When does WWE take a hit from advertisers or viewers?
Not yet. Not as long as the sport - is not a sport.
Not even when a top champion wrestler, or entertainment performer, Chris Benoit, in an alleged state of steroid rage, allegedly killed his son, wife and then himself.
This isn't the first time WWE has had problems. Other wrestlers have met with tragedy in recent years. WWE is still on the air -- as an entertainment program. (Others have called it a live-action cartoon TV show).
WWE gets a lot of grief from those who write about the TV business because it's part-sport, part-entertainment, and entirely muddled. Ultimate fighting has been in a similar sort of entertainment netherland, which until recently was shunned by the business and sports press. But at least it seems to be a straight-ahead sport.
Surprise! Wrestlers seem to need to take steroids and testosterone to keep up their large cartoonish figures - all for entertainment. Can the same be said of prime-time drama queens? Botox aside?
Unlike real athletes, wrestling athletes/entertainers on drugs aren't going for real sports records. If real athletes allegedly have done drugs to enhance their performance, then the value of their sport as a TV program becomes tainted. That's not necessarily true with wrestling.
What happens when you and your young teenage son are watching the next wrestling match on USA Network or on another network? What do you say? That Benoit's actions are just a fluke? That those other entertainers in the ring are doing their best to entertain you -- but aren't on drugs?
There are a lot of questions here, including what all this means for TV advertisers of WWE. If a wrestling match is fixed and the athletes are on drugs, it seems to be no big deal for sponsors. But if a baseball game is fixed and its athletes are on drugs, that's a problem.
Some would say, who cares whether those performers are hurting their bodies. The real problem is when those real drugs have real-life consequences for real people, like Chris Benoit's wife and son.