MR. TITO: In Defense of WWE's Vince McMahon... Submitted by Mr. Tito on 12/01/2020 at 12:11 AM
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Each and every week from the wrestling insiders, we're treated to stories like "Vince McMahon is senile", "Vince McMahon is shredding scripts 1 hour before the show", and "Vince is out of touch with today's wrestling". Yet, he is still President/CEO and Chairman of the Board of the #1 wrestling company in the world and Tony Khan's pet project AEW is miles away.
And where are those slanderous insider stories on Triple H being ineffective backstage at WWE events? After all, he has been in charge of Talent since mid 2012 and that's a job that received tremendous heat from wrestlers. Just ask Jim Ross or John Laurinaitis who were repeatedly bashed by disgruntled wrestling talent who felt they were underpaid or were upset with being released by the WWE. Ross and Laurinaitis were repeatedly slammed by "WWE sources" for their talent relations jobs. Why is it so quiet with Triple H? Based on his LACK of Main Event wrestlers groomed for wrestlers he signed, it appears that he's not doing as good of a job as Jim or John... Yet, nothing in the Wrestling Observer about dumb decisions made by Triple H.
And what about Stephanie McMahon? She was Creative Lead from late 2000 through late 2013... Hardly any insider stories about ineffective she was at creative. When she took over WWE's Creative Team during 2000, RAW was receiving about 6 million viewers. They were just above 4 million when she stepped away from Creative during late 2013.
But instead, we get nothing but "Vince is senile" stories. Gee, who could be sending those insider stories to the Observer, Torch, PW Insider, or other places that might report news?
During the mid 2000s, I did hear several stories about how Stephanie was VERY sensitive to criticism of her Creative Team and storyline decisions. Triple H and Stephanie had several loyal snitches and stooges who would listen in on wrestler conversations and then report back to the couple. One wrestler, in particular, that felt the wrath of this was Shelton Benjamin. He was furious at the way his character was being portrayed and he spoked out to various wrestlers backstage at WWE events. Well, word quickly went back to the dynamic duo and suddenly, he was losing to everyone. In fact, insider wrestling news stories were posted about Benjamin being "in the doghouse". Who could have leaked that?
With that all of that non-sense, I'm here to defend Vince McMahon.
The Internet Wrestling Community has taken up Dave Meltzer's breadcrumbs and begin to join his Cult of Personality to become anti-WWE (and of course try New Japan and like AEW, like he wants you to do). If you listen to that drumbeat, you'll hear that "Vince is senile" and can't do anything right. Meanwhile, the WWE is seeing record breaking profits thanks to business decisions made by the WWE's President/CEO/Board Chairman.
Vince McMahon was the man who stared down the Sports Media during the Spring of 2020 and still held Wrestlemania 36 despite the COVID-19 worries. It was a huge gamble for Vince, as he was unable to have the event in Tampa but was able to put on some sort of show in the Performance Center. Hell, he gave us TWO nights of Wrestlemania 36. How cool was that? On top of that, he has consistently provided TV shows without crowds and consistently pumped out Pay Per Views without them as well. Meanwhile, WWE Network is KILLING IT with the Undertaker content.
Here is the TRUTH about Vince McMahon that nobody, BUT ME, is willing to admit.
Vince is a TRAPPED MAN as WWE President/CEO... He made a decision during the late 1990s to give his kids prominent jobs within the WWE company and when the WWE become a corporation during 1999, he positioned them to be in even bigger spots. Vince McMahon is very loyal to his children Stephanie and Shane McMahon. No matter how many times they make mistakes within the WWE, he overlooks them... Stephanie McMahon ran the WCW Invasion into the ground during 2001 which was a "sure thing" angle in many people's eyes. Shane McMahon has been obsessed with being a wrestler instead of running the company. On top of that, Stephanie's husband, Triple H, was also factored into the company.
Particularly with Stephanie McMahon and Triple H, he won't fire them... He just can't do it, no matter how many bonehead decisions that both of them make. Making matters worse, both Stephanie and Triple H are alphas... They'll slice the throats of anyone who gets in their way competitively for power. Any former wrestler backstage who had a Creative say was pushed out the door during the 2000s in favor of former Hollywood writers who can be controlled. John Laurinaitis was just shoved out the door during 2012 and has never done much with the WWE since just as many of his signed talents were beginning to hatch in the WWE during the early 2010s. If Vince wasn't such a personal friend to Executive Producer Kevin Dunn, he'd be out the door too.
