WWE released more than 80 wrestlers in 2021, mostly due to budget cuts. That number soars well above 100 since the start of the global pandemic, despite WWE setting records for achieving the highest profits in company history during this time.
During his interview on today’s The Pat McAfee Show, Pat asked Vince how these roster decisions weigh on his mind. Here is their exchange:
McAfee: “People always assume that you just have no heart and you do not care at all about any of these people...are any of those decisions more difficult than others, or is it just always what will make the best show in your eyes?”
McMahon: “I’m always concerned about what’s best for the audience. Always. What does the audience want? And if you have dead weight around, you have situations whereby someone’s not cutting it and you have an opportunity for someone else to come in, it’s like, okay, that’s probably the best thing. It’s one of the reasons why, with [Hulk] Hogan and a lot of those guys who left me at one time, [it’s] why I brought them back...what’s the best thing for business? If the audience wants Hulk Hogan back, you bring him back, if he has value that way.”
Okay, so Pat brings up the perception that McMahon is a heartless bastard, and Vince starts out by describing all the released wrestlers as “dead weight.” That’s something a heartless bastard would say.
Also, I’m trying to follow along with Vince’s logic here, and I think he’s implying that he released 80+ wrestlers in 2021 because that’s what the audience wanted him to do? I don’t recall any fans passionately arguing that WWE needed to cut the budget in order to put on a better television show.
McMahon then explains how taking the company public took a lot of weight off his mind when it comes to firing employees and wrestlers:
McMahon: “Once I took the company public, it helped me be a better businessman. Because prior to that I was running the business with my head, but mostly with my heart as well. And these decisions are so damn tough when you do that. Because you know who it is, you know he has kids...or someone has cancer in the family, and all that computes in your head.
But once you’re a public company, now you go stockholders. It is the business then, so it helps me make easier and better business decisions. ‘Cause my heart, there’s still some of it in there, I know it sounds awful, but there is. But at the same time, it’s business, and there’s nothing personal about it in terms of whether I like somebody or I don’t like someone or whatever.”
So let me get this straight. McMahon used to consider a wrestler’s personal circumstances such as cancer in the family, but now that Vince only cares about stockholders, it makes it so much easier to ignore all that shit and just fire away? Yes Vince, you are right, that does sound awful. At least Vince clarifies that the audience he supposedly listens to isn’t actually WWE’s fans; it’s the WWE stockholders. That’s the audience that is happy when he fires 80 wrestlers in one year.
Vince wraps up this topic by saying wrestlers make too many excuses when he fires them:
McMahon: “Sometimes athletes...when they’re not given the opportunity, or even if they are and it doesn’t work, people from all walks of life seldom look in the mirror and say, you know what, I was the guy who fucked up. It was on me. Instead, everyone has a million excuses to why things didn’t work. And generally speaking, the heat has to go some place, the old blame game, and I’m the bad guy. That’s a part of the job.”
Right, so wrestlers who are given no opportunities should point the finger at themselves for Vince McMahon’s decisions. Yes, Hit Row, you are 100% to blame for getting released by McMahon just a few weeks after being called up to SmackDown. The same goes for you Tegan Nox. How dare you not get over after WWE randomly broke up your tag team and never brought you back to television. You should really look in the mirror, admit that you fucked up, and stop blaming Vince McMahon for his decision to fire you.
The truth of the matter, of course, is that each and every case is different, and there are varying amounts of blame to go around between McMahon, the wrestler, other actors, and luck. But McMahon is instead acting like he doesn’t deserve to be called the bad guy, and it’s all the fault of the dead weight wrestlers.
That sounds to me like someone who needs to look in the mirror and stop making so many excuses.
What do you make of Vince McMahon’s perspective, Cagesiders?