WWE CEO Vince McMahon once again has written history, created retroactive continuity, expunged the past, and created a new reality: the World Wrestling Federation is no more; the WWE is officially now…just the “WWE”. This re-branding is similar to what Kentucky Fried Chicken did when they re-branded themselves KFC, or Apple Computers subtracting the “Computers” part, or IBM, but with Vince McMahon the motivates are much more personal and skewed.
Vince McMahon has been phasing out reference to the word “wrestling” for years now. Ever since he testified that pro wrestling was really a sports entertainment in the early 1990′s, the seed has been planted. When his company went public in October 1999 (ironically the time when I lost interest as a daily fan of the product) McMahon seemed hellbent on expanding the company outside of wrestling as the core product.
And that’s fine; it’s smart to diversify.
The issue is that Vince ironically is embarrassed to be associated with what he mockingly refers to ‘rasslin’. Vince is not an old school personality- he is a rebel and an innovator and constantly evolves his company, which is why it’s pretty much unrecognizable to casual fans today. Oh, only but for one little detail:
the ‘rasslin’ in the ring, which they want to see.
Vince McMahon could produce movies, license video games, create reality shows, sell toys, clothes, accessories, magazines, books, produce online multimedia shows, and even attempt to expand into other ventures as he did with the XFL and World Bodybulding Federation back in the day, but the bottom line is that the only reason fans tune into RAW, Smackdown, purchase PPVs, DVDs, and online matches is to see PRO WRESTLING.
He can hide from it all he wants.
Just be careful if you’re an employee; you will probably get fined, disciplined, or fired if you accidentally refer to yourself as a “wrestler”, “wrestling champion”, or if you hold a “wrestling belt”.
Since last decade, Vince has ordered his employees to refer to themselves as “WWE Superstars” and even worse, outside the ring on news talk shows, they must call themselves “performers”.
Again, this reality rewrite attempts to dissociate the WWE from steroids, concussions, scandals, blood, Congressional regulation, state athletic rules, and the fact that the “performers” are still being paid as independent contractors and have no company health insurance. Another minor side benefit is that Vince in effect would eventually control the search engine traffic by phasing out all of the other “wrestling” sites. Remember McMahon loves to control all aspects of reality- there is no such thing as pettiness or small details to him.
Defenders of Vince McMahon’s branding of the WWE say that it is being blown out of proportion and that the product is actually not changing. These people are probably young and starting watching wrestling during the Monday Night Wars in 1996, and have no sense of the old territory system or how dominate the NWA and AWA were in yesteryear, i.e. no sense of history or pride in pro wrestling or pro wrestlers.
For old school grumpy old fans such as myself, this is just the latest miscarriage of justice and fountain of misinformation from Vinnie Mac. By the way, only true fans know who I just quoted (without searching the phrases in Google or Yahoo).
Anyway, with Vince McMahon officially taking the “wrestling” out of the WWE, does that mean TNA is now the #1 wrestling company in the United States?
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