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Vince McMahon has never had a good idea.


DavidParis
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I thought this might lead to some fun debate as it occurred to me recently. 

People have often claimed that Vince McMahon is a ‘creative genius’ But I ask you what has he ever done besides throw money at things and then make terrible decisions?

Vince is good at marketing and promoting but id say that’s about it.

Creating WWF/E - He bought it off his Dad. 

Starting Hulkamania - Hulkamania had already started in AWA and Japan, he just signed him when Vern was too Stupid to.  

The great expansion - Just threw money at everyone and used dirty tricks to help put others out of business .

Creates stars - Hogan, Savage, Warrior, Piper all had their gimmicks before arriving and when they left he was stuck.

Austin 3:16 - Only made Austin King of the ring because Triple H was out and there was no one left and then after he won did absolutely nothing with him. Austin was spinning his wheels until Bret insisted he work with him.

Attitude Era - Vince wasn’t the mastermind, he just went with what Russo and the edgier performers were pushing.

Post attitude era nothing particularly impressive has really resonated. Most exciting ideas or opportunities (Punk / Bryan / ECW revival / Nexus) get forgotten in the never ending quest for the next Hogan.

I ask ya, besides chasing dollars and trying to appeal to the lowest common denominator what has Vince ever done that is ‘genius’?

As CM Punk once said “He’s a millionaire who should be a billionaire.”

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He's just signed a deal with the Saudis where for the next 10 years he'll be making $25 million a year. Makes you sort of forgive him for not putting Wade Barrett over in 2010.

I do find the idea Vince McMahon had no ideas but Vince Russo did fucking hilarious, though.

Edited by IANdrewDiceClay
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Hey I can’t deny either of those points. I do accept though that Vince is an exceptional business man and deal broker. 

 

Perhaps it it would be fairer to say that he is in no way a genius when it comes to actually understanding an audience or booking pro-wrestling.

The GRR I thought was a good example. Yes as a business man that was an incredible deal. He then books the Davari’s in the ‘evil foreigner gimmick’ like they’re Slaughter in 91. 

I felt so embarrassed for everyone watching abc involved in that. Like, does this guy really think this is what people want in 2018. (Even in the country they were in.)

 

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Sorry fella, if you believe Vince has never had a good idea then you really do not understand the world of American wrestling.

Go and read about the wrestling in the 60's and 70's and see how much Vince change it in the 80's. Just look at the size of Wrestlemania 3 and the SNME/ME shows that generated the largest wrestling TV audiences of all time back then. Look at the PPV expansion, the worldwide expansion, taking a wrestling company public. Look at how he recovered after losing his top stars to WCW in the mid 90's. Russo had about 3 good years in the business, Vince has had 70 !!!

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If Vince hadn't gone forward with national expansion, someone else would have done it - it wasn't just the wrestling business that was changing, the nature of TV in America was changing, a business model dependent on rinky-dink local television stations wasn't viable in a world moving towards vast national cable TV networks.

But as John Cage responded when told "anyone could have done that", "Yes - but I did."

A lot of what Vince McMahon has done feels obvious in hindsight because it worked.

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10 hours ago, DavidParis said:

Vince is good at marketing and promoting but id say that’s about it.

Creating WWF/E - He bought it off his Dad. 

Starting Hulkamania - Hulkamania had already started in AWA and Japan, he just signed him when Vern was too Stupid to.  

The great expansion - Just threw money at everyone and used dirty tricks to help put others out of business .

Creates stars - Hogan, Savage, Warrior, Piper all had their gimmicks before arriving and when they left he was stuck.

I don't like Vince anymore than anyone else but to take the national expansion, the rise of syndication, the gamble on WrestleMania, the adoption of the younger audience, the link up with MTV, the use of Cyndi Lauper and Mr T, the dramatic improvement in production value, identifying Hulk Hogan as THE guy, booking his rivalry with Piper, attracting almost all of the best talent from all over the country, making marketable gimmicks, being utterly ruthless in destroying other promoters, courting the rise of PPV, merchandising like never before, booking that amazing Hogan/Savage team/break-up/feud, building the next guy in the Warrior (who may have had the gimmick but was fucking dreadful when the signed him) and putting the right people in the right spots in and out of the ring time and again and sum it up as some stroke of luck is ridiculous.

