Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Vince McMahon: Still A Genius Or Losing His Marbles?

People claim the line between genius and insanity is a very thin line. Some of the greatest minds in history would also be deemed as eccentric as well. We have all heard stories of both in reference to Vince McMahon. His wrestling persona that he has developed as the evil owner Vincent Kennedy McMahon can certainly be labeled as both.  He once decided to create his own religion that he called McMahonism. He was also the guy who had his own kiss my ass club quite literally. He has had an affair that produced a bastard child named Hornswaggle. We could keep this list going all day long with all the evidence of how crazy Vince McMahon is which would include getting in the ring and challenging top stars like Hulk Hogan, Shawn Michaels, Triple H and most famously Stone Cold Steve Austin. He even booked himself in a match with his own daughter a week before her legitimate wedding to Paul Lévesque (Triple H) to the dismay of his family.

The real Vince if we actually can tell the difference has a long list of stories that have been just as insane. In many ways, Vince McMahon is similar to comedian Steven Colbert in where the line between the characters both play and the actual real person can become very blurred. Like for example Vince McMahon once had a verbal battle with Bob Costas. It got so heated many felt McMahon might actually get into a fistfight with him on his HBO show years ago. The stories you hear from former WWE staff are legendary. It is widely known that Vince actually sees sneezing as a sign of weakness. He is a noted insomniac that sees sleep as the enemy. He has had legendary screaming matches with Paul Heyman and many others that would have been worthy of pay-per-views when you hear them described by people that were there.

The most recent event happened yesterday where McMahon during a Smackdown taping on of the breaks to insert a commercial into the taped program came out to address the audience. This was not part of the show as would be made pretty clear in his rant. He basically cut a promo on the Liverpool crowd for their lack of enthusiasm claiming his paying audience was sitting on their hands. He made some strange reference about the crowd compared to a skin disease of some sort. In short, Vince pretty much lost it on WWE fans, that in the case of where they were rarely get the chance to see the product live. Add in the fact these same fans have been screwed out of the WWE Network to this point. Having the rug pulled out from under them at the very last possible moment with no info on when they would get the network going forward.

The point this might not have been the people to take your anger and frustration out on. Which given how things have gone with the WWE Network Vince McMahon would not be human if he was not totally frustrated with how things have gone with it. Business wise 2014 will not be going down as a banner year for WWE there is no question about that. Add in the injuries and C.M Punk’s sudden departure at the beginning of the year it just adds to the frustration. 

I guess it was around the time the Performance Center first opened I wondered if Vince McMahon was healthy. His lack of appearance at the opening I found puzzling. This was the first major project of his son-in-law Paul Lévesque’s transition into an executive in the company. Something that McMahon was a driving force in having him take on for years. He even had Paul being part of creative for WWE prior to marrying his daughter Stephanie. I just assumed he wanted to let Paul have his day and allow both him and Stephanie have a more active role in the public eye as executives in the company. The fact he never stepped foot in the Performance Center until months after though caused me to raise my eyebrows.

There is no evidence to suggest that Vince is not of sound mind and body that should be clearly stated. It does make logical sense that he has stepped out of the picture and faded to behind the scenes to allow Stephanie and Paul to be the faces of this company with in storyline and outside of it. In fact, many say at first it took a lot of convincing if you will pardon the pun to get Vince to be an active character in storylines. He clearly enjoyed it, but for years he had been content to just have the audience believe he was simply an announcer and not the owner of the company.

Vince will always be the most compelling character in the WWE. He for whatever good or bad you might have to say about him is always interesting in life or in his WWE Universe. One thing that his detractors and supporters seem to be in full agreement of is that there will never be another Vince McMahon.

While people wonder loudly if he has lost touch with his audience and question if he is truly playing with a full deck at this stage. It goes back to that line we started this article with about that line between genius and insanity being a thin line. Alex Greenfield a former head writer of Smackdown talked about how Vince already was seeing the direction of things moving to online back in around 2007 when Greenfield was part of the company. He was already starting to think about the idea of WWE Network back then. While some would consider Vince McMahon, a guy out of touch with these modern times is that really true. The WWE has been a company at the forefront of embracing social media and this network is honestly considered by many with no connection to wrestling a glimpse into the future of how content will be distributed.

Sure Vince is getting older and he may not understand his audience as well as he once did. He might need to be more accepting of the ideas of the people around him especially his own son-in-law Paul Lévesque. Most would agree the one show WWE is producing every week that is connecting with fans is NXT. This is a show NXT in which Paul has 100% control of and basically plays the role of Vince.  Vince has a lot on his plate and perhaps letting go of the reigns of creative some would be to use the term “Best for Business” in reality.

Wrestling often imitates life and this angle with Vince testing the authority might not be far off the reality of things with WWE behind the scenes. It might be time for Vince McMahon to let his daughter and son-in-law have the actual power to have the final say on story lines every week on WWE television. Lord knows there are many business concerns starting with revitalizing of this network to keep Vince very busy.

Most conclude Vince will never give up control until he is dead or just physically unable to continue. As father time works a program with Vince McMahon, clearly he knows that is not one where Vince McMahon can come out on top. It is Vince, so maybe he thinks he is immortal like the Hulkster who really knows.

Still it is interesting to see what happens as Vince really seemed to enjoy suddenly being back in the mix on T.V at Raw in Buffalo. Did that play any role in his unscheduled rant in Liverpool? On the other hand, is it simply a guy blowing off steam?  Who has been having a rough year business wise at an advanced age? Only one guy knows that answer and it is Vince McMahon.