Counterfeit Pennies 01.27.03: Has Vince McMahon Gone Over The Edge?

I’m not one to generally buy into the myriad of wrestling rumors that sweep across the Internet on a daily basis.

With that said, however, I must point to a recent news posting from 411’s own Widro that truly irks me, if for nothing else than the fact that it provides unfortunate insight as to how Vince McMahon is losing his seemingly innate ability to gauge the pulse of his audience and develop new superstars to keep the WWE product fresh in the eyes of its fans.

The posting, which can be found here, discusses Mr. McMahon’s decision to cut short A-Train’s recent “push” due to lack of fan reaction, as well as Vince’s opinion that Edge is to blame for not carrying the “in-ring portion of the feud.” The report also mentions how management reportedly feels that Edge may not have the stuff to become a top-tier main event superstar after all.

Let me just state for the record that I have been a big fan of Edge’s in-ring abilities, as well as the crowd reactions he has been able to generate as both a heel and a face throughout his career. His mic work is admittedly spotty at times, but Edge has also cut some memorable promos, such as bringing out the “You Suck” t-shirts during his big feud with Kurt Angle and telling X-Pac that “1998 called” during a cool little vignette sometime ago. Not to mention some great heel cuts he had with Christian during their big tagteam push as heels that set up some classic matches with The Dudleyz and Hardyz during the WWF’s “Raw is Tables, Ladders and Chairs” era.

The bottom line is that Edge has a complete enough package to make it to the main event in WWE, and I must call out Vince on his decision to put the blame on a guy who has more charisma in his left pinkie toe than A-Train has in his entire hairy frame for a “push” gone awry. If anyone is to blame for A-Train’s lack of crowd reaction, it would be the same man whose own creative team had kept Albert relegated to the status of “Velocity’s Number One Prisoner.”

Seriously, though, does anyone besides Vince really think that a guy like A-Train can bring up Smackdown! ratings and/or become a part of big-money feuds for WWE? Yeah, I can see the fans now in arenas everywhere shelling out $25 bucks for an A-Train “Shaving Is Overrated” t-shirt that shrinks to 50 percent its original size after one trip in the washing machine. Other potential blockbuster slogans I’m sure Vince has already envisioned are “I Don’t Give A Pluck”, “Bald On Top, Hair Downstairs” and “Third Is The One With the Hairy Chest Until Now!”

Sarcasm aside, it was also apparently McMahon’s decision to give A-Train a push in the first place, instead of giving the chance to another more charismatic superstar whose character has grown and developed as of late: Matt Hardy. The word is that Matt Hardy has a diligent work ethic and my own feeling is that Version 1.0 is a pretty nifty character who has shown to have the right mix of pomposity and bottled up anger that makes the whole Mattitude package all the more compelling.

Why Matt Hardy was usurped by A-Train in the Rey Mysterio injury angle is no mystery, as Vince has always favored size over substance. This is also the reason why the 2003 Royal Rumble match lost its luster towards the end, as we were left as fans having to watch Brock Lesnar and The Undertaker weed through other bigger guys we don’t necessarily care about in terms of whether they win or lose; and why, when Chris Jericho was eliminated, my heart kind of stopped racing fast as if the high-octane match I was reveling in became nothing more than a disjointed yet predictable train wreck, no pun intended.

Whatever the case may be, one bad habit that Vince has to stop now is pushing the wrong talent the wrong ways. If I were the McMahon family or any other member of WWE management, I would thank my lucky stars for Chris Benoit, Kurt Angle and yes, Hulkamania.

Notice how, nostalgia aside, two of the three top draws I just mentioned happen to be mid-sized workers who spark tremendous crowd responses night in and night out.

Substance over size, Vince Got it? Because in your own words, “This isn’t 1985” anymore.

Aside from his regular columns with 411Wrestling, Chris Biscuiti writes for MoodSpins Online.