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Old 11-15-2021, 03:00 AM   #1
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Vincent Kennedy McMahon : Genius or just brute force ?

As Vince reaches the twilight of his career as a promoter (even though will never give up until he keels over at Gorilla Position )

It's time to have (yet another) discussion on whether he was the wrestling genius he is sometimes purported to be , or was his dogged determination the key to his success ?

Apart from WWE the rest of his ventures (a recording company, WBF, XFL, WWE films to a degree) have been financial failures. His contracts and ethics are at times morally reprehensible, and he just seems to be getting worse the older he gets.

Apart from the obvious question, as per the title of this thread, what do you make of the legacy and shenanigans of Vince ?


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Old 11-15-2021, 03:35 AM   #2
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This topic is very nuanced and its not a cut and dry yes or no situation. I'll try to compose my thoughts over the next few days a write the shortest version i can but what i will say is as far as his legacy is concerned it will be written by the meltzers of the world and the IWC. They wont paint a picture youd want on your wall. (which isnt a statement toward what is true but only what will be believed.)
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Old 11-15-2021, 03:39 AM   #3
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funny enough ive been wanting to broach this topic for a few months but everytime i try i write way too many words. this, and bischoffs true impact on the buisness (both might be the same story in may ways,) are the most difficult topics to broach in all of wrestling. very complex and its far from a binary good/genius or bad/amoral monster.
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Old 11-15-2021, 04:49 AM   #4
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Good replies by Destor so far. That’s kind of my feeling on it. Vince is a very idiosyncratic person, and it’s hard to just summarize everything into one simple thought.

I’ll say this: When it comes to the business side of WWE, he’s still got more vision than anyone on the internet will give him credit for. When he fired Barrios and Wilson over licensing the Network, Meltzer and the like made him sound like a senile old man thrashing about through space. Vince saw the landscape changing, got ahead in the streaming game, but has also found a way to make money off that. Other people are still obsessing over the 18-49 demo on cable television and whether or not PPV is dead.

Vince actually moves forward quite ferociously for a dude people claim is stuck. I’m not defending his creative ideas. But his actual vision for WWE — going public, going PG, becoming a content factory, establishing an OTT streaming service, getting huge TV rights, doing huge international shows, licensing out your OTT service — has all been ahead of the game, really. And no one has done bigger better than Vince.
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Old 11-15-2021, 05:46 AM   #5
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Shades of grey indeed. He would have been an excellent subject for Freud.

Jim Cornette and Jim Ross have stated that Vince will sometimes do erratic things, such as just buying a casino out of the blue. Confidence and impulsiveness can pay off but on a long enough scale, should lead to the downfall of the individual and co.

Sometimes his moves can seem outright stupid, lacking planning or any foresight - eg : freeing bret up to negotiate with WCW while being the fucking champion.

We should not also exclude luck, and having the right people in his corner - Jerry Mcdevit.
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Old 11-15-2021, 08:56 AM   #6
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It's such a tough question to answer. In terms of marketing, taking advantage of his situation(having the biggest market in the country etc) expanding his vision of wrestling then yes he's a genius. A lot of this falls apart without the people Vince had surrounding him. Even a guy like George Scott. George Scott saved the Rock and Wrestling Era. Their booking and T.V was a giant mess until he came in. Plus you have guys like Patterson and Brisco etc. So how much is that Vince actually. When Vince tries to go out of his element it generally turns into a disaster.
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Old 11-15-2021, 09:49 AM   #7
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It's such a tough question to answer. In terms of marketing, taking advantage of his situation(having the biggest market in the country etc) expanding his vision of wrestling then yes he's a genius. A lot of this falls apart without the people Vince had surrounding him. Even a guy like George Scott. George Scott saved the Rock and Wrestling Era. Their booking and T.V was a giant mess until he came in. Plus you have guys like Patterson and Brisco etc. So how much is that Vince actually. When Vince tries to go out of his element it generally turns into a disaster.
Very interesting. Vince used to surround himself with people he didnít mind delegating to. They would get stuff done and heíd ride that wave as the facilitator. At some point things crossed over into Vince needing to be more urgently associated.
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Old 11-15-2021, 12:08 PM   #8
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learning from, and properly utilizing, the right people isnt a negative. its what every successful person does.
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Old 11-15-2021, 12:12 PM   #9
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Promotion and business wise, I think it is mostly brute force. That is not to say he doesnt have genius level ideas. I think that his last truly great innovation was WWE Network. That was 7 years ago, but he was right. He went against the way he always did it, essentially destroyed his tried and true business model, and ended up getting it to the point where every month they are making more from Peacock than they ever made selling the old PPV way (aside from a few Manias).

