With professional wrestling, the art that I love so dear, there’s an edge to it, there’s something that is against the rules about the entire genre. For instance, why in the world were there be tables under the ring? Why would those weapons be placed there, except for the obvious decision to try and pressure athletes to mame each other. In no other sport do you see these things, with the exception of stools in boxing. On Monday Night Raw this week Jerry Lawler said that he did not understand Vince McMahon’s decision to put John Cena in a match with Curtis Axel and to make it a No Disqualification match. JBL’s answer to that question not only satisfied me as far as the story goes, but made me look at WWE through a clearer lens and then to subsequently write this article. JBL said that Vince McMahon made the match a No DQ match simply because “Vince likes that sort of stuff.”
Will some people say this is a cop out and cheap story writing? Sure and I can even see their point, but if you take a quick look at history, this answer is completely in keeping with the long term story of the WWE. Vince has been seen as a cruel and sadistic personality since the beginning of the Attitude Era, with some exclusions for story purposes, but he has generally been a fan of destruction. I have to go back to Vince’s 2001 feud with then co-owner of the WWF Ric Flair, where Vince attempted to destroy Flair personally, professionally and physically. The line that Vince used to sell himself as a truly sadistic person and to help sell the Royal Rumble 2001 was “I enjoy destroying lives, it turns me on.” What a truly classic line, the likes of which have never been seen of television before or after and it wonderfully encapsulates the Mr. McMahon character that we have been shown over the years.
Taking that logic then and applying to all the aspects of the WWE that are for show, like weapons under the ring, or stipulations added, they easily get grounded in reality when thinking of the fact that Vince McMahon is running the show. Let me get one thing clear, Vince is an idol of mine, but the character we’ve seen is a perverse, chauvinistic dictator. This then makes sense that the show that Vince is running, the carnival he is presenting, should be ripe with human folly and easy traps for these different pro wrestlers to fall into. This is also why I believe that Vince should bring at least one Wellness Policy violation into a storyline, whether or not it’s true. Looking back to CM Punk’s recent run in’s with Mr. McMahon, the line used by Paul Heyman to describe Vincent Kennedy McMahon was a flesh peddling promoter.
Again this is a perfect description of the character we, the WWE Universe, has been presented of Mr. McMahon since he left the announcing booth in late 97. But this reasoning is being phased out, Mr. McMahon, the sadistic ruler that he is, is slowly being pulled away from his duties as more are being left to his son in law, Triple H. Now HHH is of course the cerebral assassin, so his sadistic side has certainly been shown over the years, when he was ruling the ring. But since Hunter started wearing the suit, entering into this new phase of his career, he has strictly played the good guy, fan favourite and made the right decisions. Vince on the other hand frequently makes choices to the disgust of the crowd, bringing on the violence, unless that’s not his mood on that particular day (or we’re deep in the PG Era). With Triple H taking this new role as the voice of reason in the WWE and Vince taking a more backseat position, will the creepy, sadistic side of WWE die?
Personally I believe it will, I truly believe the programming after Vince dies, or completely steps away, if that ever happens will be toned down from Vince’s product. not a knock on HHH, and of course Stephanie McMahon will still be there, and she’s learned from the master since day, but to me, Vince has something special in his very being that he brings every day to the office, that no amount of training can teach. Vince owns something in his fingers that allowed him to become the global juggernaut that WWE has become and that same special essence that Mr. McMahon holds helped him shape the classic stories that we all remember throughout WWE history. Of course I will still be watching WWE after that tragic die arrives, but as of this writing I do not believe that the product will ever be the same. Even if one day we see another spike like the raging 80′s or the Attitude Era, I feel the product will never have the same Vince McMahon edge once he leaves the WWE Universe permanently.