If administrators at North Carolina State are looking for ways to improve the school’s financial situation—and what educational institution isn’t doing that?—then they should cast their eyes northward to the Stamford, Connecticut, headquarters of the WWE.
Well, World Wrestling Entertainment is the biggest organization in professional wrestling, or, ahem, sports entertainment as they like to call it, with annual revenue around $540 million. But the company has had a profitability problem recently, even resorting to layoffs in the past year. So naturally the WWE is looking under the couch cushions and anywhere else it can find additional revenue, which no doubt has influenced its decision to file for a trademark after New Japan Pro Wrestling’s “Bullet Club” faction started using a hand gesture that’s very familiar around these parts.
In wrestling, the hand sign traces back to when “The Kliq”—Shawn Michaels, Triple H, X-Pac, Scott Hall—were roaming the locker rooms and rings of the WWE and throwing up the “Too Sweet” hand sign. Later, some of those went to rival wrestling, sorry, sports entertainment, promotion WCW, formed a group known as the NWO, aka the Wolfpack, and the “Too Sweet” gesture became even more popular as a symbol of that Wolfpack.
WWE eventually bought out WCW and thus owns both WWE- and WCW-related copyrights and trademarks. They don’t want another organization using the gesture or putting it on T-shirts (as the Bullet Club is doing) if they can do it themselves and make money off such merchandise. It sounds silly, but there’s precedent—wrestler Diamond Dallas Page and rap mogul Jay-Z settled out of court a few years back when Jay-Z started using a diamond hand sign made famous by DDP.
That’s where North Carolina State comes in. You see, “the Kliq” was doing its thing in the ’90s. NC State fans have been throwing up the Wolfpack sign at least as far back as the 1970s (there are photos online of State cheerleaders from that decade making the sign).
Soooooo … and we’re just spit-ballin’ here … but maybe NC State should consider threatening to take the WWE to court. After all, they were years ahead of the Kliq/NWO.
Just a thought as we do our bit to help the public good.