Since 1999, the World Wide Wrestling Entertainment Federation has been a publicly-traded organization, and I’ve never figured out why. Aside from hardcore fans who think displaying their certificates and being all “yeah baby, I own the WWE” is enough to get their crush to spread ‘em, there is literally no reason to bother.
For close to 15 years, the stock was consistent, but worthless. It typically stayed within the $8-$10 range, never fluctuating much at all regardless of inflation. For comparison’s sake, Wal-Mart stock stood at $38 in 1999, and is now up to $77. $38 of 1999 money comes to about $54 today, which means investing in Wal-Mart offers little risk and great reward. Buying WWE stock, on the other hand, is like going to the casino and playing the penny slots ten hours a day. You might make a buck or two, but you could’ve made just as much loitering around a 7-11 parking lot and waiting for drunk people to throw away winning lottery tickets.
But now, the slot machine has exploded, and you’ve just been impaled by the handle. 2014 saw a sudden rise in WWE stock for the first time ever, peaking at roughly $31 on March 20. Then, we got a nice, steady decline until May 16, when it suddenly plunged from $19.93 to $11.27. That’s a 43% decline — the goddamned Great Depression started over a smaller drop than that.
And now, there’s an investigation afoot. It seems Vince McMahon might have had insider knowledge of an inevitable collapse, and yet continued to paint a flowery picture of his company’s future. “Yes, our new streaming network will have millions of subscribers. Yes, we’ll get a multi-billion dollar TV deal. Yes yes yes!”
Did any of that happen?
They’re way behind on WWE Network subscribers, because people are cheap as fuck and even paying $10 a month can’t hold a candle to pirating everything for $0 a month. And their multi-billion dollar deal magically turned into a $200 million one. They promised their investors golden goose eggs, but handed them hardened goose turds dipped in yellow paint. If the stock dips any lower, they’ll just start spraying fresh shit at everyone and not even bother to paint it.
There is precedent for this.
Exactly what were people expecting though? They invested in professional wrestling, an industry based entirely around blatant, open, unapologetic lies. It’s not enough to play pretend in the ring — they do so out of it as well, leaking false injury reports, constantly contradicting one another about backstage politics and altercations, and comically skewering stats and figures so it looks like more people care about them than actually do.
Yes, every corporation lies. But few do it so gleefully and pathologically as one with its origins steeped in shady carnival types daring gullible idiots to try and last five minutes with The Champ. Putting something like that on the open market was going to explode in everybody’s faces eventually, and it appears that “eventually” may finally be here.