Monday, 17 April 2017

The JBL Special And More

After no apparent change yesterday, the 'Will JBL Still Be Contracted To WWE On July 1st 2017?' market - that is available from the Paddy Power and Sportsbet Australia websites - has once again moved in favour of 'Yes'.

Barring yesterday's stalling, it has been 'Yes' all the way. As you can see, the original price was 4/6 on April 13th and it's now down to 4/9 with 'No' increasing from 11/10 to 13/8.

The market was priced up because - at the moment - there's an apparent backlash from wrestling fans to the reports of John Bradshaw Layfield having allegedly played a part in forcing Mauro Ranallo to leave his post as Smackdown commentator due to illness. Coincidentally, Justin Roberts' autobiography - which was released in the US recently - documents some of the hazing and bullying that he experienced while working with WWE.

With WWE promoting its 'Be a Star' campaign, there's evidently a contradiction at play with the talent urging fans not to bully others yet the business having a culture within its locker room that allows it.

Fans have been urging WWE, as well as its sponsors, to act. People have been trying to use the 'FireJBL' hashtag on Twitter, but - so far - the company has made no response.

On Saturday, I set up a Twitter poll just to see how far apart fans are on this. I asked the same question that the Paddy Power market asks in regard to Layfield still being contracted to WWE on July 1st.

Going in, I thought more would vote for 'No' and wanted to contrast that to the betting that's evidently in favour of the 'Yes'.

Of the twenty-nine people that participated, it was quite close with fifteen people believing that JBL will still have a job in July. The remaining fourteen expect WWE to end its relationship with the Smackdown color commentator.

Richard left an interesting comment after siding with the 'Yes' when he wrote that it's 'Easy money' because the company 'didn't fire him after he goose-stepped in Germany'. 

The incident, which happened in Munich on a June 2004 tour, saw Layfield goose-step and do the Nazi salute when trying to get cheap heat during his match against Eddie Guererro. 

It should go without saying that the reaction was negative at the time and in the days that followed.

WWE stuck by Layfield, who was WWE Champion at the time. However, I can't help but wonder what would have happened if 2004 was like today's age with more people allowed to voice their displeasure on social media and force sponsors to get involved.

A year later, WWE acted on the negative reaction it garnered by having The Undertaker attacked by muslin terrorists on the week of the 7/7 bombings in London. The attack was recorded two days before London was targeted and it still made it to air on the day of the atrocity. Sponsors were contacted and voiced their displeasure to the company.

And that's what it all boils down to. 

Fans can chant and tweet as much as they like. News sites can write as much as they want. WWE will only react if its sponsors start asking questions. 

The fans have been chanting, the news sites have been reporting. But, have the sponsors been reacting to it?

Ever since the market was first installed, I've been the equivalent of the Twitter poll. Almost straight down the middle because I believe the sponsors are the only parties that could force WWE to act in this situation.

I haven't placed a wager on the market because I can still see it going either way. However, the longer it goes on, the more the 'Yes' has a chance of being the winning option.

When available, the market can be found on the following pages:

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