Kyle’s Files: Is Vince McMahon a Genius or Jerk? Plus the Debut of the Raging Rant (Vince McMahon, Hulk Hogan, WCW, WWF, Attitude Era, Paul Heyman, Ted Turner)
by Kyle Fitta on March 5, 2012


Is Vince McMahon a Genius or Jerk?

After Vince McMahon Sr. quit the WWF, his son took over. Back then there were wrestling territories throughout the USA and parts of Canada. Each wrestling territories ran in its specific location and they were all part of one large wrestling group called National Wrestling Alliance (NWA).

In contrast to the 90s where wrestling companies were competing against each other, the old territories worked together as a cohesive unit and helped out other promotions in need.  Vince McMahon Jr., however, wanted his company to grow so he could, well, make more money. He knew that there was an unwritten rule stating that the companies weren’t supposed to compete against each other, but that didn’t stop the man with the biggest grapefruits in all of professional wrestling.

The genetic jackhammer started running his shows all over the states, which was a huge ‘fuck you’ to other companies. What made his wrestling company popular was it so unique. No wrestling company before had ever admitted that it was ‘entertainment’. Instead, they had always tried to pretend that the in-ring action was real. And unlike the other companies, who used tough-looking, rugged wrestlers, Vince McMahon used larger-than-life cartoon wrestlers. The most popular one was – of course – Hulk Hogan.

After shooting Rocky, Hogan made his way into AWA, which was run by Verne Gagne.  Hogan was very sub-par in the ring and didn’t fit or look the part Gagne was looking for, but the wrestlers in the back and other people who worked in the company thought Hogan would be a huge draw. Gagne didn’t see it, however, and, as result, never pushed him as far as people thought he could go.

He was eventually brought back by McMahon, who believe that Hogan had something, to the WWF. And that was an understatement: Hulk Hogan not only grossed the most money in the 80s, he also grossed the most money in any decade ever in the history of wrestling.

Due to WWF becoming so popular, fans stopped watching and attending other companies’ wrestling shows and, as a result, most of the companies went out of business.  Just over a short period, the WWF went from middle-of-the-road company to the biggest company in the world. That was until the WWF went through a dark age in the early 90s due mainly Hulk Hogan leaving for Hollywood and the emergence of a huge steroid scandal involving Vince. The steroid scandal actually became so bad that Vince McMahon almost had to go to jail and allow Jerry Jarrett run the company in his absence.

Meanwhile, Billionaire Ted Turner’s World Championship Wrestling (WCW) company became far more popular than WWF, and came very close to their goal of putting McMahon’s company out of business. Instead of trying to create new stars, however, WCW decided to take a shortcut by buying themselves stars that the WWF had already made, such as Hulk Hogan, Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, Macho Man Randy Savage, and more.

After a back and forth brutal war, the WWF managed to not only emerge victorious, but also became more successful than ever. Fans, however, started questioning McMahon’s creativity because the Attitude Era was grounded in very similar principles to those which formed the basis of Paul Heyman’s ECW. And once people saw Heyman’s worked-shoot about McMahon stealing his and other booker’s ideas, fans REALLY started pointed fingers at Vinny Mac, calling him a thief rather than a genius.

Don’t get me wrong: Heyman was a great booker. But even his ideas weren’t truly innovative. He stole a lot of ideas from Memphis Wrestling and a Japanese company from the early 90s called FMW. Paul E. knew that national Western wrestling needed a twist and something different, so he created a company that presented a hybrid style called ECW. While high-flying and hardcore styles made people to watch ECW, the thing that made them hooked was Heyman’s genius ability to make stars that they loved.

McMahon, however, wasn’t only a genius in creating stars, he was also a genius in promoting and advertising his stars (Heyman lacked the resources to do that). He could take someone who had a tiny bit of potential and make them larger than life. It’s hard to judge how great McMahon truly is at booking because he only ever tweaks the work of writers that he briefs; he has never written a show by himself in his life. But as a promoter (and tweaker), the Genetic Jackhammer is the best in the business ever. After all, the proof is in the pudding: his company has grossed an insane amount of dollars for over 30 years.

In Vince’s defence regarding accusations of stealing ideas, even the best bookers were guilty of stealing, and most successful ones admit it. Jim Cornette stole ideas from Bill Dundee. Dundee stole from Jerry Jarrett. George Scott and Kevin Sullivan stole from Eddie Graham. In fact, almost every booker in that era stole ideas from Graham, and even he stole ideas off others before him! Point being, an idea itself isn’t the biggest key component that makes something successful. The way the idea is marketed, promoted, and utilized is way more important in terms of its success.

While McMahon is  indeed a genius, there’s no denying that he’s a jerk. In fact, he’s one of the biggest assholes in the business. I cannot name one successful promoter in the wrestling business that wasn’t an asshole, though. And do you know why I cannot think of one? Because there isn’t one. Look at TNA. Dixie Carter is TNA’s promoter/owner and genuine nice person. Her reward for being a nice person: having people step over her to satisfy their egos while her daddy’s invested money goes down the drain.

 Raging Rant #1: 5 Movez of Doom

If people want to hate Cena, that’s fine. They are entitled to their opinions and can hate whoever they want. However, I am quite frankly sick of lame excuses that are six years old as to why people hate Cena. The most used, and most frustrating, is that John Cena has 5 moves. First of all, if you want me to sit here and count how many moves he actually does, we’ll be here a long time.

