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Sports Entertainment vs Wrestling

Hi Scott,

I was wondering when Vince first got the bug up his ass about it being
"entertaiment" instead of "wrestling"? I can't recall ever hearing the
term "Sports Entertainment" until sometime in the Attitude era and
when I go back and watch stuff from the 80s and early 90s, the word
wrestling is everywhere and no one seems to have any ideas about
calling it anything else. My own theory is that it stems from the
story he always tell's about Turner calling him up to let him know he
was in the "Rasslin" business. I was wondering what you thought
though. Thanks.

​The term was invented in the early 80s, specifically to get around things like athletic commissions or Boxing and Wrestling commissions.  You'd have to kick up a portion of the gate to them and pay doctors for ringside and such, and that's money out of Vince's pocket.  "Ah", he would say coyly, "we should not be governed by wrestling commissions, because we are not wrestling, we are Sports Entertainment".  And then later he outright went to places like New Jersey and admitted to courts that his show was predetermined and thus a unique entity.  This of course is completely nonsensical and flies in the face of wrestling being fixed since literally day one when naked Greeks were working out spots in the Acropolis dressing room, but it was more of a political deal anyway.  So there you go.  ​

Comments

  1. I was reading that Samoa Joe interview on WWE.com and it referred to smarks as "hardcore sports entertainment fans".

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  2. And why isn't Abraham Lincoln in the WWE Hall of Fame yet?

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  3. Well, what else is a WWE writer going to say? He's not going to write "smarks"

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  4. I always wondered about WCW with this stuff. They generally always referred to themselves as wrestling and not sports entertainment (at least not until Russo came along), so did they still have to pay wrestling commissions while Vince wasn't?

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  5. IIRC, there was also a tax angle. And I don't think Vince was very successful in all that, was he?

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  6. :looks at comments. clears throat:IT'S STILL REAL TO ME DAMMIT! Ok well it seems my job here is done good day gentlemen

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  7. Just "hardcore fans" would've been fine I'd have thought, or maybe "the more discerning fan"

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  8. Hardcore wrestling fans?

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  9. I feel Sports Entertainment is like the term Movie, and Wrestling is a Genre of it, as it Roller Derby, Monster Trucks, Ninja Warrior, Harlem Globetrotters, and Lingerie Football.

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  10. GIVE ME BACK MY SON!!!

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  11. Vince uses it heavily because he wants it to be his "term"

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  12. There should be a character who goes around to all the guys and keeps on hammering home that it's sports entertainment and not wrestling.

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  13. WWE capitalizes on such amazing pop culture references as Rosie O'Donnell, Snooki, K-Fed and Donald Trump but couldn't trot out Damien Sandow wrestling as Abe Lincoln when that Lincoln movie was out a couple of years ago?

    He could have even helped a diva escape from an abusive male wrestler with a power move called the Emancipation Declaration!

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  14. I'm not a fucking hardcore sports entertainment fan!!!

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  15. then maybe he wasn't talking about you

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  16. I remember most mid 90s WWF shows start with the voice over "The World Wrestling Federation. For over 50 years, the leader in Sports Entertainment."

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  17. good question...though you did remind me when they started saying S. E. when Russo was there. I was like...yea THAT's why you are losing in the ratings you weren't saying Sports Entertainment enough. Ignoring all the stupid booking russo did the fact that there wasn't someone in charge that realized...we have an audience and they have an audience ..We beat them by being us ...maybe becoming a poorly executed rip off of them isn't the best way to get our audience back

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  18. I don't mind it being considered sports entertainment, as long as we can still call it wrestling and it's not some dirty word to Vince. Because I mean, it's not really a sport. It's athletic, to be sure, and those guys probably do more to their bodies than most other sports. It's a much more stressful business than other sports, I imagine. But it's still not really a sport since the contests are pre-determined.


    I know I'm preaching to the choir here. I'm just tired of WWE feeling like "wrestling" is a taboo word.

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  19. GIVE ME BACK MY SON!!!

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  20. YES THEY DESERVED TO DIE AND I HOPE THEY BURN IN HELL!!

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  21. Wait a minute, slow your roll there...wrestling is pre-determined?

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  22. honestly though it is a little weird but hey give Joe credit he is towing the company line. Corporate Joe

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  23. Lingerie Football is a DAMN real sport, Calhoun...

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  24. I bet he'd make a killer corporate heel character.

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  25. In my mind, athletic=sports. The outcomes, pre-determined or not, don't make it a sport.

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  26. Ballet is athletic. Is it a sport?

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  27. No, but I don't consider golf a sport either.

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  28. James M. FabianoMay 30, 2015 at 7:28 AM

    Yeah it started being overused around the A.E...when Vince Russo was writing. Coincidence? I sometimes wonder which Vince got into the other's head.

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  29. Wait, You're saying Wrestling is fake?

    But then how do they get Zombies, demons and mutants to understand this and work together?

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  30. James M. FabianoMay 30, 2015 at 7:28 AM

    I'll go back further with the 1986-88 ident which said "The recognized symbol of excellence in sports entertainment."

