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  Nov 1, 2001



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READER ALERT: For all the latest wrestling happenings, check out our News & Rumours section.

SLAM! Wrestling Editorial: Readers respond to McMahon-WWF editorials
 During the last couple of weeks SLAM! Wrestling posted two editorials offering differing views or where the WWF is now and where it is going. 'Time for Vince to pass the torch' was written by SLAM! Wrestling's John Powell while reader Pete Nowak wrote his response entitled 'Don't just blame Vince, Mr. Powell'. We asked you, the readers, to send along your comments and you have in great numbers. John Powell's call for Vince McMahon to resign from the World Wrestling Federation sparked much controversy. What is clear having sorted through many of your thoughtful comments is that according to you, the WWF needs to overhaul their operations and even if Vince McMahon doesn't retire, he and his family need to fade into the background. Here are some of the reader mail we received. Give them a gander. There are some more great ideas and observations contained within them.


I just have to say, I agree more with Paul Nowak than John Powell. It's easy to place Vince McMahon as the bearer of the bad luck the WWF has been having with television. But the fact is you can't hold JUST Vince to blame. Any more than it was JUST Bischoff's fault when WCW was drowning, or Russo, or Sullivan. The fact is, you're now saying that the WWF needs to do what we were arguing was WRONG for WCW to do a couple years ago. You can't expect the WWF's ratings to change overnight. Once it hits a ratings slump like this, it takes some time to work back up to people getting interested in the show. One of John Powell's arguments was that when WWF would have a guest star or some other noteworthy appearance to try to cause a 'spike' in the ratings, it wouldn't work. Well, as far as I'm concerned that's good. I don't want the WWF turned into a show where storylines change weekly, and David Arquette is the champion. I admit that it's not the best show right now, and definitely needs a change. However, I'm more willing to be patient, and let WWF work it out themselves. Changes like this don't happen overnight, it takes time. That's the lesson that was learned from WCW.

- Joesph Smith.


John,

Everyone who discusses the wrestling business, specifically the ebb and flow of the business, always falls back on the much quoted principle of the 'cyclical' changes in wrestling ratings and attendance. Pete Nowak utilized this principle as well to explain the current low ratings of the WWF. However, this principle has no merit! Vince McMahon has been touting for years now that wrestling is 'sports entertainment' and that it is equivalent to movies and other dramatic television shows. Ok. Why is it then that other dramatic shows, such as ER, or comedic shows, such as Friends, don't experience the same cyclical success as wrestling does? Those two shows have been constant ratings winner for years. Why dont they suffer the same painful cycle that the WWF seems to have to endure every few years? Simply, because its an issue of supply and demand. If the writers supply well written, enjoyable programming, the demand will remain high, and the writers of ER and Friends have been able to maintain that for years. The WWF? It's a crap shoot with those writers. How they can go from writing some of the most entertaining storylines to some of the crap that is out there now is flabbergasting. That's the issue here. The product is no good. It has nothing to do with the cycle of the business. Other shows don't go through said cycles because they have consistent, good writing. The WWF? It's anarchy. That is the reason for the drop in ratings. Did they think turning Kurt Angle heel was the answer to a ratings boost? If they did, my point has been proven.

- Sam Rappos.


I haven't missed a WWF show in 16 years, now I let myself fall asleep without taping what I miss. There's a lot to be said there. The product IS garbage right now. But to put ALL of the blame on Vince McMahon's shoulders wouldn't be right, after all he doesn't write the highly uninspired shows airing right now. He does however, approve these shows, either by airing them unedited, or not making changes to the writing staff, aka Steph McJuggs.

Some of Mr. Nowak's points are quite valid. Wrestling is cyclical, but would that be the case if some sort of creativity could be maintained? Some of his other points are not so valid. The economy has nothing, and The Rock means NOTHING, to do with the ratings slide. This trend has been slowly building over the course of a full year. I remember the first time I saw they hadn't sold out a house show or a RAW months back thinking "oh-oh trouble's a' brewing."

If you want to go really far back, let's not neglect the Smackdown! impact. Having two shows a week has created a litany of problems but that's a guest column in itself.

As usual the answer is lies in the middle. Vince McMahon, himself, isn't responsible for this sorry product. But as the head of WWFE he must take some sort of responsibility. Let's just pray he does so in the near future.

- Corey Baird.


First off, let me just say that I greatly enjoy your column and the rest of those featured on SLAM! Wrestling. Yours was one of the first "wrestling news" sites I encountered when first playing around on the internet a few years ago and your coverage has always been unbiased and to-the-point. But I don't entirely agree that Vince McMahon should step down from his position as head of WWFE. Perhaps when he reaches the big 6-0 but not before then.

McMahon has proven time and time again that he's worthy (most of the time) of being the Top Dog in professional wrestling. However, Vince needs to realize that his presence and the fact that his kids monopolize huge chunks of Raw and Smackdown are part of the reason that the WWF has gotten stale.

Vince needs to take a lesson from Paul Heyman, who purposefully kept himself in the shadows during most of ECW's run, only stepping into the limelight on very rare occasions and thereby making his appearances special and newsworthy.

