Clinton, Obama, McCain Get in the WWE Ring

The three major-party presidential hopefuls will take their differences into the wrestling ring Monday night, sort of.

Sens. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) have been hitting the airwaves hard of late, with one or the other appearing on everything from American Idol and music awards shows to late-night talk and comedy shows.

Now, on the eve of the Pennsylvania primary, each will appear on USA Network's WWE Monday Night Raw wrestling show in taped appearances, according to the network.

That came after WWE looked to get some promotional punch out of the race and drive more young people to the polls by challenging Obama and Clinton to "settle the Democratic-nomination process in the wrestling ring." While they did not take WWE up on the tongue-in-cheek offer, they did agree to tape a message for the audience, as did McCain, whom the network also reached out to as part of its effort to get viewers to the polls.

WWE has tried to get the presidential candidates to square off before. It was unable to arrange an arm-wrestling match between George W. Bush and Al Gore in 2000.

WWE is also trying to do its part outside the squared circle with its Smackdown Your Vote voter-registration site. It just posted an issues paper on the site, which it launched in 2000.

Gary Davis, vice president of corporate communications for WWE and head of the Smackdown Your Vote effort, said the production of the taped messages was a tag-team effort between the campaigns and the company.

He added that the goal is for the candidates to speak directly to young people and others who might not vote, saying the candidates "definitely took advantage of the forum," but he would not get into the content of the videos, which are still being put together.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.