That said, it almost certainly wasnt solely his idea. He was the one to pull the trigger, so he does get the lion share on the credit.

His outside failures dont really hurt his legacy to me, even if they are in a similar field. Michael Jordan was a great basketball player, but he failed spectacularly as a baseball player. That doesnt hurt his legacy as a basketball player, and that is how I view Vince's failures in other attempts at building entertainment vehicles.

As for his business practices, yes he is ruthless and selfish, but I think that is also necessary to a degree. We can all clearly see the example AEW sets in that they are not making money. Thats great for the wrestlers for now, but would that really be good for the wrestlers if the Khans decide they do not want to lose anymore money and have to shut down? Not saying it will happen, but as fans are we happier knowing the wrestlers are making bank, or would we be happier knowing the company is successful and not at risk of going bankrupt?

Its a moot point because the Khans are willing to foot the bill, but hypothetically, if every single wrestler on their roster was making say $200,000 less per year, but knew AEW was going to be around in 25 years because they were turning a profit, even if we knew the Khans were exploiting the wrestlers and being greedy, wouldnt that be better for both the fans and the wrestlers for having a place to work?

Its a shitty way to think of it, but Vince's greedy business practices does ensure WWE stays in business.

So yeah, my answer is Ruthless Brute Force.
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Old 11-15-2021, 12:14 PM   #10
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learning from, and properly utilizing, the right people isnt a negative. its what every successful person does.
Oh, I 100% agree. It surprises me that less of it seems to happen in WWE now. Maybe bringing back certain people into certain roles (Bischoff, Heyman, Prichard) and expanding to create new roles for Triple H,etc. were supposed to be that? But itís actually pretty surprising that the WWE has only really got that one flavor when it really should be too big for one personís creative vision. And Iím surprised Vince still even wants to/cares about writing the show.
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Old 11-15-2021, 12:27 PM   #11
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Vince could be mainly a figurehead by now. I guess it’s not in his psychology to stand back (!), but it’s just insane how hard this guy still works. And has he ever really taken a holiday?

But yeah, delegating is so useful, and I don’t think Vince needs to go away completely for the WWE to get more creatively interesting again. He just needs to step back from a couple of things — the scripting of the promos, being so involved in the verbiage of the show, etc. Step back from hands-on stuff and keep to big vision things.

When it comes to picking top stars, the scope of his programming and how to monetise it — Vince is way ahead of everyone. But then he’s actually got to produce the content to fill that vision.

I think about how interesting WWE could be if, even if SmackDown and Raw only changed some minor production things, you actually did have a one-hour show produced by Paul Heyman somewhere. Just using a few guys he sees value in that aren’t locked into Raw and SmackDown appearances right now. Or if Eric Bischoff actually produced content for the WWE Network. Or if they actually had something like a Smoky Mountain or Ohio Valley to develop talent outside the NXT aesthetic.

WWE could revive the territory system, which, in a sterile sort of way, seemed to be what they were going for at one point. But they could essentially revive it as a genre, as opposed to one sort of thing colored a different scheme depending on what day of the week it airs.
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Old 11-15-2021, 07:07 PM   #12
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He's only ever had success inside of "wrasslin", anything else he's tried his hand at fell on its ass pretty quick.

Wouldn't say he's a genius at all, he's always had people around him to pitch ideas, sometimes he goes with ones that work out and other times they don't. And as time has went on his age has played a big factor into the current shit viewing numbers, the attitude era was basically be as outrageous as possible which is something that the loon could get a grasp on. These days...not so much, and thats been evident for at least a decade or more.
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Old 11-15-2021, 08:21 PM   #13
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Yeah but all CEO's have people they bounce ideas off of. That's a silly criticism.
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Old 11-16-2021, 04:37 PM   #14
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Lots of people only have success in one field too. But isn’t WWE Films still very much active and effective as a production company? They don’t plaster the big WWE logo on that much, but don’t they buy into a lot of movies and then reap the profits back when they are successful? It’s not just all See No Evil sequels.

