Great-ing Gimmicks of the Present: Who Attacked Vince (take two)?

Normally I wait a year before I’ll cover any events in this column. It’s a rule I’ve had ever since I started. This time, however, I’m making an exception.

Great-ing Gimmicks of the Present: Who Attacked Vince (Take Two)? – WWE, 2008

From 1979-1980, the nation was buzzing. JR Ewing, a character played by Larry Hagman on the evening soap opera Dallas, had been shot by an unknown assailant. The country was on edge to find out who the gunman (or gunwoman) had been. In fact, the episode where the attacker was revealed is still one of the highest rated television programs ever.

Repeating that formula has been a goal for several television programs. For example, a few years ago the Simpsons featured a cliffhanger where Mr. Burns was shot by an unidentified assailant.

The WWE has tried twice in the last two years to recreate this furor on their own, and both times have involved Vince McMahon. The first time saw his limo exploding and the second saw a sign dropped on him during a live Raw.

It should also be noted that this isn’t the only time we’ve seen a mystery attacker. Does anyone else remember when a mystery man ran over Steve Austin in a parking lot, prompting Mick Foley to begin investigating the case?

Last year we saw Vince suffer what appeared to be a mental breakdown. Week after week he withdrew until he finally left Raw to depart the arena in his limo. Of course, seconds after he got into the limo it exploded, presumably killing him.

The WWE splashed “news” about the “tragedy” all over the website, complete with quotes from the “FBI agent” investigating the case. This, of course, bothered the real FBI, because they were doing nothing about the fake murder and didn’t appreciate being dragged into the whole thing.

The final week of the angle saw Linda getting arrested because her DNA had been found in the burnt-out remains of the limo. The angle was pulled following the deaths of Chris Benoit and his family.

The angle had been criticized throughout, but the criticism was the harshest following Sherri Martel’s death. Fans didn’t appreciate seeing news of McMahon’s “death” on wwe.com posted above the very real notice of Sherri’s passing.

The angle was reported to have been planned out as follows: Ken Kennedy would have been revealed as having helped McMahon fake his own death. The angle was blown off in reality by having McMahon claim that he’d faked the whole thing to see how people would react if he had died.

Now, of course, we have had a sign land on McMahon and again we are seeing the McMahon family trying to cope with their situation. Again the culprit will likely be a letdown.

Who would have been the assailant last year? It was never revealed. But during the Who Ran Over Stone Cold angle, it was revealed to be Rikishi, who claimed he did it for the Rock. This, despite the fact that he and the Rock had never shown being friends on the show (although they are cousins). The crowd didn’t buy it and the angle was soon dropped.

Another famous example is the time that the Undertaker was preparing to reveal his “Higher Power.” Fan speculation ran wild – was it Ted DiBiase? Could they be bringing Jake Roberts back? Who could it be? Why, Vince, of course.

So, again we will have a Raw primary storyline focused around Vince, like a great deal of the time going all the way back a decade, when he was feuding with Steve Austin. The funny thing is that it’s being reported that at a recent agent meeting, it was suggested that Raw feature more matches and fewer silly skits. It’s a shame that this advice was ignored.

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