10 Steps WWE Took To Become The Most Toxic Wrestling Company Ever

10. Expansion (National, Of Physique, And Of Underbelly)


The national expansion was essentially the World Wrestling Federation's Trinity test; it changed everything about the complexion of modern wrestling, and spewed the company's evil throughout the world.

The nuclear products that were the artificially-engorged muscle men of the WWF's golden age dominated North America and eventually, through the various, nascent cable and satellite revolutions, much of Europe. Artificial physiques were almost a prerequisite for a significant push - and while the grisly effects of long-term usage weren't known then, they were when performers began to drop like flies a decade or so later - and it took the most horrendous tragedy imaginable (or, more accurately, the devastating PR toll) for McMahon to formally abandon the culture.

Everything about the WWF was bigger, brighter and more bombastic than the floundering competition in the mid-to-late 1980s; by adding an intoxicating veneer of DayGlo glamour to the cult bloodsport, Vince McMahon, Jr elevated it into a mainstream concern. From the perspective of an armchair psychologist, this seemed to galvanise his inner megalomaniac. He wasn't yet arrogant enough to believe he was capable of building his house alone - he was astute enough to promote territory imports like Randy Savage and Ted DiBiase with the conviction latter day independent scene antecedents could only dream of - but he planted early red flags, nonetheless. Jesse Ventura's failed attempt at unionisation only served to add a more paranoid shade to the offscreen environment.

Terry Taylor, a star and a great worker in the UWF, was buried for the cocky way in which he strutted into the room. Vince sang when he was winning. Dusty Rhodes, a far bigger star, was fat and too synonymous with the NWA/JCP competition to portray with a modicum of dignity and adequacy - and he was buried even before he walked through the door via the conduits of Virgil and Akeem.

The mindset was always there. The company wasn't yet comfortable enough to cultivate the culture.


Former Power Slam Magazine scribe and author of Development Hell: The NXT Story - available NOW on shop.whatculture.com!