In case you haven’t heard, wrestling has a forbidden door and apparently, it’s wide open. AEW wrestlers are competing in New Japan, Impact stars are showing up in WWE, and pretty much everyone is appearing for GCW. The most shocking of all was that middle one. Mickie James returning to WWE for one night only even though she is currently the Impact Knockouts World Champion.
James made an appearance in the women’s Royal Rumble and even though she isn’t a WWE Superstar, she had quite a good showing. She was even allowed to wear her Knockouts Title to the ring. However, eagle-eyed fans might have noticed the bottom third referred to the championship as the Impact Women’s Title. Not what it’s called, and this was no accident.
During a recent episode of Fightful’s Grapsody, which you can check out below, Will Washington reveals a few of the words WWE’s announcers were not allowed to say when discussing James during the Rumble. The big one was the ability to say Impact, but not Impact Wrestling. Not a slight on the rival wrestling company, but rather the hang-up Vince McMahon has with the word wrestling. It’s sports entertainment.
The title being given an entirely different name is also linked to words WWE didn’t want said on the air. Knockouts was one, and world was another. Unclear what WWE’s problem is with the word knockouts. Perhaps it doesn’t want fans to think wrestlers might get legitimately knocked out. As for the word world, maybe since its own Women’s Titles don’t have the word world in them, McMahon feared fans would think the Knockouts Title would be thought of as better than by more casual fans.
The ban on those words for Royal Rumble also extended to the social media team. As for the announcers, dodging words and phrases McMahon doesn’t like being said on his TV shows is an almost untraversable minefield at this point. The longer the list gets, the more respect we should all have for Michael Cole. The man gets a lot of stick from fans, but to be doing that job as long as he has with McMahon constantly in his ear, he deserves more credit than he gets.