UPDATE: 6:45 PM Central Standard Time
Apparently your voices were heard; mere moments after typing this, it was announced via WWE.com that Emma has been reinstated in the promotion.
For the sake of humoring us here at L.E.W.D., read the following because it’s still all relevant somewhere.
Just in case you haven’t heard the word, we have it on good authority (pun intended) that the WWE has come to terms with the release of notable Diva Emma. Also known by her government approved name Tenille Dashwood, Emma was also recently arrested for allegedly stealing an iPod case from a Walmart in Connecticut.
Many wrestling fans have taken to the internet to voice their displeasure with the promotion’s decision to dismiss Emma over something that they (the fans) believe to have been an accident or a simple mistake on Emma’s part. After all if one is working as an independent contractor for the world’s most prominent sports entertainment promotion, there would be no need to steal anything from anywhere when you could easily purchase it yourself or have the promotion purchase it for you. This also falls square in line with the notion that all individuals placed under arrest are innocent until proven guilty, and clearly Emma can’t be guilty of stealing something worth $21.14.
Reports have it that Emma was sentenced to some community service and upon completion of said service, all charges against her would be dropped. This form of “punishment,” apparently, isn’t enough for the WWE.
Immediately fans cite the blatant hypocrisy of the WWE’s policy towards the professionalism of its employees outside of the company by mentioning the repeated DUI arrests and Wellness Policy violations of several other superstars (Randy Orton, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, Jack Swagger, Jimmy Uso). There was even a comment that brought up superstars with legal issues prior to their joining the WWE family (Booker T), which was intended to make the point that the ‘E keeps superstars who committed far worse crimes on the roster than this, deeming their decision to release Emma over allegedly stealing an iPod case completely asinine and ridiculous.
Emma’s release also comes at a time when fans have been convinced that the multitude of recent releases within the company have everything to do with the perceived financial crisis the promotion is currently facing. This leads fans to believe that Emma’s release was simply a cost-cutting measure and that her arrest was an excuse used to poorly justify her termination.
To say it plainly, fans are justifiably saddened at Emma’s release … even though five days ago they were complaining that she and her gimmick were failing to get over with fans … such is the befuddling and ever flexible opinion of pro wrestling fans. Hakuna matata.
The constant “thing” with each of the theories surrounding the logic behind Emma’s release is dualistic in that it is composed of an emotional response and a stone cold reality. Deep down we fans actually like Emma the character and Tenille, the woman who portrays the character, and we all honestly have no idea why WWE released her.
We fans can speculate all day and night, but as spectators hovering around the the situation with our faces firmly pressed against the glass separating us from the odds-and-ends of the business, we can only comment on what we think we know to the extent in which we understand it. It makes more sense for us to blame the ‘E for responding to Emma’s arrest in the manner they did, and it makes little sense to us to try to understand why they responded they way they did. We’ve reacted to our superficial knowledge of the situation at hand … nothing more, nothing less.
Very few people have mentioned that this situation may affect the visa that allows her, as an Australian citizen, to work here in the United States. What would happen if she were still under contract with the ‘E and forced to return home for an indefinite amount of time? But of course this isn’t sensational enough to consider or speculate on.
Even with discussing the financial issues plaguing the promotion at the time, very few people have talked about the budget cuts from the perspective rooted in the beginning of a new fiscal year (July 1st), where most businesses look to shave expenses from their budget lines. Instead of looking at the situation as if the ‘E were trying to save money after losing so much, one could view it as if the ‘E were trying to save money by not spending as much as they did the last fiscal year. There were reports that the WWE cut travel expenses for their superstars (paying for their tour buses), and if you’ve paid attention even the PPV sets aren’t as elaborate as they once were; these cost-cutting measures keep the promotion from spending more money and being as free with their revenue as they were before the massive loss of profits. Unfortunately the money spent on employee contracts isn’t immune from these types of cost cutting measures.
From that perspective the promotion then becomes a place where superstars have no room or margin for error, especially superstars on the low end of the ladder in WWE. Whatever Emma did or didn’t do, no matter how small an infraction we believe it to be, was a simple “f**k up” that might have cost her her WWE contract. Then again, this isn’t sensational enough to consider or speculate on either.
Then there is our comparison of the punishment for Emma’s infraction compared to that of other superstars. While fans have piled on the bandwagon advocating for Emma by citing the punishments received by other superstars for committing crimes deemed more “harsh” or “serious,” there haven’t been many fans that have spoken at length on the implied misogyny present within the company. No one has noted how current TNA Knockout Taryn Terrell was released immediately from her contract after being arrested for an altercation with her then husband and former WWE superstar Drew McIntyre, while male superstars arrested for suspected domestic abuse (“Stone Cold” Steve Austin) were allowed to go about their business within the promotion after repaying their debt to society. Perhaps the issue of discrimination against women would be more important to discuss whether or not a suspected thief should be given the same leniency as someone driving under the influence (which could be anybody over whatever the legal limit is in the state they’re driving in; one doesn’t necessarily have to be “drunk” and driving to be arrested for driving under the influence…).
Whatever the case may be and whatever we choose to believe, it truly stinks that Emma had only scratched the surface of her potential on the main roster before her release. Only she, her attorney and the prosecutor, and the WWE truly know what happened; as much as we desire to crucify the ‘E for choosing to release her from the promotion, we’re doing so as an immediate, ill-informed response and reaction to the news. We shouldn’t expect that Emma won’t ever work for the company again, nor should we expect that we won’t see her wrestle again in some form or capacity. At this point, all we can do as fans is make a loud enough noise supporting her if her arrest was the result of a careless action she unintentionally made when checking out at Walmart. Until all the facts come out, if they ever come out, we’ll have to find some way to grapple with not seeing her meander through a gimmick that we said wasn’t working for us.