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I've never been a fan of Vince, but there are quite a few things wrong with your post. Looking at things on the whole, I might agree that he's not a genius, but he is definitely a visionary - he doesn't have innate, elite talent, but it doesn't matter, because there are very few people on this planet who could match his insane work ethic, which is the bigger part of success anyway.

The claim that the great expansion was a result of Vince's dirty tricks isn't completely true. The territorial promoters were pulling the same shit, Vince just happened to be better at it. However, more importantly, he was doing something that they weren't: paying his workers, on time, in full, without fail. Quite a few of the old guys talk about it: that so many promoters around the US used to try and get out of paying their guys, or, if they did, tried to leave it as long as possible, or bilk them for the full amount. When you've got that shower of shit in the background, simply being principled enough to pay the workers what they're owed when they're owed it means you get a good reputation, your promotion becomes very appealing to work for, and it becomes very difficult for other promoters to fuck you over.

Also, to say he's never had a good idea at all is patently untrue. He had the vision in the 80s to get his promotion involved with MTV and the pop culture surrounding it; no other promoters at that point had made such an effort to have wrestling make the jump into mainstream cultural consciousness. Vince got in at the ground floor. 

Additionally, to say "he was just good at marketing and promoting" is simplistic and reductive. Nobody had done thus far or was doing what he was doing at the time. It seems obvious to us now, but that's with hindsight. The merchandising, the music videos, the celebrity involvement, WrestleMania, etc, - the sheer vision to look at what was going on at the time and say "I'm going to put a whole shit-ton of stuff together, and create an entire, interconnected product" doesn't come to everyone. And he may not have created Hulkamania, but he did do the absolute best with it that anyone could. It's not as easy as people think, as is evidenced by the sheer amount of crap so many people talk on the internet about how they'd run things. Without Vince, Hulkamania might have stayed a cult phenomenon in the territories, and Vince knew he needed Hulkamania to make his plans a success. 

All that takes vision, brains, and determination. Vince isn't a genius, but most successful people aren't; genius is a rarity, and doesn't always translate into success. Hard work, and a dream to accomplish something - that does.

Edited by Carbomb
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That's a really good point - it's Vince's work ethic that got shit done, as much, if not moreso, than any nebulous sense of "genius".

What's coming across from everyone's points is that what Vince got right was a level of joined up thinking absent in most within the wrestling industry. Other territories had created music videos, other territories had brought in celebrities, other promotions had flogged T-shirts, other promotions had made big names of a lot of the talent that would go on to work for Vince, but nobody wrapped it all up in so coherent and consistent a brand, and so coherent and consistent an identity.

 

Ultimately, WWE just claimed $800 million in revenue for 2017. I wish my lack of good ideas worked out so well for me.

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Like him or not Vince was a visionary. He rebranded wrestling into family entertainment and made it mainstream. He bet the house on WrestleMania and it paid huge dividends. Getting Mr T, Cyndi Lauper and other celebs involved was a smart idea too. He also broke up the territory system to go national then international.

Although that had negative implications arguably without Vinces national expansion US pro-wrestling wouldn't have likely left the shores. Apart from traded tapes. There'd just be the all-in wrestling/WOS style with ocassional overseas imports. WWFs success meant Ted Turner wanted to buy Crockett and turn WCW national then international too. Say WrestleMania failed I don't see any other territory breaking out as it was so ingrained for them to all work together. So he broke from tradition too which was forward thinking and in turn the WWFs expansion paved the way for WCW to get a TV deal in the U.K.

Plus it opened the doors for the promotions to follow. You also had the second Attitude Era boom period where WWF was popular again and Bravo was even showing old ECW etc. to capitalise on the WWF boom. I think Vince has his detractors for breaking up the territory system and taking his competitors top talent, making wrestling more cartoony etc but from his personal standpoint he revolutionised the business. He was the Paul Heyman of his day as ECW set new trends with its product, Vince took even greater risks where he changed the very dynamic of wrestling. Look at WWF pre Vince takeover then after WrestleMania I and the Hulkamania boom and its a night & day difference. Vince has made some mistakes since then (WBF etc) but to not call him a genius is nonsense.

 

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