Examining Vince McMahon’s Interview from Byte This!
You know me, I love a good interview full of nothing but bullsh*t. This week’s victim is the most powerful man in U.S. wrestling: Vincent K. McMahon. Vince is no stranger to telling whoppers, but he is especially slick when it comes to portraying things in a positive light. After all, WWE business is in BIG trouble.
This is taken from an interview did on Byte This, which was posted online by E.C. Ostermeyer.
The first thing Vince addresses is where everything stands now in WWE. He responds:
“State of flux. I think, generally speaking you are going to find that’s where we are as a company. You know, to change as often as we do, and to have endured for generations, and the way WWE has adapted to the times, we will always be in a state of flux.”
State of flux? That’s a nice way of putting it. TV ratings are setting 4-year lows, house shows are being cancelled, your top star just walked out, morale is low, buy rates are plummeting, and your new young star just got injured. State of chaos is more like it.
When asked if maybe WWE has entered a comfort zone, Vince admits:
“It happens with every company, you reach a certain plateau, and you look back on where you began, and people say ‘well, your business is cyclical,’ and I say ‘no, it’s not!’ In our history we’ve had peaks and valleys, but when you look at it on an on-going basis for the last twenty years, there’s been steady growth. We’ve had peaks and valleys, but generally speaking every time we’ve had a peak, it’s been higher than the last one, and the valleys are not as deep.”
OK, well it’s true that everyone hits a plateau. But most smart businessmen would break through that plateau if they had their competition handed to them on a silver platter for virtually nothing but a measly 2 and a half mil.
“We can’t be right 100% of the time; no one is. This is not a science. It’s entertainment.”
Not a science? You’re right, it’s very simple. Competition invades. They go over. Your guys regroup and feud for months to boffo box office. What part of that didn’t you understand, especially since Eric Bischoff and New Japan had done it successfully before and you could’ve learned from them?
Here’s the biggest whopper of the interview:
“I’m extremely proud of the word ‘wrestling’ in our name, extraordinarily proud of it. To me, it sets us apart from any other entertainment company.”
Show of hands: How many of you remember in the 90s when Vince would say he’s not in the rasslin’ business but in the entertainment business? What a crock.
On the future of WWE:
“I believe there’s going to be a tidal wave from a creative direction standpoint that is going to wash away a lot of our ills, and wash up on the shore some brand new stars. We will also be working with stars that otherwise haven’t had the opportunity, and stars that have and can go even higher.”
Those new stars all came last year, but you blew it. Even if new stars dropped from the sky, Undertaker and HHH would squash them anyway. Funny he said the term, “wash up.” I think the same 2 words when I think of Undertaker and Hogan.
Vince addresses his top talent:
“Take Stone Cold, for argument’s sake. He’s probably the most demanding superstar that I can ever recall working with. I understand, the other day, he was complaining about not having good material to work with. So, that’s Stone Cold. As I said, he’s the most demanding of anyone I’ve ever worked with. Sometimes, rightfully so. He has the ability to take something that’s good, and make it into something outstanding. He does need some decent material to work with, too.”
Most demanding you’ve ever worked with? So he beats the Ultimate Warrior? How is Austin to blame in this? He tells you he doesn’t want to work with a drunk, so you go ahead and book him with a drunk at WrestleMania. Not only that, but third match down from the main event. Then the drunk gets fired. On the next PPV, Austin is still nowhere near the main event. Then he’s told to piss on Arn Anderson. You call that great material? Hell, I can’t believe Austin stayed as long as he did!
When asked if there will be any changes to the writing team, Vince has this to say:
“There may well be some structural changes coming. I don’t know whether it will be from a corporate standpoint, from the writing, or from an all-around creative standpoint.”
It would help if the people you hired to write your shows had an actual wrestling background! I don’t know how a good a writer Stephanie is, but please don’t bring her back to TV. Oh please, I’m wasting my breath.
In response to the criticism from internet fans who blast the current storylines, Vince’s reply is:
“The way I read the Internet is that it seems everyone over there fancies themselves a writer, a ‘booker’ as we used to call them in our business. And, just like everyone’s got an anus, everyone has an opinion. It is our world. We live in it, and we accept all criticisms that come our way, be they negative, or positive. I think that a little bit of knowledge is the world’s worst thing. The anticipation of events can sometimes overshadow the reality, and there is no way you can live up to that anticipation. Sometimes you go into situations where there are contractual obligations that you didn’t see but should have. And then it’s “Oh my God, we are not going to live up to the public expectations in this. Then you bite the bullet. A lot of times, they are on the money with their criticism. But at the same time, not always.”
First off, it is true that some internet fans are clueless. But anyone with half a brain was telling Vince from day 1 what mistakes to avoid in the invasion. Jim Ross should’ve known best since he lived through the UWF/NWA mess. It was simple, but Vince still could not do it. He had one full year to come up with a storyline for a split, and he has the wooden Linda McMahon make this boring, uncharismatic announcement. What did he expect? I guarantee you some wrestling fans could’ve done a better job. But he chose a “Friends” writer instead.
