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WWE had discussions with the White House in 2020, Vince McMahon rejected a high-profile guest

According to a former employee, WWE wanted to bring in Anthony Fauci for a guest appearance, but Vince McMahon nixed the idea.

When the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in 2020, life changed dramatically for people around the world. Professional wrestling was forced to undergo major production changes, with stars performing in empty arenas because fans couldn’t gather.

Dr. Anthony Fauci became a household name during this time, with his medical guidance and recommendations hotly debated during such unprecedented times. During a recent edition of The Wrestling Matt, former WWE employee Matt Camp revealed that the sports entertainment giant tried to land Fauci for a guest appearance on The Bump.

“As the months pass…Dr. Anthony Fauci was in the news a lot, and they’re trying to get the word out about the vaccine and whatever, and okay, he appeared everywhere and on television.

It’s coming out, I found this out, I don’t think I knew it when it happened, or maybe I didn’t know it until the end. I’ve said this before: The Bump didn’t get a lot of love within the company, but sometimes it was used in certain ways. The Bump could make money for the company with sponsorships and things like that. Just look at some of those pandemic episodes, we had the most random people who aren’t struggling people.

We had the Property Brothers, we had a YouTuber from Mexico, we had Ken Jeong, we had Joel McHale, we had Keegan Michael Key, we had Randy Jackson, you name it. We had all these random people, and they drew…not very well. There was a wrestling bubble where I don’t think people cared about celebrities. That’s why I thought the Raw guest hosts never did that well unless they were there.

Further on, Camp described the communication between WWE and the White House and the decision to try to have Anthony Fauci appear on The Bump as opposed to other programming.

“So conversations have actually begun and been had with the White House, the White House and the president. There were conversations happening with the White House about, this is a big global entity and there’s another way to get the word out about Dr. Fauci, who became the main character of COVID and the pandemic, come on… that guy would appear on WWE programming to spread the word about getting the vaccine or vaccine awareness and all that.

So there was actual communication with the White House, and it was determined that this appearance, I think (it) was discussed in a few different ways, would take place at The Bump. Somehow that was the medium, and when you think about it, what else would it have been? Some kind of pre-tape they played during Raw and SmackDown? Maybe, but this was the only live talk show where it was done, so okay. It would probably have been pre-recorded, we recorded a lot of stuff during the pandemic.

But the idea was: here is the right forum. Do it on The Bump. There were conversations, and I’ll tell you, I think from a digital regime, it’s like a regime and a half ago, and there was trust in our show, and I will say there was trust specifically in me and Kayla (Braxton) deal with that.”

Matt Camp also revealed that Drew McIntyre and Sasha Banks were meant to be involved in a conversation with Fauci, and according to him, Stephanie McMahon supported the idea.

“So part of the discussion was to get top talent involved. Drew (McIntyre), the other name was floating around, I’m not going to speculate on anything, but Sasha Banks was the other name. It was meant to be them, and it would happen. I’m 99% sure Stephanie McMahon agreed to this. As far as I know, she agreed with this idea.

So it got pretty far and there was one more stop to be made, Vince. Initially I was told Vince was okay with it. You have to remember that not everything went through Vince, but a lot of it did. This was a big deal, it was a big deal for the company, so he should sign this.

Vince McMahon gave the thumbs down for Anthony Fauci’s appearance on WWE’s The Bump

Ultimately, however, Vince McMahon felt an appearance by Anthony Fauci would be too political, and the idea was squashed. Camp continued:

“At first I was told he was on board, and when it came down to, ‘Hey, this is going to happen, the details are all worked out,’ I don’t know if it ended up being Drew and Sasha. I think Drew would be involved. It would just be, I think the idea was a roundtable discussion about the pandemic, living in it and being an entertainer, getting the word out about the vaccine and so on.

But Vince had to forfeit the finale (thumbs up), and he did (thumbs down). As you might expect, considered too political. As far as I know, it was one of the few times he got directly involved with the show. Vince said no, and it didn’t happen. That was the end of it.

I think the intention was good. I don’t know how it would have been received. I think it would have been a big deal for the company to do this. But that was seen as political. “We think this is political, so we’re not going to do that.” So Anthony Fauci made it onto the esteemed guest list of Bump guests because Vince said, ‘No, that’s not going to happen.’

Matt Camp was released from his WWE contract in February 2024, a move that came as a surprise to many. Elsewhere on this podcast, Camp claims the company’s handling of his release was “pretty sh*tty.”

h/t Fighting