Vince is trapped... He can't find it in his heart to adequately performance review Stephanie and Triple H nor can he bring in anyone to help them. Eric Bischoff, Paul Heyman, and now Bruce Prichard were brought in to help out backstage and it just didn't work out. If you notice with Vince, he tends to hire managers to help boost the WWE's business and marketing side rather than improving the wrestling product... He's just too loyal of a family man to bring the thunder down upon Triple H and Stephanie.
BUT - Vince McMahon is smarter than you think and if you don't believe me, look at All Elite Wrestling (AEW). Just barely above 700,000 this week. Yikes.
Remember how Vince took a BEATING from the "Spring Cleaning" that he did after Wrestlemania 36? Sure, it was very sad to see wrestlers losing their jobs... But Vince was right on each and every one of them. Granted, COVID-19 is limiting the surprise impact of a debuting wrestler due to the LACK of crowds...
I seem to remember Brodie Lee (formerly Luke Harper in WWE) and Matt Hardy making huge AEW debuts... And here we are in late November and early December and neither guy moved the needle. Granted, injuries have happened, but even when they were performing, it was the same old wrestlers. Vince McMahon didn't reportedly "get" the "Broken" character... Well, he was right. It was funny while it lasted in TNA/Impact but it became confusing and goofy in the WWE and then actually got worse in AEW. Remember that in-ring promo with Chris Jericho and the teleportations? Brodie Lee was handcuffed to the Dark Order but his matches were just OK... I've yet to see the guy who pushed Randy Orton to his best match in years appearing in AEW.
Miro... People do remember that the man formerly known as Rusev in the WWE is in AEW... Right? It makes you wonder how much the WWE was propping up Rusev as an upper midcard character. Vince McMahon loves money and if a guy isn't drawing money despite the push, he undercuts them immediately. For as much as Internet fans loved "Rusev Day", he probably saw ratings reports and merchandise sales records that suggested otherwise. And the guy whom we are supposed to push as "Larger than Life" loves to play video games on Twitch.
I feel really bad that she lost her job, but we've already moved on from Zelina Vega... She's on Twitch scoring 480 viewers per stream. And what exactly will AEW do with her? Add her to that already terrible Women's Division?
What has FTR done since leaving the WWE to join AEW? Yeah, they are still the most fundamentally sound tag team but what else can they do? I understand that the stupid WWE writers tried to put them in silly outfits but that's how Vince McMahon felt about them. They aren't setting the world on fire in AEW and they've allowed themselves to already job to the Young Bucks in their first match together.
For YEARS and myself included, we always wondered why Dean Ambrose was the LEAST pushed member of the Shield versus Roman Reigns or Seth Rollins. While I like Dean Ambrose's personality and promos, his in-ring stuff in AEW is the pits! Just awful hardcore wrestling... It's no wonder why Brock Lesnar gave zero craps about working with the guy at Wrestlemania. Brock knew... Vince McMahon knew, too, and was OK with him leaving the company.
Anderson and Luke Gallows joined Impact Wrestling... Have you heard from them since the announcement of their signing there?
Zack Ryder had a cup of coffee in AEW...
Going a few years back, Vince McMahon just released Cody Rhodes from his contract to do whatever... Who does that to a wrestler who could threaten them with another company? Sure, Cody has improved as a talker and an in-ring performer... But in AEW, he's jobbing to Darby Allin, all less than 5'10" and 180 pounds of glory. Say what you will about Cody's WWE performance, but he became very dull once Legacy was over... Then, becoming Stardust allowed him to bring out some charisma and personality that we never saw before. That and the gimmick was his idea! Yet, that gimmick somehow "held him back"? Huh?
Speaking of Cody, remember how people used to criticize the WWE for only letting Brandi Rhodes be a ring announcer and not a character or wrestler?
AEW cannot stay consistently above 800,000 viewers on a TNT network that is available in about 85 million homes nationwide.
Let's look at Vince McMahon's recent WWE successes...
Look at those freakin' TV deals. Tell me what other negotiator within the WWE could convince both Comcast and FOX corporations to give him a combined $400 Million each per year over the course of 5 years ($2 Billion). When he negotiated those deals, BOTH RAW and Smackdown were BOTH DECLINING in viewership. Yet, he was able to convince Comcast to pay him MORE money for just RAW during 2019-2024 than he earned with RAW/Smackdown from 2014-2019 combined and to also draw interest from network television channel FOX to give him a prime time slot.
