A contingent of Jeopardy! fans were outraged by the inclusion of a WWE category, claiming it "dumbed down" the quiz show.
Did the inclusion of a WWE category sully the reputation of a famous brainy game show? According to the Sun, that’s how several viewers felt after a recent episode of Jeopardy! featured trivia about the sports entertainment giant. The angry fans took to the internet to give Jeopardy! a double-arm DDT.
One salty viewer called the WWE a “stupid category” and lamented what they see as “the dumbing down of Jeopardy.” Another crusty commentator channeled The Simpsons‘ Comic Book Guy calling it the most “horrible category ever!” “What a cheesy category for a program of this caliber.” said another unsatisfied viewer.
The wrestling-centric category–which featured video clues from WWE superstars like Rey Mysterio, The Miz, and Triple H–wasn’t even the gameshow’s first. In 2021 Jeopardy! featured a category named Pro Wrestling Terminology. The category even featured a question involving wrestler-turned-actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
The WWE superstars are in good company. In recent years Jeopardy! has leaned more and more on video clues as a way to let celebrities get a promotional cameo on the show. One of the late Alex Trebek’s final episodes featured one such video clue from Ryan Reynolds.
While some people view Jeopardy! as a serious game show for intellectuals, the WWE is far from their silliest subject. Categories such as “Ow”! “Oof”! “Ack”! where each answer features one of the silly exclamations or Zodiac Rhyme Time, where contestants answered with rhymes about astrology are arguably weirder.
The truth is Jeopardy! has always been a mixture of academic trivia and pop culture. For every traditional category, like Shakespeare or World Leaders, there’s something more mainstream, like Pop Music or Video Games. The show is one of the most popular gameshows in the world, after all. It didn’t get that way by alienating non-academic viewers.
The WWE, meanwhile, has come a long way from its humble beginnings as “wrassling.” Much like Marvel or Star Trek, professional wrestling has gone from a niche interest held by a small group of nerds to a mainstream juggernaut. It’s more than worthy of its own Jeopardy! category.
Nevertheless, that doesn’t stop fans from complaining about it. At least one fan seemed to take a different route with their objections. Rather than attack the WWE for being “dumb,” the fan called out Jeopardy! for promoting “violence and disrespect.”
While those terms could be used to argue the merits of watching wrestling, it’s a weird accusation to lob at Jeopardy! itself. Since 1964 the gameshow has had numerous clues involving war, assassination, murder, and weaponry. Nobody has ever accused Jeopardy! of promoting those subjects.
On the other hand, promotion was undoubtedly the reason for the category in the first place. Jeopardy! is no stranger to promotional categories, be it a category on Kung-Fu Panda or one on a fellow Sony-owned property like Ghostbusters. Showbusiness is still a business, after all.
Regardless of fan outrage, the contestants themselves had a blast with the category. All three contestants scored at least one right answer in the WWE category. One contestant was visibly pleased with himself for pulling the phrase “smackdown” out of some dark corner of his brain.
Clearly, Jeopardy! can smell what the Rock is cooking.