense of women?

Hogan's inflammatory remarks were reprehensible, but some have described Trump's comments as an admission of sexual assault. It should be noted that in 2014, WWE instituted a zero-tolerance policy for its talent in matters involving domestic violence, child abuse and sexual assault.

The company also initiated an anti-bullying campaign ("Be a STAR") in 2011, and since 2015, WWE has committed to promoting its female talent as strong, independent women on par with their male counterparts, and not just eye candy.

By continuing its association with Trump, WWE comes off as hypocritical.

I'm not the first person to say WWE should dump Trump.

In December 2015, wrestling fan Grace Lin began a petition on change.org to have Trump removed from the WWE Hall of Fame for his comments about Muslims and Mexican immigrants "promoting a violent and discriminatory war on people of different religions and nationalities."

In response, WWE issued a statement declaring it's "not in the business of politics and has no plans to respond to any of the political rhetoric." Fair enough, but Trump's remarks on the 2005 tape went beyond politics. 

Perhaps the main reason WWE banished Hogan and Snuka, but not Trump, is because they were huge wrestling stars identified with the company. From a public relations standpoint, it's conceivable WWE felt it had to distance itself from them.

Conversely, when Trump makes headlines, he's not referred to as a WWE Hall of Famer. I'm sure the majority of people in this country have no idea Trump is even in the WWE Hall of Fame, so WWE probably feels no need to draw attention to it.

I also think it's likely McMahon sees it as advantageous to maintain a good relationship with someone who just might be the next President of the United States. In fact, when McMahon inducted Trump into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2013, he said, "Second only to me, Donald might very well be a great President of the United States."

While WWE may not be in the business of politics, it's no secret Vince's wife, Linda, is.

Linda McMahon, who stepped down as CEO of WWE several years ago to make two unsuccessful runs for Senate as a Republican in Connecticut, has become a sought-after Republican "mega donor." She supported New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in the Republican primary, but now backs Trump.

Vince and Linda contributed a total of $5 million to Trump's foundation in 2007 (the year Trump headlined WrestleMania), which ultimately proved to be the largest contribution to the foundation, according to bigstory.ap.org.

"Once you're his friend, he is loyal to the end," Linda said of Trump. "He's an incredibly loyal, loyal friend."

Apparently, that loyalty is mutual.

Catch "The Hot Tag" every  Wednesday  on PressBoxOnline.com, and follow Kevin Eck on Twitter,  @KevinEck_WWE .