Roman Reigns... Vince was right. It took a solid 6 years to become right and with a heel turn, plus Paul Heyman. But Reigns is a legitimate Main Eventer now and thanks to the character twist + experience, he's just now entering his prime.
He's right about Women's Wrestling... After a few flirtations with Main Eventing big events, females are now primarily midcard acts once again. For as hard as they pushed Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair, they did not move numbers. Even Ronda Rousey didn't move numbers like expected.
Vince has successfully extended the careers of Ronda Rousey and Brock Lesnar who were beginning to lose regularly in UFC. In the WWE, through booking and storytelling, their characters can be propped up and protected from losing. Lesnar just did 8 years of amazing business for the WWE and earned anywhere between $3-5 million per year with a few bonus events that paid him heavily.
Vince doesn't get enough credit for the Saudi Arabia deals... He is seriously pulling in almost $30 million per show. Not only that, but he's reaching out to a nation that is trying to reform itself. Look folks, you cannot act one way for centuries and expect to see changes in just a few years. While other entertainment and sports entities ignored Saudi, the WWE embraced them. If Saudi Arabia continues to add more freedoms to their society, the WWE brand will only grow stronger there long-term. The children attending those live shows will remember which American brand came to their country before others.
He's overcoming a WEAK talent developmental system... Just look at how badly NXT is drawing right now. Barely over 700,000 these days, if that. And all old dudes watching it, too. Triple H just isn't recruiting or molding good talent for Vince to use. On top of that, the Creative of NXT is heavily exposed when stretched to 2 hour weekly live shows instead of a 1 hour weekly taped & heavily edited show. NXT on the USA Network is proving that Vince McMahon is rejecting many bad or dull ideas presented his way from Triple H as Creative Lead in the WWE. I like characters like Rhea Ripley, but pushing Women's wrestling so hard, as Triple H tends to do, is proving to be a mistake. Feels very similar to how the NBA props up the WNBA.
Bill Goldberg matters in the WWE Universe... Carefully used, Goldberg is a legitimate draw for older WCW fans and he has been carefully used to keep the 50+ year old appearing like a star.
WWE Network is still $9.99. That is just a STEAL for the amount of content that is on that channel that never goes away. On top of that, he's hooking us up with Undertaker specials and other cool documentaries. It shows, too, in the numbers as the WWE was in a free-fall since 2nd Quarter 2018 on the subscriber count.
If you don't want to watch RAW and Smackdown in their full forms, there are many ways to watch them... Or just conveniently watch the Pay Per Views only to see RAW/Smackdown recaps there.
Presiding over the WWE as President/CEO, the WWE has never been more profitable... They are crushing it during 2020 despite having no Live Events.
You know, when I saw Vince McMahon at WWE Survivor Series 2020, I was actually worried about Vince... He looked thinner than ever and his skin was pale. I honestly do worry about his health, as he is 75 years old and his dad passed away during 1984 of pancreatic cancer. For all we know, Vince is overworked at his age and that could be a result of his thinning appearance?
But I believe that he's working hard to TRY to please us... However, I just don't believe that Vince has the proper supporting cast during 2020 than he did through 1997-1999. Vince just can't find it in his heart to tell honest truths about his daughter Stephanie and son-in-law Triple H who are trying to run the company with him. Stephanie is a Communications major and Triple H tried to become a bodybuilder after high school. To operate a publicly traded corporation as an Executive Vice President, you need leadership, managerial skills, and the entrepreneurship ability to take calculated risks that will result in higher rewards. They don't have it...
And let's give Vince a break the next time he performs a "Spring Cleaning". While none of us like seeing wrestlers lose their jobs, the talent that he has cut have not burned the WWE by working elsewhere. Quite the opposite.
Vince is the best Pro Wrestling promoter in the history of mankind... Cut him some slack.
I guarantee that if you operated a business and had your kids or in-laws working for you, you'd cut them some slack, too. Thus, you would have issues operating your business as well.
Quit blaming Vince McMahon and start challenging for Stephanie, Shane, and Triple H to provide better support for the WWE. Also start challenging Tony Khan and his 4 EVPs to DO BETTER as a wrestling company.
So just chill... Until the next episode!
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