Second of all, if you’re going to hate Cena for having a limited moveset, then I don’t want to hear you talk about how great someone like Stone Cold Steve Austin or Bret Hart was. Third of all, you’re better off watching indie wrestling. You know the kind where they do 3,939,484 moves but nothing gets a reaction because none of it has any significance.

Forth of all, wrestling isn’t about how many moves you do. It is about when, where, and why you do them in context of the story you are telling to the audience. Lastly, the fewer moves you have the more over they become. And since Cena has a limited move-set, his moves are way more over than much cooler moves. Why do you think his lame-ass 5 knuckle shuffle gets more of a reaction than Gabriel’s 450-splash off the top rope?

Raging Rant #2: Rock-Cena Feud

I have never seen Ric Flair dumb down his promo to make his opponent look better. It’s called not exposing true weaknesses a wrestler has (aka not burying your opponent on mic), and it’s a technique that Rock ignores a LOT. A golden rule for a promo: never say something that’s glaringly true that will make your opponent look like a joke. Because if you beat him that makes your win unimpressive. And if you lose to him then that makes you an even bigger joke.

Plus, I think everyone got over hearing a teacher say a bad word in middle school. It’s time to get over wrestlers saying swears and breaking kayfabe, little children. Not to mention that every non-internet fan doesn’t have a fucking clue what they’re talking about. It would be WAY more proactive to hype this up as an ultimate showdown (see UFC hype or Samoa Joe vs. Kurt Angle Lockdown 2008).That way it would feel more special and every fan would know what’s going on.

As it stands, the only thing that is slightly interesting about this match are the names involved. And if WWE believes the names are going to draw despite what they do, then they were and are better off doing nothing. After all, you can’t break something that you don’t play around with.




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Kyle Fitta

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kyle-Fitta/100002150061980 Kyle Fitta

    Even though funny it can be funny, it’s also detrimental to the wrestler being victimized.

  • Starcade

    The WWE, as a whole, has been about burying this roster for quite a while now.

    My issue, if last Monday was designed to bring The Rock down to Cena’s level, is that it’s even more of an insult to Cena and to the WWE roster. I mean, do we really want to expose that watching WWE programming once The Rock flees again to Hollywood will be pointless and time-consuming?

  • Zork

    Thank you for talking about the “5 Moves of Doom”. That’s such an idiotic argument against Cena. If anyone bothers to try and remember anything past 2 to 8 months ago, they’d know he’s capable of more.

    As for the whole “Burying the roster” thing, I honestly don’t think that a majority of wrestling fans actually think about it that much. They probably just look at it like “Oh, he’s being insulting.” or something.

  • http://twitter.com/pd_review Matt Peddycord

    I don’t know that Vince is really a wrestling genius or a jerk. He’s simply an intelligent, very driven business man – more so than the majority of the other promoters. Vince did what other promoters were incredibly unqualified to even begin to try, and that was successful marketing. Literally EVERYTHING WWE does is for marketing/branding purposes.

    However, just because he was the most successful wrestling promoter of all-time though, doesn’t mean he had the best product either. Now this is just one man’s opinion, but he didn’t have the best product of the ’80s when he started running 90% of the territories out of business by any stretch of the imagination, only the most money and the best marketing behind it.

    Good article, though.

  • Retepadam

    Allegedly, earlier this year when Mizark Henry got hurt, Vince pushed for him to stay on schedule rather than taking time off. So, yeah, he can definitely be a jerk. But a lot of the guys who have gotten close to him say there’s a lot to like.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kyle-Fitta/100002150061980 Kyle Fitta

    Vince McMahon marketed wrestling all over the world. There are some redeeming qualities of genius in doing that. But I agree, WWE isn’t the best wrestling company ever. Neither is Avatar the best movie ever.

  • Cynical Bastard

    The issue with the “5 Moves of Doom” isn’t so much that he does the moves every match, it’s that they are sequential. For example, every match that Orton does, you can expect to see a scoop powerslam, a draping ddt, his unique(? haven’t seen anyone else do it) backbreaker, the “Garvin Stomp”, and a couple other moves. But you don’t know when or where you’ll see them, you just know they’ll show up. With Cena, on the other hand, 90% of the time, once you see the first flying shoulder block, the match is all but a sealed deal. Many old school wrestlers had a similar style with a set series of moves leading into their finisher (see: Hogan, Michaels), but it’s not crazy to think that wrestling has (or should have) evolved past that style at this point.

    TL;DR Today, the 5 Moves of Doom being effective insults the fans’ intelligence. It happens every match, every opponent should know it’s coming and prepare to counter it before setting foot in the ring. It’s about as ludicrous as nobody ever thinking to throw a LEFT during Hogan’s “Hulk Up” sequence back in the day.

  • Zork

    I understand the issue, your argument is correct.

    My piece had to do with how for some reason people think John Cena is only capable of using five moves.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kyle-Fitta/100002150061980 Kyle Fitta

    Bret Hart did the same sequence of moves. Plus, people do counter the 5 moves of doom all the time. Hence the CM Punk match or the HHH match where he spinebusters Cena as he’s doing the 5 knuckle shuffle.

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