As tends to be the case for historical conquerors, there are two schools of thought: those who praise the complicated figure for his achievements and acumen, and those who condemn him for causing mass destruction.
Although he is undoubtedly the greatest promoter in pro wrestling history, Vince McMahon has been criticized lately for being stubborn, ignorant, and out of touch. With ratings plummeting and longtime fans drifting away, pundits are wondering what the chairman of WWE will do to shift the tide.
None of their suggestions were to open an amusement park. Yet, international entertainment design firm Forrec recently released a pamphlet showcasing "WWE Branded Attractions", which included rides such as Road to WrestleMania, WWE House of Horrors, and an Andre the Giant fun house. It seems like the logical next step in the McMahon Empire’s global multimedia expansion, accompanying a streaming network, publisher, production studio, and record label. But the timing just doesn’t feel right.
History dictates that when McMahon takes his bloodshot eye off the ball, his primary product suffers.
Additionally, his new products never reach the level of
success as his version of good ol’ fashioned wrasslin’.
10. WWE ECW
Originally intended as a third brand in the same vein as NXT, ECW on Sci-Fi turned out to be the final nail in the coffin for the revolutionary movement of the nineties. Labelling ECW as a “brand” is how the problems began: Paul Heyman’s cavalcade of demimondes was antiestablishment, clustered in a South Philly bingo hall in front of profane, bloodthirsty fans. The mature nature of the promotion could never fit inside WWE’s corporate structure, and that’s what fueled its grassroots success.
After the financial success of the Rise and Fall of ECW DVD, followed by the equally successful One Night Stand pay-per-view in 2005, McMahon decided to resurrect the company in 2006 as a minor league of sorts, blending established names with up and comers to create a new generation of “Extremists” (ugh, more branding). Even with Heyman in charge of the writing, the project was destined to fail because as with every WWE venture, McMahon has the final say. He and Heyman argued on a weekly basis about what stars to spotlight (Bobby Lashley instead of CM Punk) and what storylines to feature (another authority figure’s abuse of power rehash). Their final clash came at December to Dismember when Heyman left the company.
In February of 2010, ECW on Sci-Fi was cancelled. Critics such as Rob Van Dam have claimed that McMahon’s goal all along was to destroy the legacy of ECW, bastardizing it to the point that fans would no longer cheer those iconic letters after a dangerous move.
If that was indeed the case, you’d have to
consider it a Pyrrhic victory for McMahon.