Why WWE's Ten-Bell Salute For George H.W. Bush Was A Bit Strange

There's no past-president precedent.

WWE George Bush tribute

Last night's episode of Raw began with WWE paying tribute to George H.W. Bush with a ten-bell salute. The 41st President passed away last Friday at the age of 94.

Although there's nothing untoward in the slightest about WWE honouring Bush, it is interesting to note that they have no history of doing this sort of thing.

Gerald Ford's death in 2006 was acknowledged on the show airing immediately afterwards - but only when Kenny Dykstra ribbed that Ric Flair's career was going to die along with number 38 (and Saddam Hussein and James Brown, for that matter). It was a different time.

Ronald Reagan died in June 2004, but it went entirely unacknowledged on the following week's episode of Raw, which instead opened with Stacey Keibler inciting squeals of delight from Jerry Lawler. Unlike Ford, Reagan had presided over the United States during WWE's great time of plenty, and was a relevant figure to many fans who had grown up with the product. What's more, his politics directly aligned with those of Vince McMahon's - making the lack of commemoration all the stranger.

Unsurprisingly, when Richard Nixon passed in April 1994, his life was not paid lip-service on WWE programming - not least because the episode of Raw airing immediately after his death had been taped three weeks in advance.

WWE's decision to give Bush the video package treatment is doubly interesting considering the ex-President's criticism of current POTUS Donald Trump - a man for whom it's no secret WWE share personal affection. Despite the animosity Bush had exhibited towards Trump, he stipulated that he wanted 45 to attend his funeral, putting institution before antipathy.

It seems WWE's out-the-ordinary eulogy is entirely apolitical then, a PR-motivated display of public respect more than anything. But will it set a past-president precedent?

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Editorial Team
Editorial Team

Benjamin was born in 1987, and is still not dead. He variously enjoys classical music, old-school adventure games (they're not dead), and walks on the beach (albeit short - asthma, you know). He's currently trying to compile a comprehensive history of video game music, yet denies accusations that he purposefully targets niche audiences. He's often wrong about these things.