I’ve said this before….and it’s always been met with a lot of opposition: I love the Mcmahon family and everything they’ve given the world.
These days, the WWE bestrides the sports entertainment industry like a colossus. Over the years, however, the global company has regularly made as many news headlines for disgruntled ex-employees or grudge-bearing superstars as it has for its major events.
In that time, an awful lot has been written about the vast number of WWE superstars who have either – at regular intervals – taken shots at the industry or each other…but most of the time these shots are directed at the man who has developed the company into a global brand:
Vincent K. McMahon.
Often represented (especially by himself) as an evil, Machiavellian overlord and a villain who torments and twists the careers of his main players, Vince is actually none of these things.
He’s a bloody good businessman: a fair one, too….unless he’s goaded to play dirty by the boardroom machinations of his one-time rivals.
So why does he always get shown in such a bad light by the people who work for him?
Well, it’s because he builds egos for a living.
Vince McMahon is in the business of building egos. He finds particularly talented folks from a vast pool of rigorously trained athletes (yes, they’re all athletes…even the giant ones) and looks for the right presence, the right charisma and the right drive to succeed. He then moves them up the wrestling roster and starts to have them main event huge venues and headline spectacular events like Wrestlemania (his own creation) and the Royal Rumble (conceived by wrestling veteran Pat Patterson).
The problems start to arise when it’s time for someone else to be given the meteoric ‘push’ past the wrestler who is already on top. Unfortunately, the invariably involves an enormous clash of egos…and inidviudal talents start to feel under appreciated or undervalued.
Over the years, we’ve seen enormous trouble brew when practically all Wrestlers were asked to step aside for another talent. Admittedly, Hulk Hogan gave way to The Ultimate Warrior at Wrestlemania 6 (although he probably should have let Mr Perfect win that 1990 Royal Rumble) but then the Hulkster couldn’t quite be persuaded to drop the belt to Ric Flair or Bret Hart….both of whom deserved to be put over him at the time. The same situation seemed to occur with Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels and countless others over time, most recently with CM Punk. One feels that Punk (now with UFC) might not necessarily have had a great issue with giving up the strap, but nevertheless predicted a year ahead in a direction that would see him ‘underused’ and decided that this wasn’t acceptable.
The only wrestlers who seem to thrive in this environment are the ones who genuinely seem to love the business for what it is and can settle into the midcard without ever being dropped or dramatically pushed (at least, more than once or twice in their careers). A lot of the very best wrestlers seem to have fallen into this category: Tito Santano, Rick Martel, Jake ‘the Snake’ Roberts, Ravishing Rick Rude, Mr Perfect, Antonio Cesaro, Dolph Ziggler.
Of course, there are exceptions to the above: wrestlers who seem to rise and fall without ever sensationally quitting the company or remaining as the ‘top star’. These have included, over the years, The Undertaker, Randy Savage, Randy Orton, Edge and Daniel Bryan (the latter both retiring due to injury).
So can we – the WWE fans – actually Trust Vince Mcmahon.
Yes, absolutely…..we can trust him to do what’s best for business. He’s a fair guy, for the same given value of fair that would apply to every businessman: go with what’s Making Money and if it stops making money, cut back on it.
This post first appeared on Amazon.co.uk: David Grimstone: Books, Biogs, Audio, please read the originial post: here