By Oliver Bateman, The American Conservative
Vince McMahon’s wrestlers are trademarked IP subject to extraordinary levels of control.
John Cena recently made waves after apologizing to the People’s Republic of China for calling Taiwan a “country” during an interview with a Taiwanese broadcaster. Cena’s apology, delivered in Mandarin Chinese by the wrestler himself, prompted critics to claim that the long-time WWE superstar had been bought and paid for by the rising world superpower.
However, China acquiring such an ownership interest in Cena isn’t possible, at least under the terms of intellectual property law — he belongs to the WWE. Although “John Cena” is the wrestler’s real name, WWE controls the trademark rights to it. Whenever the name “John Cena” appears in a commercial or film, the WWE gets a cut.