Also, Vince needs to separate the WWF and WCW/ECW right now. Make one of the stipulations for Survivor Series that if WCW wins, they'll get WWF Excess for their own show. (Hey, it was pretty much the plan all along, why not speed things up?) Let WCW run the "B-arenas" that the WWF's B-team has been running for weeks. Things might be rocky at first, but having both companies flourish as opposed to one company doing poorly would be great. The Invasion angle could have continued its momentum had the WWF focused on the angle differently. Instead of having Shane McMahon say, "We're taking over!" and then having the WWF and WCW superstars swap belts for a couple of months, what if Shane had set out on a mission to destroy every WWF title that the Alliance got their hands on?

Imagine Shane and the Alliance standing in the middle of the ring, ready to light the WWF Heavyweight Title on fire as WWF wrestlers battled to get to the ring to save the honor of their company? The mood would have been simply electric and would have paved the way for countless hours of entertaining television. Instead, we got Test vs. Kane.

In addition, the WWF needs to focus less on monolithic love-it-or-hate-it angles and start crafting angles for the main eventers and ESPECIALLY the mid-carders that people will pay to see continue. I can't think of any mid-card angles that have held my attention even briefly since Spike Dudley and Molly Holly had their little fling.

Finally, the WWF must stop having wrestlers who'll be headlining PPV's face each other week after week on television. Why in the hell should I (or any other wrestling fan, for that matter) drop $30 or $40 to see a match between two wrestlers who've already fought for the past 5 weeks on television? Anyway, that's just my 2 cents. Keep up the good work, John.

- Mike Cody.


Mr Powell

You make a very good case for Vince's resignation, unfortunately this is Vince "I GOTTA EGO" McMahon, and only Vince would fail to recognize all the signs.

In early '92, Vince knew that things were changing in the industry but it took him until '97 to come up with the Attitude. And when things started to fall in line for Vince, due to WCW's self-destruction, he brought in another great angle Vince vs Austin. While the WCW was flushing itself down the toilet Vince and Co. found themselves in the driver seat. I personally feel that it wasn't Attitude or THE Austin vs McMahon feud that turned things around for WWF; I think it was the inevitable downfall of WCW and the lame angles and direction it was going in.

I also think it spiked up ratings cause it was presumed to be "the cool thing to do" to watch WWF programming. When its appeal wore out, the casual fans tuned out; while the hardcore fans hung in there hoping for the biggest angle yet. It came along when Vince purchased WCW and the eventual promoting of that sale, with even an appearance by Shane on WCW, Invasion of the WCW. Even casual fans I knew were excited by the possibilities but as we watched week after week no real WCW stars ever appeared. And that is about the worse thing you can do to your fan base -- feed them full of empty promises and never deliver on them.

When I ask my casual fans opinion about what's going on, their statements are usually that the programming ain't interesting anymore, that WWF promises more then it delivers. When I remind them that to build a good angle takes time and fans to follow and react. Their reply is to let them know when they've figured it all out. So....yeah Vinnie Mac's ego's got the best of him; but his biggest sin with the fans is... HE PROMISED BUT HE DIDN'T DELIVER. Oh well... those are my opinions anyway. Keep up the good work.

- BillyWilde.


As the man who can be quoted as saying "the buck stops with me", Vinnie Mac has to shoulder the bulk of the criticism when wrestling declines since he has no issue reaping the accolades when there is a boom.

Given the wealth of talent in the WWF's locker room, there is less reason now than ever before for any McMahon dominating the airwaves - do we really need entire segments devoted to their ramblings when that time could be used for talent development? Perhaps more time devoted to developing plausible storylines is needed than to feeding his (and his relatives) egos. I see where his onscreen presence was required in the past but certainly not now.

I do not think he has to remove himself from the creative side of things but I can't see that having a Mac involved in almost every onscreen angle adds any value, especially when there is credible talent waiting in the wings.

I agree with Mr. Powell's perspective though I see merits in other arguments.

Last but certainly not least, I wish to thank CANOE sports for this forum where we can discuss this and every wrestling topic.

Thanks

- Tony from Toronto.


"While I agree that Vince needs to back off a bit in his involvement in his company, I also think the current crop of WWF writers need to work a bit harder. For instance, I cannot buy Rock complaining about Jericho's use of the chair without some retaliation from Jericho along the lines of "Weren't trying you to use the announcer's table?" I mean, there are some things I'll let pass, but I'll never understand a face complaining about weapons use when they use them themselves - it's just stupid."

- Andrew Murchison.


"I just wanted to say that I agree with your article on Vince's stepping down. Unless he can get his stories going again, I think he should pass the torch to someone who can hold the storylines at an interesting level.

If Shane and Steph are a part of what it is now, i'm not so sure they'd be a good choice. Still, someone with the qualities you described.

Thanks for saying what needed to be said. I hope Vinne gets to here about it."

- CJ Parker.


"Just wanted to add my name to the list of those in complete agreement with you. Over the last year, the WWF has become unbelievably tedious, predictable, and uncreative. Even with the new WCW/ECW talent, McMahon is using the new characters to run the same old angles.

