Monday, March 1, 2010

Forgive him, because he doesn't know what he's doing anymore

I am referring to, of course, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) Chairman/CEO Vincent K. McMahon.

A year ago, McMahon famously told ESPN's Jeremy Schaap that he'd never retire, but he's better served if he did. Tonight on Monday Night Raw, McMahon, 64, agreed to a match vs. 52 year old Bret Hart at Wrestlemania 26 on March 28 in Glendale, Arizona. He also announced that, 4 months after claiming he was retiring from competition to avoid a grudge match with "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, McMahon would give himself a warm-up match by facing one of today's stars, John Cena.

We have seen this play out before. I know I've talked about it here and elsewhere, but it bears repeating. Vince McMahon has become too predictable.

In 2003, McMahon picked a fight with a man who is now working for the competition, Hulk Hogan. Hogan beat McMahon at Wrestlemania 19 in Seattle, but McMahon, professional sore loser, couldn't accept defeat. He "suspended" Hogan for no reason, which only gave Hogan an excuse to pull a ream from the Dusty Rhodes playbook and return as "Mr. America", with a cowled mask that was a knockoff of Captain America's signature cowl. Hogan was gone by the time July 4 rolled around.

Three years later, McMahon was feuding with Shawn Michaels. "The Heartbreak Kid" beat McMahon at Wrestlemania 22, but had to deal with McMahon making a mockery of religion (Michaels is a born-again Christian) by assigning God as a tag team partner for what amounted to a handicap match for Michaels vs. McMahon and his son, Shane, at Backlash. Ultimately, Michaels won the feud.

In 2007, McMahon lost his hair when Bobby Lashley defeated the late Umaga, with Lashley representing Donald Trump, at Wrestlemania 23. Three weeks later, McMahon cheated Lashley out of the ECW title, only to drop it back some 5 weeks later. Thankfully, it went no further, but by this point, McMahon had become an embarassment to the company, his family, and the wrestling industry.

Add to this a loss to Shane McMahon at Wrestlemania 17 (2001), and the fact that a year earlier, McMahon technically was a losing manager, and "Mr. McMahon" is 0-5 at Wrestlemania, and soon to become 0-6. You wonder if McMahon has bought stock in Western Union, because he's already telegraphed what'll happen next.

Next week on Raw, McMahon will make an arbitrary decision at the last possible moment to make his match No-Disqualification, enabling another wrestler, current WWE champion Dave Batista, to interfere freely on his behalf, and do all the damage while McMahon collects a cheap, lazy pinfall. His bout with Hart will also end up No-DQ, because in truth, neither man is really able to work a proper match. Hart suffered a stroke a few years back, and is working an injury angle at present to set up the match. McMahon, meanwhile, while in reasonably good health physically, should have his psychological health questioned by a team of impartial doctors. I hear the best ones work at Bellevue. Let's face it, folks. The character of "Mr. McMahon" has long since been played out, and the only one who doesn't fully understand this is Vincent Kennedy McMahon himself. We don't need to see this scenario play out again for the 4th time in the last 8 years, but you can bet that McMahon has seen to it that the only solution that is feasible can't be used.

All Vince needs to do is take a look at the success of the New York Yankees. Principal owner George Steinbrenner, a long time friend of McMahon's, turned over day-to-day operations of the team to his sons, Hal & Hank, a couple of years ago. That infusion of fresh energy in the front office extended to the field, enabling the Yankees to win the World Series last fall. "The Boss" (George) has stepped to the background, and life has gone on for the Yanks. If Vince wasn't so obsessed with his on-screen image and so afraid that people would see him as being weak in his advanced age, he'd follow Steinbrenner's lead and let his daughter, Stephanie, and her wrestler-husband, Triple H (Paul LeVesque) take command of the day-to-day operations. Life would still go on. It can all easily be explained on the air that "Mr. McMahon" had taken too many chair shots to the head over the years, such that it unhinged his mind. Given some of the decisions the real Vince has made of late (and documented here), you wonder if the onset of old age hasn't already caught up with him, and the mule-like stubbornness of his alter-ego is the only thing keeping him from admitting it and retiring. Sooner or later, to paraphrase Elton John, reality will run up McMahon's spine, but the pieces of his body will already be fading. And it will be the fault of one man, and one alone. Vincent K. McMahon.


Samuel Wilson said...

I dunno. McMahon still seems to draw heat from the likes of you. Leaving speculation about his ego aside, he probably still works on the assumption that his company prevailed in the Monday Night Wars because building storylines around his mean-boss character struck a nerve with the marks that will always be, dare I say, a raw one. Professional wrestling is faltering because UFC has been gradually educating fans about the drama of real fighting. By comparison, modern pro wrestling simply looks stupid, and removing McMahon from the on-screen equation won't change that.

hobbyfan said...

Part of the reason WWE "won" the Monday Night War was because WCW beat their key angle into the ground to the point where people were tired and wanted a change. Did Bischoff become complacent? Yep. Has McMahon made the same mistake? Absolutely. "Mr. McMahon" is all played out. Period. It's time to turn the page and put this last vestige of the Attitude Era behind!

Vince said...

Good post. Let's see if Vince McMahon will be involved on-camera beyond WestleMania. I bet he'll step back to a much more limited role.

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hobbyfan said...

Vince: If history has told us anything, as I noted before, McMahon is a sore loser and will continue the feud even when it isn't necessary.