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Thursday, November 10, 2005
Pro Wrestling--- Forum Post Leads to Interesting Discussion about Vince McMahon and Paul Heyman
When a member of the MMAWeekly Forum recently suggested that Vince McMahon could start his own MMA promotion at some point and put Paul Heyman in charge of it, I responded by saying, "Anything that Paul Heyman does outside of WWE will have no involvement from the McMahon family."
A different forum member then responded with a long and well-thought-out post about the possibilities of McMahon and Heyman working together in such a capacity, which I responded to with a long post of my own. The original post and my response to it each brought up a lot of interesting points, so here are the aforementioned posts for your reading pleasure...
Shane McMahon is long-rumored to have wanted to get involved with MMA. Vince is pissed off at Spike and the UFC. Yes, Vince and Paul Heyman do not see eye to eye mostly because Paul speaks his mind and is not the most "political" WWE employee. Vince likes to be surrounded by "Yes Men." However...
In the interest of business, Vince has brought back quite a few people over the years whom he has either had altercations with, or simply just does not like. Eric Bishoff is probably the best example. People like Rena Mero in the past, and as recent as Matt Hardy. He has recently been trying to re-sign Brock Lesner, who walked out on the company with little notice and zero respect for those who sold for him and helped make him who he was. If Vince believes that it's good for business, that is all that matters. He's being stubborn w/the Jim Ross situation, but I believe we still may see Good Ol' JR back on TV since Joey Styles is playing hardball, wanting the same money offered to Mike Goldberg, and Vince has admitted that Coach is not panning out. Bret Hart has a new DVD coming out, and they want him back on their programming, regadless of all of the vile venom Brett has spewed towards them over the last several years. There are plenty more examples, but it is late and my head is a mess.
My point is that if it will make him money... and in the process crush somebody he doesn't like, he will do it. If this means working with Heyman to try and hurt the UFC, don't put it past the old man.
Vince has been erratic as of late, and his product has been suffering. He is long rumored to want to branch out and be remembered as something more than just a wrestling promoter. His recent dabble into films is an example. Failed attempts at football and bodybuilding are also painful reminders. He is also rumored to be getting to the point where he wants to turn his company over to Stephanie, Shane, and Paul Levasque (Triple H). According to the Pro Wrestling Torch, he has been spending a lot of time behind closed doors lately. All kinds of stuff are going around the rumor mill. I'm not saying that it has anything to do with this situation, I'm just stating what is reported in the VIP section of the Torch web site. Vince may be growing tired of "The Business," and ready to try something new. There is a lot of speculation amongst peers that this may be the case.
By the way, I'm not arguing with you, I'm just curious as to why you think they would not work together on this. Paul and Shane could run the day-to-day operations, and Vince could oversee things. It ould not be the smoothest ride, but it could be done. Vince has shown that he wants to do damage, and regardless of how he feels towards Paul, he does respect his mind and passion. If it means dealing a crushing blow to someone with whom he is at war, like I said before, I would never put anything past the old man.
Brian, that's a very good post, but one point that you might be overlooking is that Vince McMahon does business with people he doesn't like primarily to undermine them or humiliate them, not because he's some kind of magnanimous person who forgives and forgets if that's what is best for his company and his stockholders. It's quite the opposite.
Note: What follows is not a rant against you, so much as it is a rant against Vince McMahon. In your post, you seem to be aware of what kind of person Vince McMahon is, so I'm just adding to what you said and disagreeing on some points.
Just looking at all the names you mentioned, there are mitigating circumstances in almost all of those cases. Bischoff was brought in and continues to be used after three years because McMahon is now his boss and gets to tell him what to do, which is something that McMahon gets off on because Bischoff almost brought WWE to its knees for a time. Bischoff is also frequently booked into humilating situations.
The things that Rena Mero did to get her job back have been alluded to plenty of times in the Torch and Observer. I won't come right out and graphically say what those things are, for the same reasons that the Torch and Observer didn't either. But in general, it's one of the worst kept secrets in the business.
Matt Hardy has been buried from Day One of his return to WWE, was forced to shake Vince McMahon's hand right before his money return promo (effectively shooting his "anti-authority" character dead on the spot), did clean jobs on subsequent weeks to Rob Conway and Gene Snitsky, and will likely never, ever get the push that he deserves simply because he dared to negotiate seriously with TNA, he dared to question WWE's decision to fire him for being cheated on, and he dared to make an Internet sensation out of himself that Vince McMahon didn't control.