More laugh material:
“Our talents today are by in large more professional than their forbears in this business. Let’s face it, at one time, when our business was over for the evening, you go to the bar, have a couple of drinks and relax. That’s not where you find most of our guys now. Most of our guys are on the Internet, they’re reading a book if you can imagine such a thing, or they are playing a video game. Or they are sitting down, having an intelligent discussion. It is a welcome point of view in terms of professionalism. Today’s wrestlers are more professional than they have ever been.”
Better yet, sometimes they’re spraying shaving cream, singing love songs on the PA, wrestling near the airplane exit door, stripping half naked, and cutting each other’s hair and taping it to the wall. So professional. Or in the case of Vince, you’re cheating on your wife all the time and sleeping with anything in a skirt. Oh wait I’m sorry, Vince has been faithful for 8 years now. What a saint.
I like how he responds to the problems WWE is facing:
“I think it’s a combination of a lot of things, not just one thing. Our TV ratings and our business show that we are not really sick. We have a cold, not pneumonia.”
Raw just drew a 4.2. When Rock returned last summer, his segment drew a 7.1. Don’t be fooled, the drops in business WWE has experienced are lot more serious than a cold.
Now he comments on Leviathan a.k.a. Deacon Bautista. He’s already sending channels changing nationwide when he appears on TV.
“I don’t see the Deacon staying with D’Von all that long. Backstage, that young man has a hungry look in his eye, and if he ever gets a chance to prove himself individually, he’s gonna do it.”
So why saddle him with one of the world’s most boring gimmicks? Fist impressions are important. Why not give the guy individuality in the first place? Better yet, why bring him in before he is ready?
“Hogan as Babe Ruth makes all the sense in the world. Guys like Hogan are anxious to pass the torch. It’s our job to see they have someone to pass the torch to. They know they still got something. Maybe not as much as they had long ago, but they have something to give the public, and the public wants that, too.”
That’s a good one. You don’t pass the torch by winning the title. And whom did he lose the title to? Angle? Christian? Jericho? No. Undertaker. And he ain’t passin’ ANY Torch!
On whether he’d bring back Vince Russo, Vince made this scary remark:
“I haven’t given it much thought, although we do have an open door policy; I think Hulk Hogan proves that. I would never say never to any situation that comes up.”
I think that is a situation Vince should definitely say “Never” to. All Hulk Hogan proved was that Vince McMahon still has the ability to be duped. Kevin Nash proved that tenfold.
When asked about Jim Cornette spitting in Ed Ferrarra’s face, Vince says:
“No one appreciates Cornette’s passion for the business more than I do, but I thought it was very unprofessional of Jim.”
And what’s professional Vince, double-crossing your world champ live on PPV in front if his hometown? Or agreeing to it like Shawn did? Or does Vince just have a thing against being spit in the face, since that is what Bret did to him? What is professional Vince, is it cheating on your wife like you did? Or lying to the public about your revenues like you did in ’92 with that ridiculous, “$1.7 billion” figure? What is professional Vince, allowing Ferrara to do that Jim Ross angle in the first place? What Cornette did may have been unprofessional, but Vince, you are NOT one to talk.
When asked about NWA/TNA:
“It is an unusual approach, a novel approach; I don’t know how they are going to promote it properly. They have no promotional vehicle, so how do they promote? They’re selling tickets in Huntsville, (Alabama) right? And if they aren’t selling tickets in Huntsville…Eeewwwrrr! Things get tough. If you are promoting to that narrow-casted PPV audience, that’s difficult to do. It’s a two-hour show for $9.95, and for that you can compare the quality and production values of one of their shows to one of ours. It is difficult to see how paying $9.95 to see a two hour show compares to seeing a two hour show on Monday night, and again on Thursday night, and not pay a thing.”
Remember when Jeff Jarrett said the NWA isn’t even on Vince’s radar screen? So then Vince goes and mentions every little detail about their business model. Can you say, “Delusional,” Jeff? Vince is watching you like a hawk and will take your talent in a heartbeat. You’re doomed, man.
Look, the bottom line is that WWE has problems, BIG problems. And Vince is 100% to blame for all of them. Stale talent on top. Too many skits. Glass ceiling. Botched angles. Politics. Gross humor. Injuries. Blah blah blah. Any excuse he gives is just a cover-up for his own failures.
Vince has been VERY LUCKY because no one he has ever competed against had half a brain. Eric Bischoff had a quarter of a brain and even he beat Vince for 2 years. If you put a smart businessman in charge of a wrestling promotion, with a good booker who is a smart student of the business, and if they had the money and TV time to back them, Vince would be a goner.
But Vince will always have a monopoly, because venture capitalists and big money backers don’t know enough about wrestling to get in the business on a major level. XWF and NWA are not the answers. Ted Turner is too old to care anymore, and even if he did, what station would carry his shows? The true losers are the wrestling fans, who have nothing to watch but WWE as they continue to morph into WCW. And we know how that story goes.
Well, there’s always videotape.