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  31. Vince won't have a move called Emancipation Declaration, he doesn't listen to Hip-Hop.

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  32. James M. FabianoMay 30, 2015 at 7:29 AM

    Or have a job guy who does the opposite and generally acts like a smark...that'll show 'em!

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  33. James M. FabianoMay 30, 2015 at 7:30 AM

    He emancipated on Steph's great great grandmother.

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  34. I know, right?! It's all like *makes head exploding motion with his hands* KA-BUSH!

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  35. I get what you're trying to say, but yoga is athletic, but it's not a sport, either.

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  36. What do you think the plumbers, race car drivers, and garbagemen are there for? They're the ones setting an example for the rest!

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  37. Huh, you know, thinking about silly gimmicks we've seen through the years...has there ever been a firefighter gimmick? We've had tax agents, policemen, race car drivers, plumbers, garbagemen, and everything else. But I don't think there's ever been a firefighter gimmick?

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  38. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Firebreaker_Chip you're welcome?

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  39. Firebreaker Chip.

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  40. Gorgeous George was my grandmother's favorite sports entertainer from the Golden Age of Sports Entertainment

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  41. Scotty Too Hotty, had a heat reference in his name, then became a real life Fireman.
    That's the closest I've got.

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  42. Huh. Well, wouldja look at that.

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  43. I like how wrestling is a sport when WWE can brag as being #1 in something in a Did You Know? fact, like how one of their DVDs is the top selling sports DVD.

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  44. I agree, but I don't think it is that cut and dried. I don't know if I'd call wrestling a sport, but I think it is more of a sport than golf.

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  45. You'd be surprised at how physical you have to be in order to compete at the highest level. pros walk almost 20 miles each weekend in addition to actually hitting shots, and it takes a great deal of technical skill.

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  46. It was sports entertainment well before Russo came along.

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  47. The only time I liked the term "Sports Entertainment" was when the Rock called himself "The most electrifying man in sports entertainment." It fit with his character of being an egotistical Hollywood style jock. Outside of that, it just sounds stupid.

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  48. I remember a few years backnow reading a quote from Vince, saying something like "we don't put on wrestling shows, we put on entertainments"

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  49. The failure of rebranding with that name notwithstanding it seems dumb that promoters didn't do that way earlier.

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  50. Well it kind of is. It isn't a real sport where the outcome of a match isn't depending of the will of a writer, but of the quality of the athletes.. It's a mix of sport and entertainment.

    So to say what's REALLY stupid is to say, that it isn't wrestling. It is, was and will always be wrestling (pro wrestling, not to confuse with amateur wrestling), but it's also sports entertainment. Because there isn't pro wrestling, that isn't predetermined. Otherwise it's called MMA.

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  51. Referring to it as "sports entertainment" on air sounds dumb to me. It'd be like actors saying "this is the most important scene in the film" in a movie.

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  52. Don't forget it's also suddenly a "sport" for SAG/WGA purposes.

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  53. Wow, walking.

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  54. I forget who said this quote but I've always liked it. "No one says we're going to the sports entertainment show, they say they're going to the wrestling show."

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  55. The greek stuff reminds me of one of your ancient history quips that I couldn't stop laughing at: "JR notes that this is probably what the action in the Roman coliseums
    was like. I don't recall the Christians putting the lions in a chinlock
    and whispering "Roar and then bite my leg off and I'll bleed to death",
    but I'll take his word for it. "

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  56. Buffalo HopscotchMay 30, 2015 at 8:44 AM

    "It still says marquee on the wrestling."

    AA got it backwards, but the point was there.

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  57. ECW surprisingly used to say "Sports Entertainment" non-ironically a lot in the mid-90s

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  58. James M. FabianoMay 30, 2015 at 8:52 AM

    Yes but the term ran even more rampant when he was writing.

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  59. Nah, they were part of a huge entertainment company, so I don't think it was ever an issue for them. The NWA definitely did though, which limited where they could tour to some extent, because the athletic commissions in certain states made it prohibitive to run profitable shows there.

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  60. Yeah, Vince was saying it as far back as the mid 1980s.


    Sometimes he'd call it "sports and entertainment" instead of "sports entertainment" though.

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  61. That might be my all time favorite SK line.

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  62. Probably Cornette.

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  63. Screw Mark we need Puppet H back!

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  64. The word sports entertainment has been around for a long time, but I think the real transition came in 1997 when WWF/E made a big deal about getting Summerslam 97 taxes waived by the governor of NJ declaring them sports entertainment or whatever. Then the Bret Hart thing happened and the illusions and walls that they strongly put up crumbled, and of course Russo.


    I have no problem with the term, I just have an issue where the idea of sports entertainment is that they took pro wrestling and made it as fake as possible. You could call it sports entertainment all you want, as long as the in-ring product is taken seriously and treated with respect which has gone way out the door today.

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  65. Lincoln was way too injury prone. One blow to the head and he's done.

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  66. I always appreciated the subtle change to it later on.

    The Most Electrifying Man in Sports AND Entertainment.

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  67. The original "Black Saturday" show had Vince refer to his product as "wrestling entertainment," which I think is a fine medium.

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