I agree that V. McMahon should step down, at least in a creative capacity, but who do you think could take over? I've heard that Shane and Stephanie McMahon are prominent members of the creative (or uncreative) team, and they haven't been able to do much either.

I can't think of any one person who might solve wrestling's ills, but it seems to me that the most compelling storylines occurred when Vince Russo was working in the WWF. It seems to me that wrestling needs him. His last stint with WCW was hit-miss to be sure, but he was at least trying some new ideas. Again, I don't know if he's the whole answer, but I think he might help.

Just thought I'd throw my ideas out there. It also seems to me that WWF needs to bring in some writers not previously affiliated with wrestling to think 'outside the box', for truly new angles."

- Alan Koslowski.


"Bravo for your editorial on Vince's mismanagement being responsible for the second rise and fall of the WWF. It never ceases to astound me how Mr. McMahon is the head of a publicly traded company, yet acts so irresponsibly on behalf of the hundreds (thousands?) of shareholders invested in WWFE. That such a huge portion of WWF programming is dedicated to the McMahon family each week is a testament to how much Vince's ego is threatening the viability of his company. Can you imagine if the CEO of Coca-Cola declared that the company would continue to mass-produce all of its sodas, but only run commercials for sugar-free ginger ale?

Since SLAM! is one of the few web sites large and legit enough for the WWF to pay attention to (hey, you got JR's attention!), maybe Vince and his family will finally get the message... when I boo Shane or Vince or Stephanie, I'm not saying "you are evil", but rather I'm saying "go away". The dedicated fans of pro wrestling would just as soon have the McMahon family disappear from in front of the camera FOR GOOD."

- Frank Warsh.


"I agree with you that Vince isn't doing as good a job with the WWF as he can. I think that he doesn't need to pass the torch... not really. He needs to work towards making competition for himself. The whole 'Vince's promotion vs Shane's promotion' wasn't played out to its full potential. He needs to figure out a way to get WCW and/or ECW their own TV shows, and to run them like they were separate entities. Maybe once or twice a year have interpromotional matches. I think that if Steiner ever comes back, and Hall and Nash, even Ric Flair and the other true WCW stars, if they come back then Vince can truly start to promote WCW vs WWF. Maybe he's just biding his time until he can get the big names back into the fold. But I don't think he should pass the torch yet. If he can't turn things around by Wrestlemania, or with Wrestlemania, then yes, its time for him to move on."

- Trevor H.


"I would just like to say that you wrote a wonderful article discussing the need for Vince McMahon to retire. His product is alienating me, a viewer of 17 years.

I do not think it is possible to run a WCW/ECW show anymore. The WWF has just butchered the credibility of most of the WCW/ECW Stars. When the ECW Invasion entered into the story I was excited. I figured the seeds were being planted for the top stars of the "New show" to reveal themselves. Tommy Dreamer, Justin Credible, Rob Van Dam, The Dudleys could have joined Booker T, DDP, and Kanyon to form a nice group of talented wrestlers to become the focus of this mythical "new show". Vince McMahon's guidance has led to the "humiliation" of almost every wrestler not part of the WWF before the buyout.

I may not be an expert in the world of business, but shouldn't McMahon's personal agenda of further humiliating the former competition end now? Would McMahon not have made more money by strengthening the above mentioned wrestlers, and keeping them strong for more than one PPV?

I hope, for the WWF's sake, Vince McMahon either gets himself together, or steps down before we enter a new "wresting dark ages"."

- Bill Battershill.


Couldn't have said it better myself. But I would argue that Vince McMahon never DID listen to the fans. WWF has ALWAYS been about Vince McMahon, rather than about wrestling or the wrestlers. It's just more obvious now that WWF stands alone in televised wrestling.

- Staci.


John, you're the man!!!!!!!!!!! Good for you. Wrestling has suffered at the hands of Vince McMahon but for longer than a year. Try many years!!!!!!!!! And those that disagree have no clue about the wrestling business. Those know-it-alls will forever be kayfabe forever, no matter what.

This so called "wrestling business" is really the Shane and Stephanie show. Shane may know how to set up the ring take a few bumps but that doesn't make a "worker", by no means. Could you imagine Shane being in a position to put anyone over????? How about his sister Stephanie? What does she bring to the table or shall I say to the ring???????? Go ahead! Tell me! Make my day!!!!!!!! Stick to your guns, John! You make an accurate assessment of the WWF and wrestling in general. Don't let a wrestling rat like Pete Nowak tell you any different.

In conclusion, some one once asked me. "Why do we always see Shane and Stephanie on the air". My answer was simple, and a sign of the times... I reply... Where is King Kong Bundy, Abdullah the Butcher, Bob Orton, Snuka, George Steele...etc?

- Steve Indelicato


Vince made a big mistake buying WCW and ECW. There's no competition now. He should sell them and let someone else go against the WWF. People get bored knowing the McMahons run all of wrestling (either Vince or the kids). Vince step down? No way. Ratings seem to always go back up after he's been gone for a while.

Thank you,

- Martti Parta.


  • Reader react to McMahon editorials (Part Two)

  • Past editorials




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