What Vince McMahon’s Return Says About WWE

Vince McMahon is the emperor of sports entertainment, and was willing to sacrifice his time, energy, and his body for his business. Say what you want about the third generation promoter, he was willing to go as far as and even occasionally further than the performers on his pay roll. You often heard, Vince wouldn’t ask any of his wrestlers to do something that he wasn’t willing to do himself. Vince has taken the bumps through tables, bled on pay-per-view, and his share of vicious chair shots.

McMahon, notoriously known for his nearly obsessive work ethic, defeated every other promoter in America when he took the regional group that his father founded in the north east and expanded to a national organization. Jim Crockett, Eric Bischoff, Verne Gagne, Bill Watts, and a slew of others all have their promotion’s legacy under the ownership of McMahon, who used it to build the WWE Network that sold its rights to Peacock for $1 billion. Vince’s ability to merchandise pro wrestling with action figures, t-shirts, and nearly anything else that can have a logo put on it, is one of the many reasons he generated the revenue to eventually take sports entertainment to the stock market.

Vince even refused to do the job to Uncle Sam when he was acquitted during the steroid trial in the early-90s when the federal government tried to claim he distributed steroids to the WWF roster. Jerry McDevitt is a good tag team partner in court.

Granted, the World Bodybuilding Federation and the XFL weren’t quite as successful as the global corporation that the WWE is today, with the company touting record-setting profits on conference calls, but when it comes to opponents, McMahon defeated the opposition.

However, despite his ability to sleep few hours and work the majority of the hours at any given time, McMahon is mortal, and there’s one opponent that always remains undefeated. Even Vince McMahon can’t beat father time.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s a good chance that Vince will outlive us all and book Wrestlemania 70 at the age of 108 at his desk in Stanford, but the recent rumors of a potential Pat McAfee/McMahon match are concerning for a variety of reasons. I have no doubt that even at 76, McMahon can still swagger to the ring and cut a promo with the classic McMahon hype to promote a big time match, but getting into the ring for even a basic match is almost asking for a train wreck. Vince’s matches that were well known for their spectacle twenty years ago were still described as “bowling shoe ugly” as far as the technical presentation. For example, McMahon vs. Hogan at WM 19 is known for its dramatic narrative, particularly with a bloody McMahon peeking from above the apron, but the match itself was rather sloppy, something that can be overlooked when such great drama unfolds during the contest.

I sincerely hope that McMahon’s involvement at Wrestlemania is something other than a physical match, and maybe he will be in Austin theory’s corner, but putting a 76-year-old Vince in the ring to take bumps is probably dangerous and could end up just disappointing. I’m surprised that McMahon would really consider an actual match at this point because does anyone want to see the chairman look like a shell of himself? Unfortunately, Austin Theory was made to look like a dork recently on television so it’s doubtful that his involvement at WM, even if it would include Vince, would make a major difference in ticket sales.

Perhaps even more surprising than the possibility that McMahon will return to the ring is his choice of opponent, Smackdown commentator, Pat McAfee. The former NFL player did well during his in-ring appearances in NXT based on his novice level of experience, but to put someone with very little in-ring experience in a match against 76-year-old Vince at Wrestlemania seems almost too risky for it not to be a disaster. Granted, McAfee isn’t my cup of tea as an announcer, but he receives generally positive reviews for his work on Smackdown so why exactly take away from that with an angle with McMahon?

Sure, if Vince does an angle with McAfee there will be some attempt to justify a contest between the two, but I would guess the logic will be flimsy at best. I’m only guessing, but prehaps McMahon wants to capitalize on some of the main stream press the former football star’s Youtube show received, but that’s definitely based more on some of the outlandish Aaron Rogers appearances than the actual popularity of the show. Unless there’s some long-standing Irish grudge between the two, why exactly would the aging chairman want to challenge one of the announcers?

The bigger story, even bigger than a McMahon return to the ring, is what this truly says about the status of the WWE. Yes, I’ve discussed it before, but the fact that it remains such a focal point is why it’s still a talking point. I don’t agree with the two-night Wrestlemania events because it dilutes the importance of the show itself, but the bottom line is, the company will have to sell a combined 170,000 for a stadium that looks full, something that is important for the stockholders. We’ve heard the rumors of Steve Austin making a comeback at 57 to boost ticket sales, but adding Vince at 76, at least on the surface suggests that the company is scrambling to do anything that might move more tickets. That makes sense and it’s also why there were ticket discounts accounted recently for those that might to attend both nights. However, the much bigger problem than selling the tickets themselves is the fact that the WWE doesn’t have anything currently on its roster, including the recycled Brock vs. Roman match, that is truly a major draw for a stadium show. I’ve mentioned it before and I will say it again, the company is the most profitable in its history, but at some point, the agenda to get the short-end money might at the expense to build for the future of the company.

What do you think? Comment below with your thoughts, opinions, feedback and anything else that was raised.

Until next week
-Jim LaMotta

E mail drwrestlingallpro@yahoo.com | You can follow me on Twitter @jimlamotta