Posts Tagged ‘Vince McMahon’

Comments made by Stephanie McMahon – seemingly relating to a possible sale of WWE – have caught the headlines this week.

The company’s Chief Brand Officer is quoted as saying in Bloomberg Businessweek that her family – who have dominated the wrestling industry for decades – have “certainly thought about” interest from media giants like Walt Disney, 21st Century Fox and Verizon.

Several outlets have taken her remarks as a sign her father, the current Chief Executive Officer, is now open to offers. The 72-year-old has recently began diversifying his own business interests with the proposed relaunch of XFL, a football league whose original run ended in 2001.

But it seems more likely that Stephanie was referring to the potential for collaboration with different content providers. WWE has been slowly moving away from traditional platforms over recent years, having scrapped one-off pay-per-views in favour of a subscription-based online streaming service.

And the company is clearly eager to explore new ways to reach its fanbase, a large (though dwindling) section of whom are drawn from the tech-savvy 18 to 34 demographic. Last month, for example, saw the launch of the intergender tag team tournament Mixed Match Challenge, an event streamed exclusively on Facebook.

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Vince McMahon’s assertion that the XFL’s relaunch would have no impact on his day-to-day WWE role was one of the biggest talking points to emerge from January 25th’s press conference, but the Chairman is already going back on his word.

According to this week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Vince is currently undergoing the process of transferring certain WWE powers to others, with Triple H the main benefactor.

‘The Game’ has already taken over 205 Live’s operations, with McMahon stepping aside. On top of this, Vince is currently assembling a team to assist Triple H in running NXT, which is why Impact Wrestling’s Jeremy Borash was recently brought into the company. Dave Meltzer notes that Vince has also spoken to other individuals with a view to taking a bigger role, but doesn’t mention any specifics.

This doesn’t mean that McMahon is stepping away entirely, but he is looking to ensure key positions are covered when the XFL’s rebirth finally comes to fruition.

The only surprise here is the timescale, as while Triple H was pinpointed as Vince’s preferred heir a long time ago, the Chairman had shown no signs of ceding power. McMahon will still hold authority going forward, but it sounds like big changes are on the way.

Those who’ve tuned into WWE 205 Live over the past few weeks will have noticed a clear shift away from the ‘Raw Lite’ format that had defined the show since its inception, and towards a style more in line with 2016’s Cruiserweight Classic, with in-ring action given a stronger focus.

According to PWInsider, these changes are down to a significant backstage power shift. Vince McMahon has reportedly stepped away from producing the show, handing over the reins to Triple H, who has installed Drake Maverick as General Manager, and started a 16-man tournament to crown a new Cruiserweight Champion at WrestleMania 34.

As per PWI, WWE had spent the past few months discussing 205’s failure, with Enzo Amore brought in to transition towards a more character-driven show. This failed, and WWE have now shifted to the Cruiserweight Classic’s blueprint, with the show eschewing overlong talking segments and Raw/SmackDown-style dramatics.

205’s new form is reportedly what WWE had originally planned for the show before McMahon became personally involved. He stepped aside in mid-January, and Triple H will now attempt to salvage the brand by presenting strong, athletic characters in exciting matches.

WWE Hall of Famer Ric Flair was recently interviewed by The Mirror. Below are a few highlights:

During the early years of Raw you were one of the opposition, because you rejoined World Championship Wrestling (WCW) a month later and then went head-to-head with Raw on Monday Nitro. Did you used to watch both shows? Was the rivalry as fierce as people say now?

“Worse. I hated WCW. I’ve said it on record. Not the guys, but the way it was run. It was ridiculous. Literally, my prediction, I said they will kill themselves. And they did. You can’t go out on Nitro and say openly to Vince, ‘we’re putting you out of business’. He’s forgiven a lot of people.”

Do you think that approach turned fans off?