Brock Lesnar was given a lowball offer in early 2005 and it was openly said that he would have at least a full year of "humbling/humilation" just to prove a point. When Lesnar challenged WWE's legally invalid no-compete clause, he won. He is wrestling in Japan, and some of his matches from Japan will even air on American PPV. The only thing WWE won was that Lesnar can't call his finishing move the "F-5." So it's now called "The Verdict," which is Lesnar's way of giving a big middle finger to WWE after they tried and failed to bully him legally.
Bret Hart was basically threatened with a "Self-Destruction of Bret Hart" DVD that had actually been partially produced, in order to coerce him into working with WWE on the DVD project instead of refusing to participate in it. Or as Dave Meltzer put it in his newsletter, Bret Hart was essentially blackmailed. The "Self-Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior" DVD stands as an example of what happens when you don't play ball with WWE.
And while I don't think the events of November 1997 were entirely one-sided and all Vince McMahon's fault like many people do, can you really blame Bret Hart for "spewing venom" in Vince McMahon's direction in recent years? He signed him to a 20-year talent contract in 1996, then told him one year later that he didn't want to honor that contract because McMahon felt that it was too much money. Then of course came the events of November 1997, which don't bear repeating here.
But on the list of reasons for Bret Hart to hate Vince McMahon, we should never forget that it was Vince McMahon who sent Bret Hart's brother Owen up to the rafters for the stunt that would ultimately take his life. It was Vince who was reportedly upset when Owen didn't immediately get released from the harness at the previous year's Survivor Series, which is one of the major things that led to Owen using a ridiculously unsafe "quick-release snap shackle" on that night. It was Vince who pressured Owen into doing the stunt in the first place when Owen didn't want to do it because he was so afraid of heights (as detailed in the book "Broken Harts"). It was Vince who ordered the show to go on after Owen died, despite the fact that stopping the show would have cost WWE maybe 1% of its annual revenue at most. It was Vince who has spent a significant amount of time in the past six years revisiting that night by having many "The show must go on!" kind of moments on TV after worked injuries to various wrestlers. So I don't really blame Bret Hart for spewing venom in Vince McMahon's direction.
As for Vince McMahon getting into something else other than pro wrestling, he has always wanted to be more than a pro wrestling promoter but he has always failed miserably at everything else he has ever done. What has been going on behind those closed doors is Vince coming to grips with the fact that he's 60 years old and is going to die someday (and probably not when he's 90, due to the lifestyle choices that he has made and continues to make). This has caused him to go "crazy" as the Torch put it, and to "lose his mind" as the Observer put it.
So with Vince apparently having completely lost his mind, I really can't see him staking out a claim in a whole new business and turning it over to Shane McMahon and Paul Heyman without running it himself. He is more controlling than ever and would want to get into MMA himself if he started an MMA promotion.
Also, he hates Paul Heyman more vehemently than he hates most people on his proverbial enemies list (or literal enemies list, if you read Bruce Mitchell's latest piece) because Heyman is the answer to the question that Vince doesn't want to have answered.
His own creativity is gone from all indications, as the most involved storyline that he has co-written himself in the past few months according to the Observer basically consisted of standing around backstage with Ed Koskey and making fun of Jim Ross' Bell's Palsy (before making fun of Jim Ross' cancer scare in an on-air segment), and as the creative team continues to self-implode with Stephanie's clueless Hollywood writers being shuffled in and out on a constant basis, he has to know deep down that the only thing that could save his company in the long run is a creative genius like Paul Heyman being given control of creative. And that's simply not going to happen as long as Stephanie McMahon is his daughter and Paul Levesque is his (second) son. Therefore, with the way those people operate, Heyman must be neutralized, and I wouldn't classify "giving him the reins of a huge new project" as "neutralizing him."
If Heyman is offered a renewal, it will be purely to keep him away from TNA or another company, and it won't be for anywhere near his current salary, and even that kind of offer is being strongly discouraged by Stephanie, Hunter, and Kevin Dunn, according to the Observer.
The fact that he has apparently lost his mind does mean that his behavior is more unpredictable than ever before, and he could do something totally out of character. But so far his mental meltdown has only led to his worst character traits coming out more than ever, as opposed to any kind of magnanimous side coming out. So I can't say there is a ZERO percent chance that he would give Paul Heyman the reins of an MMA company, but I can say that it's damn near a zero percent chance.