I would like to join Geno in wishing all our readers a very Merry Christmas and hope you all have had a great day with your family and friends. But as soap operas can always be relied upon to demonstrate at this time of year, for some families the holiday season is a strained period where they have to make smalltalk and share a room with people that they may not like due to some perceived slight or secretly harboured grudge. Indeed, WWE have illustrated that themselves with the scripting of their real life owners, the McMahon family, in a long running, off and on, feud. The question is: does life imitate art and will this be a tense Christmas time for the McMahons?
Like a nosy detective, we'll look at the evidence. It's very likely that Vince McMahon has yet to fully forgive his son Shane for abruptly leaving the family business less than two years ago. For his part, Shane had become increasingly frustrated by being squeezed out of power within WWE by his sister Stephanie and brother-in-law Paul "Triple H" Levesque. He saw the writing on the wall and knew that he wouldn't be the chosen one to replace his father at the helm of the company in the not too distant future when Vince would retire or reduce his workload, so when the opportunity arose he became the CEO of a fledgling international telecommunications company called Chinese Broadband Inc. Just six months ago in an interview with the LA Times, Shane gave some rare insight into his current relationship with his dad:
"It was the hardest decision I've ever had to make," McMahon said of his leaving WWE to strike out on his own. "I didn't want to wake up when I was 70 and say, 'I should have done that.'" Telling his father he wanted to leave was "brutal" and now, almost two years later, there remains some residual tension. "It's still hard," he said.
It's sure unlikely that recent developments have helped matters any, which doesn't bode well for the McMahon family Christmas.
Though Shane is certainly better off for being out of the toxic WWE working environment, he must be tearing his hair out at how the rest of his family are set to jeopardise his inheritance in 2012. With Vince becoming more indecisive, out of touch and volatile, and Stephanie and Hunter not doing a good job so far picking up the slack from him as they gradually claw more creative control out of his hands, WWE's core business streams remain flat or declining with no sign of a turnaround. Moreover, the WWE network has been very ill-planned and is being foolishly rushed so it can launch in April. It is thus expected to be a big money loser to begin with and a poor start will be difficult to recover from, just ask Oprah Winfrey. Another sure fire money loser is Linda McMahon's second attempt to win a US senate seat in Connecticut, despite her last name being an electoral liability.
Speaking of Vince's wife Linda, I wonder how her new electoral strategy of completely downplaying her last name and her ties to WWE to a ridiculous extent will go down with her proud husband and daughter. As Dave Meltzer reported in the latest Wrestling Observer Newsletter, in recent mailers to solicit funding for her campaign Linda's surname is only mentioned in the small print and, of course, the subjects of pro wrestling and WWE are avoided like the plague. Linda can run from her shady past as much as she wants to, but her negatives as a political candidate will persist, as you can't undo the past, meaning that her chances of winning on the second attempt won't be any greater that the first, so one wonders why the rest of the family are willing to put up with this folly. Triple H is likely privately rolling his eyes at this futile power grab attempt, even if Vince and Stephanie are too arrogant and aloof to realise how foolish it really is.
Regardless, the dynamics of the McMahon family dynasty remains one of the most intriguing open questions in recent wrestling history. Their united public front is to some extent a PR sham, so much so that it is hard to envisage them all having a family dinner together and celebrating Christmas like any normal family does. But I hope that's not the case and that they can all put aside their personal and professional rivalries for one day of the year at least.