John Oliver Discussed A ‘Morally Subterranean’ WWE On ‘Last Week Tonight’

Oscar Cross
April 2, 2019

Original: With WrestleMania 35 taking place on April 7, John Oliver saw no better time than now to take on the WWE for what he argued was a lack of concern over the wrestlers' health and long-term healthcare.

He played many clips from retired wrestlers who have worked under McMahon.

Oliver also revealed clauses in certain contracts which state that WWE aren't responsible if a wrestler suffers a permanent injury or death, even if they are negligible, and they can terminate a performer's contract if they are injured for six weeks or more.


During the episode of Last Week Tonight, Oliver unpacked the frightful work conditions faced by wrestlers in the WWE under the reign of McMahon, who is seen as a villain during telecasts of WWE events. Despite the fact that wrestlers have to sign exclusive contracts with WWE, they are still classified as "independent contractors" rather than "employees". "Well, incredibly, there might be, because there's one group that even McMahon occasionally seems to listen to, and that's the fans".

Oliver started his spiel by diving into his own wrestling fandom, claiming he liked the sport, and citing things like Jake Roberts' snake biting Randy Savage among his favourite moments. "Which is heartwarming, but frankly fans shouldn't be shouldering that responsibility", Oliver said. "And when you have lost the moral high ground to the (expletive) National Football League, you are morally subterranean". It's a little less great to hear them gasp at graphs of wrestler deaths and footage of Vince McMahon losing his cool during interviews, but I think this is the kind of moral ambiguity we live with as fans every day.

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