That's a fair question to ask now, right? Vince McMahon, the man who is undoubtedly responsible for professional wrestling as we know it today, the man who has crushed all those who dared to run up against him, may have finally found the one opponent he cannot defeat.
It had to happen sooner or later. Vinny Mac is 66-years-old and the hands of time speed up as you get older, not slow down. How far removed from this generation is he? Well, it's gotten to the point that those within WWE, the very organization he built into an empire, apparently believe he's completely lost touch with what does and does not work in pro wrestling.
Here's a bit from Wrestling Observer on the state of WWE backstage after this past Monday night's (Oct. 31) horrifically booked episode of Raw:
Wrestlers were texting each other all night after the show, and there was a stronger feeling than usual that Vince McMahon has completely lost his ability to successfully promote professional wrestling. More and more, comparisons are being made to Vince Russo's booking in TNA. Like TNA, WWE buyrates continue to fall year-by-year, and Raw ratings in the last three months have somewhat consistently fallen from hour one to hour two, something that happened all the time in TNA but used to almost never happen in WWE. Ironically, Smackdown ratings continue to average above a 2.0, higher than ever on Syfy and dating back to the week Mark Henry won the title. Besides pushing a new person on top, the show is also slower-paced and features longer matches and simpler storylines, largely because McMahon spends so much time tweaking Raw that he has little time to devote to "fixing" Smackdown.
We made reference multiple times to Raw being one of the worst booked shows of the year and it's no surprise the talent also recognized as much and are finally making note of how ridiculous it's been.
It's gotten to the point that McMahon is more concerned with getting over on Twitter than he is with promoting a good wrestling product. Instead of letting it grow organically, he's trying to force it down our collective throats. Which wouldn't actually be so bad if it was reserved to certain situations that fit the bill. But that's not what's happening.
Instead, he's using it in storylines it has no place being in. Take, for example, The Rock's decision to team up with John Cena. Instead of booking Miz and Truth as strong heels that Cena simply couldn't handle on his own and would require a big gun to handle, they squashed Miz and Truth and had Rock announce that the only reason he would accept Cena's offer to tag together at Survivor Series was because "The Great One's" followers asked him to.
They actually had Rock say that he would team with Cena because his followers pleaded with him to do so. This makes so little sense on so many levels if you think about it enough your brain will literally dropkick your skull to get you stop.
Here's why:The first thing they did when Rock came back was build a rivalry with Cena. That means the fanbase would inevitably pick sides, as is always the case in pro wrestling because, well, that's the point of having a match. So if followers of The Rock picked his side over Cena, why on Earth would they tweet him to team with someone they likely hate? And why would Rock just blindly agree to go along with it? That just makes him look worse to the very people he's supposed to be rallying for.
As Rock stated in his promo, both he and Cena represent two different generations. Rock's decision to team with his arch nemesis was, for all intents and storyline purposes, a betrayal of his own generation, the generation that absolutely cannot stand Cena. Again, this wouldn't be a problem if he had a good enough reason to do so and if Miz and Truth were booked properly, but they were squashed and Rock's reasoning was Twitter.
And that's just the main program. That's not even getting into the rest of the show.
Take CM Punk, who continues to look as weak as he ever has. He's lost at every pay-per-view since Summerslam, yet the plan is to put the belt on him. So how do they go about getting him a title shot at Survivor Series? Instead of actually having him legitimately win a match, they put him against Mark Henry, have him lose on a smoz finish via disqualification, and finally, after chasing it for so long, John Laurinaitis tells him he can have his title shot as long as Alberto Del Rio agrees to it.
Okay, that's fine. But then they have Del Rio go for 15 minutes against Big Show where he, the WWE champion, gets pinned clean, and Punk comes waltzing out to take advantage of "ADR" in his weakened state. Punk grabs Del Rio, puts him in the Anaconda Vice (coolest name for a submission hold ever?) and won't let go until he agrees to finally give Punk the shot.
For starters, that's a heel move but Punk tries to occupy that space between a babyface and a heel, so he can sort of get away with it. But what's the justification for having him earn the title shot this way? There is absolutely no reason for any fan on Earth to think that Punk has any chance of winning the belt at Survivor Series because he hasn't won a match since 'Nam. To make matters worse, Del Rio has been booked as one of the weakest champions in recent memory. His reign is reminiscent of Chris Benoit's run with the world heavyweight title back in 2004. You know he's a stopgap to get the belt on Punk but they book him into the ground by treating him second rate. Hell, Punk vs. Del Rio won't even be the main event at Survivor Series.
As stated by Bryan Alvarez, Smackdown has become twice as good as Raw on most weeks and the likely reason for that is because McMahon has a lot less to do with the daily operations of that show. That's led to a product that has essentially gone back to the basics.
Take the Mark Henry vs. Big Show feud, for example. Henry took Show out by busting up his leg months ago. Show comes back from said injury and wants his revenge. At this point, Henry is the world heavyweight champion, boom, you've got yourself a feud for the title. Simple as that. What adds to it is when they do things like have Show win matches clean on Smackdown in the weeks leading up to the pay-per-view, including laying Henry out with his big punch finisher, to make fans think he has a legitimate shot of winning the match and so they should pay for the event to see if that's what transpires.
That's booking made easy. Smackdown has become that show and the ratings have reflected as much. Sure, there are other factors, such as the winter months and less competition on Friday night, but there's no question that it has become the better of the two flagship WWE shows.
And, as stated, that's likely because of the lack of involvement by Vince McMahon.
We want to believe he's not off his rocker and he's still the genius he once was. But it's getting increasingly difficult to ignore the heaping pile of evidence to the contrary. If Hulk Hogan is burying the TNA roster to keep himself over as the top babyface, McMahon is burying his roster to get his company trending on Twitter.
If that's not the mark of a madman, I don't know what is. And the sad part? We have no idea when this will end. We thought it might be when the Rock made his return but his first promo in months, pre-taped or not, was a huge bust. There are multiple reasons for that and all of them revolve, in some way, around McMahon.
It's prudent to bring up Vince Russo here. Russo, a brilliant creative mind in his own right, is responsible for many of the innovative ideas that made the Attitude Era such a booming success. His revolutionary style of booking was timed perfectly with the rise of Stone Cold Steve Austin and he consistently wrote scripts that blew away the fanbase on a weekly basis. Ratings soared, the business exploded and the WWE surpassed its arch rival at the time, WCW.
Then Russo skipped town for more power with the chief competitor and while the WWE continued to thrive, WCW went to hell. Storylines made little sense and it was clear that Russo was obsessed with swerving fans just for the sake of swerving them.
As it turned out, Russo had a filter while he was with WWE. That filter, for the most part, was Vince McMahon. He cherry-picked what he felt would work best and implemented it accordingly. Once the filter was gone, Russo had no one to discard his more insane ideas and before you knew it, B-movie actor David Arquette was the world heavyweight champion and WCW died a slow, painful death.
It seems now the tables have turned. Well, Russo is still crazy and still very much needs a filter but it would seem McMahon is now in the same boat.
Sadly, neither of them actually have one. And so we, the fans, are left with TNA and WWE in the sorry states they are both in right now. What's even more sad is there is no hope for reprieve any time soon.
But we'll keep coming back, gluttons for punishment that we are. Come to think of it, I guess that makes us the crazy ones, right?