One Count Kickout – Headlocks and Politics
Though wrestling fans can be some of the most competitive, angry, volatile and stubborn people to deal with there is one situation upon which we can all probably agree: Politics have no place inside the squared circle. Wrestling is entertainment, wrestling is a distraction. In the same way some people watch hockey or film, many watch wrestling to take them out of the real world and insert them into a fantasy where none of that drama and chaos exist. The last thing you want to see when you turn on your television on a Monday Night is political agendas or melodramatic promos which are pushing you to vote for someone, stand up for something or think about something outside of the entire reason you’ve flipped to this channel: wrestling.
Vince McMahon, this man who, for better or worse, has revolutionized the industry of wrestling seems to have lost his place. It is debatable whether or not this has occurred as a result of his wife running for office, the pattern of dipping wrestling ratings over the past few years or even possibly his own disinterest or dissatisfaction with the product. Many had said that during the Monday Night Wars Vince McMahon was at his peak because he, in the words of Mick Foley, “Will always run faster when someone is chasing him, or when he is chasing them.” I think this is absolutely true. Competition breeds creativity and necessity is the mother of invention. Would we have ever seen Stone Cold or the Rock if there had been no Nitro? That is doubtful. However, Vince has no competition right now aside from himself and the only sure answer for the moment is no one is winning.
The fans are losing big time. For everything we won during that awesome war, we’re losing so much of it, and have been for a long time now. Where is the intrigue? Where is the excitement? It seems like whenever WWE creates something special they destroy it almost as quickly as they construct it. Nexus had this fresh quality to it, and I am sure you recall the first night they showed up on Raw and absolutely destroy the set and everyone involved. That was new, that was fresh, and that made us all talk. Now, few months later, and most of us are sick of Nexus. The entire Nexus angle was botched when they became part of the establishment they were supposed to be revolting against. What is going on here? Vince McMahon just seems to not be paying attention to what is happening on his television, or he doesn’t think it matters. Vince has always been known for his ego, and known for believing he knows what is best for the fans. In the current state of WWE, he is failing. His creative team is failing. His shows are failing.
Could politics be playing a role in this? Perhaps. Vince does seem to be pouring a lot more energy into his wife’s aspirations than into his own company. This entire Stand Up for WWE campaign feels cheap, in my opinion. This isn’t a campaign to show what they’ve accomplished because they’ve accomplished so much. This is a campaign to say “Hey, why don’t you like us? Look at what we did.” I’m sorry but in the world of business and entertainment, yesterday is history and its more about what have you done for me today? I can’t speak politically, though I follow the campaigns, it isn’t my passion as wrestling is. However, I and many others I’ve spoken with over the past few months, are beginning to believe that if Linda McMahon succeeds in ascending to office then WWE will continue to flounder as it struts a politically correct line whereas if she fails, Vince can turn his attention back to his product and perhaps bring back a little of the attitude, or better yet, create a new attitude and pull his ass out of the fire.
Election day, unfortunately, is going to play a major role in the future of WWE. I find the entire thing frustrating, frankly. I’m frustrated that I have to watch this garbage, I’m frustrated that Vince McMahon considers the fans pawns in a political game and I’m mostly frustrated that I have to write about this. I’d rather be talking about some wonderful storyline, some awesome incident, some fantastic match. At the end of the day, when you’ve just finished watching WWE, you have to ask yourself; Where is this going? Will Nexus regain a foothold and become entertaining? Will the Mystery GM be revealed and will the payoff be worth the cost these past few months? Will Vince McMahon get his head out from wherever he’s gotten it stuck and develop something creative? Will Linda McMahon be elected and continue to affect WWE or will she lose and set WWE free? Time will tell, and all hops is that it will tell us soon. The current of wrestling fans is growing tempestuous, and if they don’t get this together soon, they’re going to watch it all wash away.