Last Week Tonight Takes Shots at WWE & AEW

May 19, 2020 - by James Walsh

Last Week Tonight is still ongoing during the COVID-19 pandemic, with John Oliver going without a crew away from the HBO set. The latest episode is now online and during an overall look at sports during the quarantine, he mentions both AEW and WWE. Both have been operating in Florida with empty arena shows after wrestling was declared ‘essential’ in the state.

He said: “The state of Florida earlier on designated professional sports and media production with a national audience as essential service so long as it’s closed to the general public. So the WWE has continued staging shows in Florida, holding matches in front of empty chairs, but that requires a lot more people than just those two wrestlers. You need production crews working together in close proximity. And while the WWE maintains its safety measures are as comprehensive as they can possibly be, one employee wrote an anonymous letter to a Florida county commissioner asking them to shut the tapings down because ‘despite sanitary precautions, we cannot maintain social distancing and have to touch other people.’ But it’s easy to see why CEO Vince McMahon doesn’t mind them taking that risk, as he told investors on a recent earnings call, viewers want to see new matches.”

He then ran a quote from McMahon, where he said: “I think new content is always a driver in terms of stimulating interest and what have you, and obviously everyone is pretty much starved for new content. It could very well be that you’re tired of watching Netflix and you want to see, you know, strong men running around in their underwear.”

After that, Oliver continued: “Okay! Well, um first, I would argue that the risks of creating content like you are seem to outweigh the benefits right now. And second, no one on that call registered your point there because you just said ‘stimulating’, ‘strong men’, ‘underwear’ and crucially, ‘driver’, all in the same sentence, at which point everyone’s minds turned immediately to getting absolutely bone-crushed by Adam Driver. Chokeslam me to hell you nasty shed. Jam your mandible claw down my throat you irredeemable steer.”

He then had a quick side note about the Driver joke, before he added: “And it’s not just the WWE. Their competitor AEW is also taping shows in Florida and the UFC just last week started hosting matches in Jacksonville.”

The segment then moved onto the UFC and other sports. This isn’t the first time Oliver has taken aim at the WWE, as he did so last year over its treatment of talent and the lack of healthcare.

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