“Yeah. They wanted me to go out there and say that. I said ‘s*** no’ I’m not going to go out and say that. ‘I’m not doing it’. It’s one of the reasons me and [Eric] Bischoff didn’t get along. They wanted me to go out and put WWE down like Hulk [Hogan], Scott Hall and [Kevin] Nash and those guys were. Not a chance.”

[Vince McMahon] even hired Eric Bischoff as the general manager of Raw in July 2002 after WCW went out of business.

“I was really shocked. I wouldn’t badmouth WWE on air out of loyalty to Vince. I used to work for his dad [Vincent J. McMahon]. He’s forgiven a lot of people man, Bruno [Sammartino], the Ultimate Warrior, Kevin, Scott…”

How excited would you be to see Asuka face your daughter Charlotte, or as has been rumoured, Ronda Rousey to face Charlotte at WrestleMania. That would be a box office attraction.

“Oh huge. Ronda because Ronda gets so much exposure from ESPN as well, which we do a lot of stuff with. That’s why Brock [Lesnar] brings so much to the table, because Brock used to get so much ESPN stuff, which gives us an audience that might not normally watch it.”

If Ronda Rousey was to come into WWE, she couldn’t be in better hands than in a match with Charlotte.

“No. Charlotte will beat her when she wants to! Ronda better watch out. I can tell you this, Charlotte is not afraid of her in any way, shape of form. She is a lot bigger than she is. [5ft 10in to 5ft 7in and 144lb to 135lb]. She can deadlift 300lb and squad 250lb.”

Flair also discussed not having a WrestleMania match with Hulk Hogan in WWE, his big 1992 Royal Rumble win, Bobby Heenan and more. You can read the full interview by clicking here.

This week The Two Man Power Trip of Wrestling welcomed former WWE Superstar and wrestling’s smartest man, “The Genius” Lanny Poffo. Poffo joins the show to discuss the Kickstarter campaign that will bring his autobiography to life: “The Genius Lanny Poffo – Wrestling’s Smartest Man”by Inverse Press. We also explore some of Leaping Lanny’s greatest moments in his career, his family’s renegade promotion ICW and his legendary run with Mr. Perfect Curt Hennig to include his upset victory over Hulk Hogan during the height of Hulkamania. The full episode can be downloaded at this link.

PLEASE CREDIT The Two Man Power Trip of Wrestling FOR THIS TRANSCRIPTION

Who inspired him to begin to write poetry:

When I started out as a boy and I don’t know if you believe in God or coincidences but you’ll never guess who he threw into my life, Shell Silverstein. “Where the Sidewalk Ends”, “The Light In The Attic”, “Falling Up” and also he wrote some songs for Johnny Cash including “A Boy Named Sue” and he wrote “The Unicorns Song”.

“I met him twice in my life and he inspired me to write poetry myself. Unfortunately he died in 1999 so I was unable to say to him and to thank him for inspiring and say here was a book that was just published “Limericks From The Heart and Lungs” and it would have made him very happy but unfortunately he passed away before the book became published but what a fantastic man and how lucky I am to have been influenced by him.”

What he did to standout to Vince McMahon:

“I was a guest on TNT and I knew that if I was boring that they would never invite me back. I wore a suit of armor and I did a poem about Hulk Hogan and Vince McMahon that it was great and why don’t I do a poem before each match. I was so excited because I finally had a gimmick and not only a gimmick it was legit that I actually write poetry and I love to do it.”

Throwing out frisbees to the crowd prior to his matches:

“With the frisbees I copied that from Al Costello. He was a tag team champion with Roy Hefferrnan in the Fabulous Kangaroos and they used to throw cardboard boomerangs out to the audience. They used to come to the ring with the carved boomerang from an aborigine but of course you can’t throw those out to the audience so they threw the cardboard ones out and two of the fans that used to go for those boomerangs were the Macho Man and I when we were just children. I thought what could I throw? I am not Australian and what can I throw that would get some traction. I rolled up some scrolls and threw those out but they didn’t make it into the first row. I put a poem on the frisbee and we typed the poem and put it on the frisbee and that is what caused all of the hullabaloo. They started selling them at the arena and after I’d win, lose or draw I’d sign them for the audience and we would sell out every night of frisbees. We sold hundreds of them and every once in a while I run into a fan that has an original signed autographed frisbee.”