Also, the last XFL was snake bit by the pandemic. It may or may not have gone well. But to blame that on him is a bit much.
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Old 11-16-2021, 07:33 PM   #15
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Yeah but all CEO's have people they bounce ideas off of. That's a silly criticism.
Yeah but with Vince people make out that it's like a specific quality that he has, picking out good ideas. If you look at the amount of characters they've introduced over the years they've easily had more flops than successes. And as they've added all these supposed writers it's done nothing but muddy the waters and he seems to be picking more shit ideas these days than anything else.

Aren't they purported to have something like 30+ writers or around that?
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Old 11-16-2021, 07:47 PM   #16
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But their model has always been "build around 1 top babyface". It's a model that has worked for them financially for years.

They are also making money hand over fist.
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Old 11-16-2021, 08:53 PM   #17
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Aren't they purported to have something like 30+ writers or around that?
At this point I think the writers are there solely to write scripts Vince doesnt like so he can get pissed off, and have something to tear up so he can write his own script.
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Old 11-17-2021, 03:35 AM   #18
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He's been making money in a niche industry for decades. As far as rasslin goes, you could say genius.

His flops outside of rasslin show that he's only really good in one lane though lol
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Old 11-17-2021, 05:46 AM   #19
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But their model has always been "build around 1 top babyface". It's a model that has worked for them financially for years.

They are also making money hand over fist.
Yeah, and you canít exactly call John Cena and Roman Reigns failures. Ratings may not have held great under Cena, but the entire PG beautification of the WWE was done under him. In some ways, heís as important as Hulk Hogan and Steve Austin.

I donít think he really cares if Keith Lee gets over or not. And that may not be to every fanís taste, but itís not really pertinent to the genius debate, unless you want to strongly argue that a variety of acts being over would make a better model. In which case, I would point out the WWE does have a variety of acts that are over, to some degree.
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Old 11-17-2021, 11:48 AM   #20
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But their model has always been "build around 1 top babyface". It's a model that has worked for them financially for years.
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Yeah, and you can’t exactly call John Cena and Roman Reigns failures.
If Reigns was succeeding as the top babyface he’d still be a babyface.
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Old 11-17-2021, 12:10 PM   #21
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I just can't stand Roman Reigns wether he's a face or heel.
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Old 11-17-2021, 01:19 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by #1-norm-fan View Post
If Reigns was succeeding as the top babyface heíd still be a babyface.
Reigns didnít get great reactions from live crowds. Business takes a hit whenever heís not there though. Heís a legitimate star with no full-time peer in wrestling.
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Old 11-17-2021, 01:22 PM   #23
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People argue that if Reigns had turned heel in 2015 or 2016 he’d be super-over by now. Well, the guy is super-over now, and sometimes I wonder if his heel run now would work if they had just caved and turned him.

Long-term storytelling at its finest, folks.
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Old 11-17-2021, 02:17 PM   #24
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I don’t know that there’s any evidence linking Reigns not being there to a dip in business. But you were responding to Gertner’s post so I assumed you were talking about him not being a failure as the “1 top babyface” the company builds around.

They’re currently not using that model because Reigns didn’t work out in the role. Neither has McIntyre or Rollins or Braun or any of the faces they’ve put over their legit stars. Cena was the last one.
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Old 11-17-2021, 03:40 PM   #25
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I donít know that thereís any evidence linking Reigns not being there to a dip in business. But you were responding to Gertnerís post so I assumed you were talking about him not being a failure as the ď1 top babyfaceĒ the company builds around.

Theyíre currently not using that model because Reigns didnít work out in the role. Neither has McIntyre or Rollins or Braun or any of the faces theyíve put over their legit stars. Cena was the last one.
I was adding onto Gertnerís point, which was about how the WWF/E has been traditionally built around 1 top babyface, which was simply a response as to why it isnít crucial there are 180 super-protected people running around. It doesnít really speak to exceptions to the rule at all.

