Things took an awkward turn when FS1 host Kristine Leahy was interviewing WWE SmackDown Women's Champion Bayley recently on Fair Game.
As part of WWE SmackDown's move to FOX this fall, the network has started to book some of WWE's stars on talk show segments. This should ramp up as we get closer to the October premiere, especially once the NFL season gets going as FOX is expected to do some WWE promotion during game broadcasts as well.
However, it's Bayley's appearance on Fair Game with Leahy that has people talking. The host was shocked to find out that WWE stars rent their own cars and drive themselves between shows, year round.
Leahy then asked Bayley about getting something in their new CBA (collective bargaining agreement) about this and offered to help negotiate it in. Bayley, visibly uncomfortable when asked if the stars have a CBA, told her that there is no CBA. Of course, wrestlers have been discouraged and prevented by promoters from unionizing for decades.
Shocked!! To hear this! Happy to help with the CBA negotiation anytime! pic.twitter.com/aCYJd10z6q— Kristine Leahy (@KristineLeahy) July 12, 2019
Holy shit...Leahy assuming WWE wrestlers are unionized and Bayley's reaction. https://t.co/1uOTSYHgvI— David Bixenspan (@davidbix) July 13, 2019
Here’s the clip from Kristine Leahy’s interview with Bayley—tweeted Thursday by her FS1 show’s official account and then deleted within the last hour—where a relative softball question stumbled into Leahy being shocked by WWE talent driving themselves and not having a union. pic.twitter.com/w1t8j3SsG6— David Bixenspan (@davidbix) July 13, 2019
The full exchange went as follows:
BAYLEY: "It's not pretty. It's hard. The hardest part are the drives afterward, four hour drives, five hour drives. Sometimes it's in the sketchiest towns when there's literally nothing and you're afraid to you might run out of gas which does happen.
LEAHY: "You've run out of gas?"
BAYLEY: "I haven't run out of gas, which, It's gotten very, very, very close where I have to take the foot off the pedal..."
LEAHY: "So, you're driving yourself?"
BAYLEY: "Oh yeah, we drive ourselves"
LEAHY: "You don't have, like, a driver?"
BAYLEY: "Yeah, we drive ourselves. We get our own rental car and we drive ourselves."
LEAHY: "You get a rental car?"
BAYLEY: "Yes. How do you expect us to get around to these towns and entertain our people?"
LEAHY: "I don't know. You're superstars. I feel like after the show there's a driver and it's like, 'Here's your driver, get in. You've had a hard day of work, we'll drive you with a full tank of gas.'"
BAYLEY: "We do it five days a week so they can't do that for 30 superstars five days a week."
LEAHY: "I don't know, I think they make a lot of money off you guys."
BAYLEY: "I think so too. But, you know, they take care of us in most things..."
LEAHY: "Do you want me to negotiate your guys' new CBA?"
LEAHY: "Do you have a CBA?"
BAYLEY: "No but..."
LEAHY: "Let's make one."
BAYLEY: "Okay, you know what (laughs).."
BAYLEY: "Ya know, things like this, we can, we work around it."
BAYLEY: "It's fun though. It does become fun."
BAYLEY: "You get to connect with, ya know, whoever you travel with and there's memories you won't have with anyone else and it comes like a real family sisterhood or brotherhood."
While those in the know have often spoken out about some of the controversies with the working conditions and lack of perks that wrestlers deal with, it has started to pick up some steam in the mainstream again since John Oliver focused in on these issues before WrestleMania this past spring.
WWE probably didn't expect lack of unionization and working conditions to come to light, though, in an interview that was largely considered a promotional piece for the organization as they prepare for their big television move this fall.