WWE's decision to change the name of the Fabulous Moolah Memorial Battle Royal to the WrestleMania Women's Battle Royal was an attempt to rectify a situation that many in WWE knew was a bad idea to begin with.
I've spoken to numerous WWE wrestlers over the past several days about WWE's call to name their latest WrestleMania battle royal iteration after The Fabulous Moolah, once adored and regarded as a leader and legend in women's wrestling, now considered among the most vile to ever participate in sports entertainment. After allegations of sex trafficking, drugging, and practically robbing her own students for decades overwhelmed WWE's social media, they pulled Moolah's name from the show.
However, there were multiple people who communicated to Vince McMahon before the announcement that backlash should be expected. Not only that, but apparently McMahon was advised against it, which fell on deaf ears.
"It's a sign of Vince McMahon truly not understanding the power of social media and a digital age. That's almost because he moved to a digital pay-per-view format and has our announcers pushing social media so hard, so often," one backstage worker told me. "I know for a fact that at least two people told him that it was an iffy choice, and one straight up told Vince it was a bad idea."
There were a number of WWE talent that had no clue of the allegations towards Moolah. It's worth noting that none of the women I spoke to were around when Moolah was, and all said that they had never met her. In the recent weeks, several woman were clued in on the alleged history of Moolah abusing her trainees.
One male wrestler had not only met Moolah, but worked on shows with her and said that she was a little crabby, but he always simply chalked that up to being an older woman who had just been through a rough travel day.
At Smackdown Live this week, many were surprised that a change hadn't already been made as everyone involved who had went near Twitter was aware of the explosion on social media. By the end of Tuesday night, a female wrestler told me that they knew the match would face a name change, but she also feared that WWE would scrap the match altogether just to avoid the trouble. Needless to say, she was relieved that didn't happen. She'd also said that a fellow female wrestler was outright angry that Moolah was considered, and explained that it undermined the point of the match itself. Although I clearly spoke to these people on the condition of anonymity, I wasn't given the name or brand of the wrestler who was described as "angry."
Snickers was heavily influential in getting the changes made. The candy brand, owned by Mars, was swarmed with phone calls, website comments, tweets and e-mails that called for the company to pull advertising and sponsorship. Snickers is the primary sponsor of WrestleMania 34 and were "very upset" to hear the news. They communicated this fact to WWE, which accelerated the move to change the name of the match.
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