Could WWE boss Triple H help Sadiq Khan’s mayoral election hopes?

As the London mayor teases bringing WrestleMania to the UK, wrestling fan Ryan Coogan explains why it could help him clinch the upcoming election

Saturday 27 April 2024 12:55 BST
Paul ‘Triple H’ Levesque has reached out to Sadiq Khan about bringing WrestleMania to London
Paul ‘Triple H’ Levesque has reached out to Sadiq Khan about bringing WrestleMania to London (Getty/AP)

Professional wrestling and politics may seem like strange bedfellows, but that isn’t really the case. There’s a surprisingly rich history of the two crossing over, probably due to their shared tendency to blur reality and fiction, their reliance on larger-than-life personalities, and the fact that most people can’t help but complain no matter who wins.

Wrestlers like Jesse Ventura and Kane have taken public office, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has expressed his desire to run for the presidency, and we’ve even had a WWE hall of famer as former (and possibly future) president in Donald Trump.

While those sorts of crossovers might seem like a purely US phenomenon, it may be that we here in the UK could begin to see the sport of kings take hold in our own political institutions, as current WWE boss Paul “Triple H” Levesque has reached out to Sadiq Khan about bringing WrestleMania to London.

In fact, it was Khan who first proposed the idea, tweeting “London is already the sporting capital of the world. If I’m re-elected next Thursday we’ll go even further. We’ll look to bring WrestleMania, Superbowl and the NBA to London, and put together another bid for the 2040 Olympics.” Triple H, in response, retweeted Khan, simply adding “Let’s talk.”

As a wrestling fan, the idea of an incumbent London mayor using WrestleMania as part of his re-election strategy fills me with the kind of joy I haven’t felt since Mick Foley beat the Rock for the WWE Championship in 1999. After decades of being told wrestling wasn’t cool by playground bullies – and then later by much older, meaner workplace bullies – we finally did it. The country is ours. Drew McIntyre for prime minister.

Personally, I believe that all aspects of our politics could be improved by the introduction of professional wrestling. Prime Minister’s Questions is already a free for all – let’s give them some steel chairs and settle this once and for all. Rishi won’t call an election? Get ready to face Starmer inside Hell in a Cell. And as for the Lib Dems? Well, every company needs a few jobbers.

As much as I’d love to see WrestleMania come to London – mostly because I would like to go, but also because it would mean not having stay up until 5am on a work night to watch, like I do when it airs in the US – it’s not quite as simple as that. WWE is going through a boom period at the moment, and as such is doing big business not just for itself, but for the cities that host its events.

According to one report, one of WWE’s more recent big events, the Royal Rumble, made its host city of St Petersburg, Florida over $47m in terms of economic impact. The city made around $28m in direct spending, almost $3m in taxes, and local businesses reported increases of between 10 and 700 per cent when compared to a normal work day.

As such, WWE is in a position where it can ask cities to pay them to grace it with their presence – especially WrestleMania, which is not only the company’s flagship show, and which attracts people from all around the world, but is currently the only two-day event on the company’s calendar. While there is a promise of big returns when hosting the show, Khan may find it difficult to justify spending money on something that extravagant when the country is in such dire economic straits – especially when the next available date for a London WrestleMania could be as late as 2026.

That being said, proving that he is wrestle-friendly could earn Khan more street than he thinks. WWE has already had massive success in the UK in recent years, including Clash at the Castle in 2022, which brought over £21m to the Welsh economy. Outside of WWE, All Elite Wrestling (AEW) had enormous success in 2023 with its All In show at Wembley, almost selling out the arena despite being a much smaller promotion with significantly less name recognition. WrestleMania, as a much bigger and more established show, would likely sell it out both nights in a row.

The numbers don’t lie: the UK is hungry for wrestling, and we will reward you for giving it to us. So don’t let us down, Sadiq – tag us in.

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