So the news has been released – the WWE writing crew is finally splitting apart to counter their on-air creations. I won’t let this article get into the fact that this should have happened on April 1st, the beginning of the new era of the split WWE. However, I intend to discuss why this might not be the solution that everyone thinks it could be.
Hey, I’ll be the first to agree – this is a great idea in theory. Let Gerwitz and his guys write RAW and let Heyman and his men write Smackdown (side note – shouldn’t Paul write the show that he is on…just so he can be there for disputes in the booking?). Sounds great…in theory.
So why banter about theory? Simple. Let us not forget who holds THE BOOK in the WWE. No, not Stephanie McMahon; not even Jim Ross; we’re talking about Vince McMahon here. It should come as no surprise to any informed fan that Vince is the end all be all when it comes to programming on the WWE. It should also come as no surprise that Vince feels he is totally and 100% justified in this action. Remember, he is the man that created the WWE as it is today, he is the man that brought the masses to wrestling, and he is the man who brought wrestling it’s 8.6 rated segment a few years back. But most of all, remember that Vince credits all of these accomplishments to himself.
Now wait, let me explain. I do not mean that he goes around saying, “That rating was because of ME! Wrestling becoming popular again was because of ME!” I believe that he is far from that on a public scale. However, I do believe (and I believe that time has shown over and over) that Vince loves giving people an opportunity to excel. It’s the aftermath of the “excel” that Vince credits himself with. When someone comes into the WWE because they got a Fed-Ex firing from Eric Bischoff, Vince gives them an opportunity on his shows. He even might give them a tried and true heel manager and even let this wrestler move into his own type of “bad-ass” character. Vince will book this man to win the King of the Ring and create an era of attitude with a simple saying, but rest assured, Vince would be the first one to cut the head off of any rattlesnake who went against his flow.
To make this argument shorter and simpler, Vince sees any meteoric rise to stardom as his creation and a result of his free giving of opportunity. So in the end, anyone who is employed by Vince McMahon will be given a chance to excel. There is no doubt about that in my mind. Yet, at the same time, Vince will always see any forthcoming success as a direct result of himself.
So the writing split. Is this the answer? The WWE might have a new “brain trust” in the works like it had a few years ago with the Russo/Ferrara/Stephanie group. But will this group be able to bring the excitement that fans want to see to the television? The WWE admitted in the latest Ross Report that they have a problem and that it needs to be fixed. This is part of the fix – splitting the writers. And why wouldn’t it be? Now the writers have one show, one group of talent, one focus. Truly, this is an ideal working environment for any good wrestling booker. You have the ability to bring a great build-up to any storyline before a pay per view as well as the ability to work out the intricacies of each angle (which the internet loves to rip apart).
But is this all that it’s cracked up to be? I have to believe that with Stephanie as the filter before Vince gets to read the script, there is going to be a disengagement of originality. For instance, take a look at history – Vince LOVES the big men. I won’t get into that here, but it’s a pretty much well known fact. When he has a problem, the big man gets the win. So what is to happen after a good three months of this split writing crew and a pay per view comes where Jericho is supposed to win the title in a fatal four-way between himself, Hulk Hogan, The Big Show, and Kurt Angle – and Jericho suddenly falls seriously ill and cannot compete. Now you have an Olympic worker and two slugs in the ring. Trust me, I know it – Vince WILL give the belt to either Hogan or Show, whether the bookers like it or not.
This is a really far-out example, but I think that my point has been stated. Vince is the end all be all in the WWE and if he doesn’t loosen his restrictions on his wrestlers and writers, then his company will only go down. More examples? What’s with this whole media ban? Ok, I understand the internet media ban when you consider that 95% of wrestling sites are run by kids who can’t even drive yet (hey, this one was a mere half decade ago). However, I cannot understand Vince’s decision to remove his wrestlers from their normal press tours that they go on which include the television and radio media. These people do no harm and generally wind up promoting his shows. But again, if Vince wants – he gets.
This is a complete side note, but let’s look at the stocks of the WWE. I have my theory about these stocks and their prices. First off, Vince needs to realize that many of the people who work with stocks and are involved in big money measures know the companies that they suggest and buy themselves. Look at the WWE. Last I checked, the McMahons owned 87% – oh wait, they just bought back that 3% from NBC – so they own 90% of the stocks in their company. Come on Vince! I realize that it is your business and your family’s life, but do you expect to make any money from this stock venture by having a firm grasp on 90% of the stock? The WWE has had very good press lately with sell-outs internationally, huge revenues from WrestleMania X8, and the return of Hulk Hogan…stocks should be through the roof! However, I don’t think that anyone wants to invest in a company where one man with a checkered past owns 90% of the total stock. Anyway, that’s my personal theory, but it again illustrates bad business as a result of Vince’s death grip on the WWE.
I could go on and on with examples to prove my point, but it’s futile. Vince will not give up his control for reasons already stated, he will not go with his bookers at a crucial moment – believing that he knows best – and he will not take a retirement to let the kids take over. He might, however, do something that he promised months ago – he might poison the WWE and lead to it’s demise.