Nick Hausman WWE Screen grab: Haus of Wrestling

On the eve of this weekend’s Super Bowl, WWE opted to make its own presence felt in Las Vegas.

Taking over T-Mobile Arena on Thursday, the pro wrestling giant held a star-studded WrestleMania XL kickoff press conference, featuring appearances from the likes of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Roman Reigns, Cody Rhodes, Seth Rollins, Rhea Ripley, Becky Lynch, Bianca Belair and Paul “Triple H” Levesque.

But while the event — in which WWE seemingly pivoted from its plans to have The Rock face Reigns at WrestelMania with The Rock apparently turning heel (bad guy) — was largely well received by fans, the same can’t be said for at least one media member. Taking to X (formerly Twitter), Nick Hausman of Haus of Wrestling stated that he was denied interview access at the press conference, forcing him to leave Las Vegas emptyhanded from a content perspective.

“I was told I would not be given interview access at the #WrestleMania kickoff event so I am leaving and heading back to Chicago,” Hausman wrote. “Sorry to everyone who expected some (flame emoji) content. I would have loved to ask the questions you all want answers to.”

Like many in the wrestling media, Hausman doesn’t work for a traditional outlet with corporate backing, but rather, his own self-created website. Thus, it’s understandable why he would be frustrated about making arrangements to travel to Las Vegas — during Super Bowl week, no less — only to not be given access to anything beyond watching a “press conference” that was also being livestreamed across the world.

Hausman later shared that a WWE employee had reached out to him on behalf of the company and offered to reimburse his expenses. He went on to state that he believed the entire ordeal to be a mere miscommunication.

“A member of WWE’s team has personally reached out to me and offered to reimburse my expenses for coming to Vegas for the kickoff and not getting content,” he wrote. “There was obvious miscommunication with me specifically and I really appreciate them stepping up like that.”

While this entire situation may, in fact, have been a miscommunication, we appear to have reached a crossroads when it comes to the media and wrestling. Considering the nature of the industry, promotions are often shy to provide full transparency, but have made a habit of holding press conferences in recent years.

Those press conferences — which were started by AEW president Tony Khan and later replicated by Levesque in WWE — typically consist of softball questions, but sometimes provide interesting insights into the behind-the-scenes happenings of the companies. In recent months, they’ve also provided opportunities for reporters to ask company executives about real-life controversies, including sexual misconduct allegations against Chris Jericho on social media and the Vince McMahon sex trafficking/assault lawsuit.

It’s also worth noting that Hausman was the first reporter at the Royal Rumble press conference to ask about the allegations against McMahon. And based on Levesque’s repeated dodging of the questions regarding McMahon at the Royal Rumble press conference, it’s clear that WWE didn’t appreciate such serious questions being asked of one of its top executives in such a setting.

Which brings us to Thursday’s event, which despite WWE’s branding, was more pep rally than press conference. While some wrestlers were made available to select entities off-camera, it was hardly the open forum for questions that the phrase “press conference” implies.

Ultimately, it seems like WWE wants to be perceived to be a real sport — even though it isn’t actually one. And that can get especially messy when it comes to the media, whose sports-like coverage is necessary to accomplishing that goal, even if it isn’t always appreciated by the company itself.

Taking everybody at their word, Hausman not being given access appears to be a mere miscommunication. But it’s also hardly surprising such a miscommunication would occur, as WWE’s sports-like strategy seems to be full of crossed signals.

[Nick Hausman on X]

About Ben Axelrod

Ben Axelrod is a veteran of the sports media landscape, having most recently worked for NBC's Cleveland affiliate, WKYC. Prior to his time in Cleveland, he covered Ohio State football and the Big Ten for outlets including Cox Media Group, Bleacher Report, Scout and Rivals.