Wow. When an angry, vindictive, egomaniacal, immature, power-hungry, rich guy has a public forum and his target victim doesn’t, he can really do a number on his opponent. WWE’s recent DVD release The Self Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior was a perfect example of the depravity of one Vincent Kennedy McMahon.
TODAY’S ISSUE: The Self Destruction of Class, Good Taste, and Business Etiquette
WWE must have decided that the legacy of a former world heavyweight champion was due for some humiliation and degradation. I shudder to think of the thought process that went through Vince’s head the day he decided to make the Warrior DVD set a crucifixion. “I gave this guy my heavyweight title and put him over my biggest start at the biggest event of the year back in 1990. For that, he must be PUNISHED!”
Certainly Jim Helwig, who legally changed his name to “The Warrior”, is not right in the head. He didn’t seem to love or respect the business, and he wasn’t a company man, so to speak. But after he parted ways with Vince and his empire for the 24th time, their relationship should have simply been over.
McMahon, however, has never been content to let a sleeping dog lie. He wanted to dig up the corpse of the Ultimate Warrior character once again. Whether he did this for the cheap money-shot, or to fire the final barrage in his war with Warrior, or both, I don’t know. What I do know is that the DVD paints an ugly picture of Helwig as a businessman, wrestler and athlete, and cremates his body of work in the then-WWF.
In the DVD, several key players speak “candidly” about Warrior’s lack of professionalism, skill, and heart. You know, he was only in it for the money. I certainly know that’s why I go to work every day! They mocked his otherworldly interviews, as if he went into business for himself every time he spoke on camera. I find it difficult to believe that Vince didn’t steer Helwig’s development of the Ultimate Warrior character. If not, I’ll bet Vince was happy when Helwig started cutting his Promos from Outer Space.
Let’s be honest, while Helwig was never a good worker, the Warrior was a very unique character, and he was certainly the WWF’s big cheese for a while. How many WrestleMania main events do you remember Hulk Hogan losing? After the Ultimate Warrior, there’s only one other man who ever pinned Hogan at WrestleMania, and he’s one of the most recognizable names the wrestling world has ever produced, the Rock.
The heel Hollywood Hogan turned face during his match against the Rock, and although he lost the match, his face turn led to yet another world title run for the Red and Yellow Express. In a certain sense, you might conclude that the only time Hogan’s every truly been defeated at WrestleMania was by the Ultimate Warrior.
Was this treatment of the man and the character necessary? What has Warrior done lately to hurt WWE? Vince had nothing to fear from Warrior, since he’s not a threat to lead a new company to prosperity. There was no new buzz surrounding the former WWF champion, therefore no legitimate business reason (however underhanded it would have been anyway) to destroy the legend of a character Vince created years ago.
Plus, Warrior has been doing a fine job of burying himself over the last few years, with his psychotic rants online and his outlandish political speeches in public. There was no need for Vince to throw more dirt on the grave of Helwig’s sanity.
Not only does Vince enjoy airing dirty laundry in public, he rewrites history to suit his own needs at every opportunity. When WCW was destroying WWF in the ratings thanks to the nWo, lead by Hollywood Hulk Hogan, Vince downplayed Hogan’s significance in WWF history. Now that they’ve kissed and made up, you can’t go a month without seeing Hogan’s stupid geriatric posing routine on WWE television!
After Vince screwed Bret “the Hitman” Hart (in more ways than one), he pissed on Hart’s legacy in public, and completely changed his own character as a result. However it was Vince himself who affectively ended their 14-year business relationship, during which Bret was a model employee and the epitome of professionalism. Now the two sides seem to be getting along swimmingly. I’m certain Vince drools over the money he stands to make from the impending 3-disc DVD set featuring Bret’s career. Bret will no doubt be back on WWE television to promote sales, and you can bet he’ll be portrayed as a true legend this time around, a status he so richly deserves.
While planning RAW’s big return to the USA Network, Vince was happy to contact several legends with whom he hasn’t spoken in years. Why? Because he thought they might help produce mammoth ratings for that particular show. Vince thought he could squeeze a little more juice out of these men.
Who could forget Vince and Jim Ross (whom I’m certain was against the idea) ripping Stone Cold Steve Austin on television after a falling out? They also had the Rock tear into Stone Cold live on RAW. Was Austin right to just “take his ball and go home”? Of course not. It was unprofessional behavior, and he should have come to work and discussed his problems with his superiors in the company. However, Austin is the biggest draw Vince has ever had, and he led the WWF to its greatest period of prosperity. If Vince couldn’t have given Austin some latitude, he should have said nothing. What was the point of humiliating the most valuable employee Vince ever had? It was certainly no incentive to make Austin come back and work out his differences with the WWF.
Now that Austin’s back, he’s knee-deep in an angle with the biggest stars of WWE, the Clan McMahon. At WWE Homecoming, he was on camera for so long stunning all four McMahons that his segment actually screwed up the timing of the show. At Taboo Tuesday, he’s wrestling the Coach with JR’s job on the line. Welcome back to the big time, Steve. Apparently all is forgiven if you can make Vince a little more money.
Is it any wonder that a man like Vince could humiliate a dedicated employee, and legend in the business like Jim Ross? Time and again, Vince has seen fit to embarrass and ridicule Ross, especially in his home state of Oklahoma. Why? Can anyone remember the blockbuster angles in which demeaning JR was a key plot point? Kane set him on fire, HHH broke his arm, Vince forced JR to literally kiss his ass. I don’t mind storyline advancement, but these events were simply about Vince flexing his virtual muscles at JR, reminding JR that Vince is the boss.
Vince McMahon has the capability to impact our beloved industry more than anyone else in America, and he owns the largest and most impressive library in the world, but he doesn’t show the business the respect it deserves. Sadly, he acts like a spoiled brat and every time he does, he chips away at the heart of professional wrestling. Hopefully he’ll stop before there’s nothing left for hardcore fans to love.
We now return you to your regularly scheduled reality.
p.s. – Is precaution something you do before you’re careful?