Readers of the opinions on this site will sometimes see President Trump referred to as “Japetto” within our published opinions. The word is a deliberately misspelled play on the famous puppet master and handler of Pinocchio, Geppetto because Japetto is the ultimate puppet master and marketer-traits he learned and honed from a master marketer and one of his closest friends, Vince McMahon…
For those unaware of the breadth and depth of the background of our current president, Trump was a show regular for World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) intermintedly throughout the mid 90s to the early 2000’s, culminating in a “hair vs hair” match with WWE chairman, and good friend to this day, Vince McMahon at WrestleMania in 2007 that Trump won. The segments, and shaving of Vince McMahan’s head in front of 80,000 people and millions watching on pay per view are wrestling legend to this day among fans, and resulted in Trump being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2015.
I consider understanding this part of Donald Trumps history essential to understanding his approach to dealing with the many different types of people that he interacts with daily.
Donald Trump playing to the crowd at an unknown WWE event circa 2006. Our current President was a regular on WWE programming going back to his being a host at WrestleMania’s 3 and 4 in the 1980’s. He was ultimately inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame prior to his announcement to run for President in 2015. Image credit unknown.
Why is this period of Trumps life so important? Because this where he learned the speaking and self marketing technics he employs today when marketing his platform ideas and in dealing with not only his supporters at rally’s, but also the media; the way he phrases his tweets; and the way he deals with his political opponents.
For those unaware, the CEO of WWE Vince McMahan, is a self made billionaire. In the early 1980’s he took over his father’s NE regional wrestling promotion and through a combination of vision, ruthlessness and a marketing strategy based on playing on every emotional construct that he could get his talent to draw from the audience, McMahan turned the WWE into a multi billion dollar, publicly traded company and global entertainment juggernaut within 20 years. He was so successful that along the way he was able to buy out his primary national competition, solidifying his place as #1 in his industry while never violating anti trust monopoly laws; but it is the marketing strategy that McMahan employs, which Trump learned so well as a “Pro Wrestler” and which he uses every day as President of the United States.
On social media and the internet they call it trolling, but in Pro Wrestling it is known as a “work”-getting the audience to react how you want them to, to what you’re saying, and it has been essential to the longevity and success of that industry because it is used as a way to measure what an audience wants. The best performers have the ability to have every audience hanging on every word they say, reacting perfectly and as wanted to the scripted lines they speak. It is this which Donald Trump does, and why I call him Japetto-he works everyone he’s engaging with on a public stage. Just like the Pro Wrestlers he worked with for so long in the WWE.
He learned from the best, and now he is one of the best.