Reigns is used to spike business now, and Raw was greatly hurt when Roman took his health leave. The jury is still out on McIntyre. The show is still obviously being built around Roman Reigns though. Thereís still one gimmick they focus on/protect the shit out of.
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Old 11-17-2021, 03:44 PM   #26
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Even if Reigns were a failure, it says nothing about that being the historical model, which is the point.
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Old 11-17-2021, 04:40 PM   #27
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trying to write my response to this thread is painful but im trying to push through it. i may throw it all out. no promises.
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Old 11-17-2021, 05:06 PM   #28
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if i recall, you and gertner were kinda touchng on this a few weeks ago in the watchalong? definitely interested in reading more of your take.
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Old 11-18-2021, 11:05 AM   #29
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Was it during the Butcher Vachon wedding that this was touched on? Feels like it had to have been.

As entertaining as that shit was to look back on I can’t link the word “genius” with the man responsible for it. Lol
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Old 11-22-2021, 02:42 PM   #30
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Vince doesn’t have to be a genius to be a billionaire, he has managed by being ruthless, smart and in possession of a commodity that he is very well versed in and holds complete dominion over.
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Old 11-22-2021, 04:20 PM   #31
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And that last bit is the most important.
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Old 11-22-2021, 04:51 PM   #32
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Top tier success is measured on how badly you are prepared to treat other people once you have climbed above them.
I don’t think there is a way to become a billionaire in business without embracing unethical business practices. It’s irresistible because treating people like shit makes way more money than rewarding them.
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Old 11-22-2021, 05:20 PM   #33
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Quote:
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Top tier success is measured on how badly you are prepared to treat other people once you have climbed above them.
I donít think there is a way to become a billionaire in business without embracing unethical business practices. Itís irresistible because treating people like shit makes way more money than rewarding them.
Eh, I donít know if that statement is a little too cynical for my tastes. I think there are ways that a business can get reciprocal value out of treating its employees (or independent contractors) as human beings. And in some ways the WWE does. Sure, they cut and fired people recently. They also hired John Morrison back, put him in a platform that made him the most relevant he had been since he left in 2011. Letís say he was signed for $850k a year. He would have made at least $1.7 million with the company over that two years he was there. At the past two WrestleManias he worked with Bad Bunny and in a Ladder Match against The New Day and The Usos. I donít know how the Mania paydays work now, but I doubt he got nothing for that. Then heís also worked a Saudi show. Thatís at least $50k right there, but probably more given when Morrison signed. Wouldnít surprise me if he made six figures for that date.

You can look at the WWE firing him as them not respecting him or whatever. But he probably made more than $2 million in that run. His wife, while not main roster, was also probably paid fairly well for developmental. Between them, they could have a very comfortable life just off that income alone. Never mind Morrisonís previous 9 years with the company, his work in wrestling since then, etc.

A guy like Shelton Benjamin has been back for 5 years now (!). I donít know what he would have signed for. But letís say it was just $350k to be an enhancement dude, help out mentoring guys backstage, etc. Heís made close to $2 million off this company just by being there and doing the one show in Saudi Arabia too. If he were released tomorrow, is that the company shoving him out on his ass? In some ways, theyíve propped him up enough that he never has to take another bump in his life if he doesnít want to.

You can look at some of the WWEís business practices as cold and malicious (especially back in the day), but itís not like everything they do is primarily preoccupied with stripping all reason and humanity from it.
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Old 11-22-2021, 07:09 PM   #34
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Vince McMahon doesn’t consider his wrestlers to be employees.

Is that for altruistic reasons?
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Old 11-23-2021, 05:35 AM   #35
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Quote:
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Vince McMahon doesnít consider his wrestlers to be employees.

Is that for altruistic reasons?
Iím not saying everything he does is for altruistic reasons.
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Old 11-23-2021, 08:37 AM   #36
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learning from, and properly utilizing, the right people isnt a negative. its what every successful person does.
Delegation. I wished he still did it more often lol
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Old 11-23-2021, 11:06 AM   #37
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That’s why he has Bruce Prichard.

Trust me, when the old man dies it’s all going to Bruce.
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Old 11-23-2021, 11:09 AM   #38
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Iím not saying everything he does is for altruistic reasons.


Profit over welfare is part of the business model.
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Old 11-23-2021, 11:46 AM   #39
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Vince made people care about an egg.

Twice.
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Old 11-23-2021, 01:13 PM   #40
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That egg was probably full of asbestos
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