World Wrestling Entertainment has issued a statement in response to HBO’s “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” episode that spent 22-minutes talking about WWE last night. Their focus was on WWE still calling their wrestlers “independent contractors” while also focusing on WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon as well as wrestler deaths. I covered the episode earlier today in detail here.
Here’s the statement that WWE released today:
John Oliver Ignores Facts
John Oliver is clearly a clever and humorous entertainer, however the subject matter covered in his WWE segment is no laughing matter. Prior to airing, WWE responded to his producers refuting every point in his one-sided presentation. John Oliver simply ignored the facts.
The health and wellness of our performers is the single most important aspect of our business, and we have a comprehensive, longstanding Talent Wellness program.
We invite John Oliver to attend WrestleMania this Sunday to learn more about our company.
There’s no word from Oliver on if he will accept the invitation to attend WrestleMania or if his schedule allows it. Oliver did retweet this comment from former WWE Champion CM Punk, who was mentioned on the HBO show.
— player/coach (@CMPunk) April 1, 2019
A rep from HBO commented on the story to Pro Wrestling Sheet with this statement: “The show likes to let the segments speak for themselves and will not be available to comment on this.”
Here’s the video of the WWE special by Last Week Tonight. It has over 1.6 million views after about 15 hours. I believe the video is only available in the US because I’m unable to view it in Canada.
CM Punk isn’t the only former WWE superstar to respond to Last Week Tonight. Here are some other wrestlers that commented on it.
— Chavo Guerrero jr. (@mexwarrior) April 1, 2019
— Lance Storm (@LanceStorm) April 1, 2019
Compare the number of premature deaths to those who died of natural causes. Drug addiction is a lethal mask for PHYSICAL & psychological pain. Their wellness policy is also a sham & a selective "witch hunt" to weed out those who don't "play the game." Don't buy into #Propaganda
— London…Paul London (@LondonFu) April 1, 2019
Will trolls call him bitter too? Sometimes you gotta hear it from an outside source. One who is precisely accurate https://t.co/Pun9cIVpgW
— Gail Kim-Irvine (@gailkimITSME) April 1, 2019
Thank you @iamjohnoliver As a former WWE wrestlers who has been fighting for the rights of wrestlers, and the CTE issue in the courts, you're show hit home last night. We are treated like circus animals, but more people have fought for the rights of animals than wrestlers.
— Big Vito LoGrasso (@TheBigVitoBrand) April 1, 2019
ESPN contacted me on doing a story about concussions for e60 years ago. I told them that wasn’t the story. The story was on “independent contractors”.
Congrats to @iamjohnoliver & #lastweektonite for their great piece & I hope it gets people taking.
— Colt Cabana (@ColtCabana) April 1, 2019
Adam Page, who has not worked for WWE, but is a top guy at the new All Elite Wrestling promotion, also commented on how this is good for wrestling.
and to clarify, I'm not trying to encourage "this company's bad, this company's good" mud slinging or nit picking. just encouraging folks to support alternatives since the competition for your interest will create positive outcomes for wrestlers across the board.
— HANGMAN PAGE (@theAdamPage) April 1, 2019
In other WWE news, their stock is down about 2.9% this morning, reports Bloomberg. It’s only Monday, my friends. WrestleMania week is here and it should be crazy as usual.