Vince McMahon on Dirt Sheets “I’ve always disliked them”, Says Shane McMahon’s WWE Return Has been “Awesome”

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Vince McMahon did a rare interview with Brian Fritz of the Orlando Sentinel following the press conference announcing WrestleMania 33 in Orlando. Check out the highlights:

On Triple H’s growth as a guiding force in WWE: “It’s extraordinary watching that growth. Growth is painful sometimes. Some of us really enjoy pain so it’s easy for us to grow. Most people don’t. Most people say they want to grow but more people are naturally comfortable with where they are. Paul’s not that way. Paul is very aggressive. Not outwardly so. When you meet with him and talk with him, it’s like, ‘what a nice guy.’ But inside, he has that competitive spirit and he’s always reaching for that brass ring. He’s done so well. I’m so proud of him, not just the years he’s spent in the ring and I don’t know how many more years that’s going to last. This may be his last WrestleMania. I don’t know. He’s a little long in the tooth as I say to his face and we all laugh about that now because I’m 70 years old. Nonetheless, corporately the growth over the last two years has been exponential and Stephanie’s part has been even more of a meteoric rise. What she does in terms of representing the brand, no one can represent the brand in all aspects, in all facets of our business, and she fits everywhere. Talk about an ambassador, she’s obviously beyond an ambassador and her growth corporately has been great. I’m very proud of both of them.”

On if he feels like he’s 70 years old “No. I don’t know if I feel like I’m 40. Actually, some would say I’m still a teenager as far as certain aspects of my brain. It’s like I refuse to grow up. I don’t want to grow up. Now I’m old enough to say I’m not going to grow up. So what are you going to do about that?”

On returning as a performer on TV: A: “I much prefer to produce and direct, much prefer that. This storyline allowed me that opportunity and sort of pushed me that way. I don’t know how much you’re going to see of me because I’d rather be producing and directing. Again, there are only so many bumps and so forth that anybody can take. I’m willing to take them obviously. I always said to talent that I would never ask you to do anything that I wouldn’t do, which I’ve lived up to.”

On having Shane return: “It’s been awesome. I was hoping that one day we might get back together. It’s difficult. Fathers and sons sometimes, in the same business at a certain stage, it can be very difficult. You love each other just as much but you see things a little differently. You have the old bull and the young bull and the old bull is not ready to give it up, his horns are still sharp. It’s great that Shane is back. Whether or not there’s a corporate place, we’ll wait and see. From a performer standpoint, I so enjoy performing with him. And when the three of us are out there, Stephanie and Shane and me, and throw in Paul because that has happened in the past, oh my God! We could stay out there and entertain each other, much less the audience, for an hour. It would be easy. It’s just so much fun because we can ad-lib and entertain ourselves. I think if you are entertaining yourselves and you’re having fun, that projects and the audience is having fun with you.”

On the pressure of trying to make WrestleMania bigger each year: “I can say, unequivocally, that it’s a lot of pressure. Every year you have to outdo yourself. This year was difficult because John Cena was not a part of it. We have to reach way down and try and come up with things you haven’t done before and also hold back surprises that the audience does not know. They expect that from us.”

On keeping Shane’s return quiet: “No, we kept that one very quiet. We try to keep these things quiet. It’s difficult sometimes, like you said. It’s different for a talent to know what they’re going to be performing in is a surprise. It’s going to be great, I can’t wait. It’s so difficult for them to hold that just inside. They have to share that with their family and maybe their best friend or it’s one of those things where loose lips sink ships, like back in World War II. Not that I was around then. Actually, I was.”

On maintaining surprises in the internet age: “Nonetheless, it’s difficult to hold something like that but if you can, the audience loves it. It’s one of the reasons why I’ll always be anti-some members of the media, so-called dirt sheets or whatever it is. I’ve always disliked them. Not because of their voice and certainly not because of their opinion. No one respects the First Amendment more than me. Their opinions, negative or positive, they’re entitled to. I’ve always appreciated that because, quite frankly, some of the things I’ve learned from. I learn from everybody. It’s that they want to be a spoiler. No! No! Don’t spoil this. Don’t spoil it for the public. But I know that’s a part of their job too. It’s one of those things we try, with any form of the media now, we try no, no, no. Let me surprise you. As a matter of fact, with Shane and a number of instances we’ve had, like Brock Lesnar when he first came back, we keep people on a bus in the parking lot. We won’t let our techs, we won’t let the talent, we won’t let anybody know until it’s time for them to walk out there. Shane was in a bus and he was not allowed to come out of the bus until Stephanie’s music hit and Stephanie had walked down the ramp. Shane comes out of the bus with security and goes right up to what we call Gorilla position (an area just off stage) and the guys there go, “I can’t believe it.” And all of the guys backstage, the vast majority of them, they didn’t see Shane when he walked through. They were all shocked and surprised. That’s what I try to do: totally surprise our talent. They like to be surprised just like the audience. They like to be entertained so I like to entertain our talent as well. And the talent likes to be entertained or entertain themselves as we all do. It’s one great big entertainment wheel on all fronts.”

On the challenge of putting WrestleMania 32 together due to the rash of injuries: “No doubt. Hopefully by the time we come to the Citrus Bowl, all of those guys will be healthy and it will be a bigger WrestleMania.”

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