Cheap Heat 12.26.00: The Prodigal Father Returns


So, Vince McMahon is back. More specifically, Mr McMahon is back on television. After squaring away the XFL, the evil genius has come home. And all over the Internet, people are groaning about more of the status quo. Vince has returned, he's hogging all the airtime, he's inserting himself into the top angle, he's just making a general nuisance of himself. No one wants to see Vince anymore, he's boring and takes the spotlight from the people who we pay to see, the talent.

Come on, people.

Vince McMahon, on WWF television, is a heat machine. Ever since the evil Mr McMahon debuted after the '97 Survivor Series, he's been nothing short of a nuclear reactor when it comes to generating heat. Let's take a look at some of the things "evil Mr McMahon" is responsible for.

Well, there is that little Austin/McMahon feud that catapulted Steve Austin into absolute superstardom. After Montreal, Mr McMahon went on to be a thorn in the side of Degeneration X. Shawn Michaels didn't need any help to be loved by the fans, but he sure helped Mr McMahon be hated. Then, Austin became champion, and the evil Mr McMahon did NOTHING but put Austin over for the next year. The man wet his pants on national television for the sake of putting Austin over. Somewhere along the line, Roddy Piper was quoted as saying about Hulk Hogan: "They only loved you so much because they hated me."

It fits here, too.

The Rock. In a move that was generally hated in the 'net community, he aligned with Vince McMahon, turning himself heel in the process. Practically everyone claimed this was the wrong move to make, that the Rock was getting over just fine on his own. So, the Rock was, on paper, a heel for a good portion of time. Just enough, in fact, to job for Austin at Wrestlemania. Then, Corporate Rock turned on the Corporation, and became, arguably, the biggest star in WWF history. How? By his charisma and a well timed alliance, and subsequent turning, with Vince McMahon.

Vince discovered the error of his ways, and Mr McMahon became a face again. Trying to mend fences with Austin, and by having his own daughter turn on him. Triple H, the ultimate heel, started trying to rip at a man trying to keep his family together. The people rallied behind him, and Triple H became the best heel since Ric Flair. And what spearheaded it all? A feud with Vince McMahon.

In the last three years, three WWF superstars have become large enough to get name recognition outside the industry. The three men share one common trait, a feud with Vince McMahon. The McMahons do nothing if not put their talent over. Everything they do on television is revolved around getting the talent over.

Sure, I'll admit, he's hogged a lot of the limelight lately. Vince has the uncanny ability to make the fans either rally behind him or give him the "asshole" chant at the drop of a hat. He had to solidify himself back into a solid heel position after being off television. When Vince arrives, the fans don't know what to do. The kneejerk reaction is to cheer him, as the fans in the arena are excited on seeing a return. This can also be called "The Billy Gunn Phenomenon."

Vince appears on WWF television, in the absence of the federation's top heels, and inserts himself into a main event storyline. Over the next two weeks, Vince solidifies himself as an "asshole." He aligns with Kurt Angle. A champion who, most say, lacks drawing power and has killed the heat surrounding the WWF championship. Suddenly, Kurt aligns with McMahon, and he's a superheel champion. So, while Vince hogged television time for two weeks to re-solidify the evil Mr McMahon character, it was done to drive ex-commissioner Mick Foley further into babyface status, and to make Kurt that much more evil. Also, arguably, it was to set up a match at Wrestlemania where Vince will, as usual, get his.

"The industry's in decline." "The WWF is over." "The WWF is stale." We've heard it everywhere. I said it myself last week. So, the WWF goes back to what has worked for them for the last three years. Vince, on screen, making a relative jackass of himself. Everyone has said the WWF needs something to freshen it up, and maybe McMahon is more of the same-old, same-old, but they are trying to do something. The Internet doesn't like it.

The same Internet that said Triple H wasn't ready to carry a company.

The same Internet that said turning the Rock heel was a bad idea.

The same Internet that said Chris Benoit could never make a splash in the WWF.

Yeah, maybe Vince on-screen again is a bad idea.

Then again, maybe it's not.