Why I deserve to be embarrassed to watch wrestling.

I get a deserved amount of hassling for continuing to be a wrestling fan, but as of last night’s episode of Smackdown, WWE has sunk to a new low. Ever since Vince McMahon let his completely unqualified daughter run the creative department of this publicly-traded company, the quality of programming has dropped dramatically. But that’s usually been in terms of shoddy storytelling, ridiculous hole-filled plots and poor payoffs. Now they’ve sunken to the deplorable low of exploiting real-life tragedy for the sake of making money.

They have a character now called Muhammad Hassan. He’s the bad Muslim who is a bad guy apparently because he doesn’t like how Americans view all Muslims as terrorists. I’m not sure how this makes him a bad guy, but it’s important to remember in WWE Land everyone is guilty until proven white. Yesterday, on the same day as the terrorist attacks in London, WWE went even further. To set the stage, Hassan has a match with the Undertaker at the next pay-per-view, so his manager, Daivari, was facing Undertaker on Smackdown.

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From the Pro Wrestling Torch accounts of the show:

Hassan told Daivari backstage that he needs to understand his role. He told him to sacrifice himself for the greater good. He assured him his sacrifice would not go without a great reward.

As if the connection to suicide bombers and terrorists wasn’t obvious enough,

After the match, Hassan kneels and lifts his arms and head up (in a praying pose). A group of “terrorists” in black masks come to the ring and beat up Undertaker. They choke him out with steel wire wrapped around his neck. Hassan gets in the ring to huge boos. He applies the camel clutch. Undertaker has passed out. The terrorists are all on their knees in the praying pose when the camera pans back. The terrorists then grab Daivari and carry him out like a martyr.

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I know WWE thinks they’re really cool and edgy when they do things that upset viewers. But this is ridiculous – this show ran on THE SAME DAY THAT REAL PEOPLE DIED IN A REAL TERRORIST ATTACK. I simply can’t believe it. I can’t believe a Viacom-owned station like UPN would even want to go there. And it wasn’t like WWE pulled a fast one on Viacom – this episode was taped Tuesday, and although in WWE’s slight defense, the London thing hadn’t happened yet, it’s not like they didn’t have all day Thursday to edit it out. I’m a student – I could have done it. I don’t buy any excuses that it wasn’t possible. So instead they ran a small crawler at the bottom of the screen a few times advising parental discretion.

If this offends you, please go to upn.com (click on the “Contact” link) and tell them how you feel about their station choosing to run something like this. And please spread the word about it. I think UPN – NOT WWE – needs to see how the general public reacts to things like this. I’m sure right now, the folks at WWE are smiling to themselves, thinking how successfully they’ve executed this “edgy” storyline, completely oblivious to what they have done for the sake of money.

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