Being teamed with Mr. Perfect as The Genius:

I’ll tell you what. I loved Mr. Perfect Curt Hennig and I am very sorry that he passed away and in a twenty-one year career. I’ll say that the four months that I spent with Curt Hennig and got to be a nemesis of or whatever I was (a piece of gum on the boot) of Hulk Hogan, those for four months were the greatest four months of my career. I got three main events in Madison Square Garden, we broke box office records in places like the Las Angeles Sports Arena and in the Myriad in Oklahoma City (I don’t think they call it that anymore). Mr. Perfect Curt Hennig was the consummate professional and I am very sorry he passed away too soon.

“It all ended at WrestleMania 6 and I got faded out. That is what happens and it is like one is in jail and the other is just visiting and I was just visiting. But it was fantastic and I drank from the silver challis of success for one shining moment and it was all worth it.”

Is wrestling missing the larger than life characters of his era:

“I don’t want to be one of those old timers that knocks the stars today. They are trying to make a living too and hopefully a fortune and they risk their lives every night. The only advantage that we had over them is we didn’t have writers and they do. Once you have writers than how are you going to have a personality like Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Rowdy Roddy Piper, Macho Man Randy Savage, Jake The Snake Roberts, Mr. Perfect Curt Hennig? We didn’t use writers we did it all ourselves and until they start firing the writers they are never going to have the personalities because it is going to sound like people reading. That is what they are doing, they are reading. They are memorizing lines and are reading and it is just cookie-cutter. They are great athletes and they deserve to make a living and a fortune it is just that they are handcuffed and are cookie-cutter.”

As noted, WWE has confirmed that former Women’s Champion Ivory will join Bill Goldberg and The Dudley Boyz in the WWE Hall of Fame this year in New Orleans. Ivory spoke with ESPN about the induction at this link. Below are highlights from the interview:

Going into the Hall:

“[This Hall of Fame recognition] means that it’s a full circle in your career, in your wrestling chapter. It’s great bragging rights for your family that have seen you go through the eras and I also feel like it’s an awesome tribute to the women in wrestling as a whole.”

“I liken it to almost getting married, it’s my wedding day, which I’ve never had one, so, this is probably as close to a wedding production as I’ll ever get. Hair and makeup, I will be speaking my vows — with regards to my wrestling career — to all these people I adore and love and we want it to all happen without a hitch.”

Her December 1999 Entertainment Weekly cover with Steve Austin:

“I don’t think either one of us at the time knew what an honor that was — to be having her take our photograph. That was a highlight for me — it’s small because it’s not taking bumps or a big pay per view event or a big championship, but that was one of those amazing sidebar things that I got to do.”

Vince McMahon’s approval:

“I always felt embraced by the family. I didn’t chat with Vince McMahon all the time, but he always gave me great opportunities. I always felt like I had his seal of approval like, ‘Yeah, give it to Ivory, she will do it right.'”

Vince McMahon’s pitch to Tim Tebow did not appear to get the former Heisman Trophy winner’s attention.

Despite McMahon mentioning Tebow by name during his introductory press conference for the XFL, the quarterback-turned-baseball player has not considered joining the upstart league that aims to begin by 2020.

“To be honest, I really haven’t given it any thought,” Tebow told Andrew Astleford of SEC Country on Wednesday. “I’ve got too many important things going on, and I’m getting ready for spring training in slightly over a week.”

“Honestly, it’s the beginning of 2018. And they’re talking about that in 2020. I’ve got a lot of life in front of me before that even happens. So I’m not even going to worry about it.”

Tebow was one of nine minor leaguers in the New York Mets system to be invited to train with the major-league players. He has not played football since a stint in the Philadelphia Eagles‘ training camp in 2015.