Vince McMahon was back on Raw on a ratings rescue mission. In an appearance billed as McMahon orating a State of the WWE Address, things broke down early after McMahon was booked to take a slap from CM Punk.
Then, the 67-year-old chairman booked himself in a match.
Despite adamantly telling stockholders that his in-ring career was all but done, and despite a younger, 62-year-old Jerry Lawler suffering a heart attack shortly after competing in what can now be deemed as an ill-advised wrestling match, there stood Vince McMahon as he brazenly refused to play by the rules of anybody but himself.
In fact, one may argue that it was because of Jerry Lawler's recent heart attack that Vince McMahon decided to dust off the old sleeveless sweatshirt and book himself in a wrestling match.
Trends have suggested that when Vince McMahon is brought in for a one-off, save-the-ratings appearance—his presence alone is enough to generate a serviceable spike in viewership.
But after the WWE received hindsight criticism for allowing Jerry Lawler, senior citizen, to wrestle, Vince McMahon—dressed in all black with his guns looking as glorious as ever—was defiantly telling the world that nobody can tell Vince McMahon how to run a wrestling company but Vince McMahon.
McMahon was hardly protected in his match against CM Punk. It became evident from the moment the WWE monarch was jumped from behind prior to the opening bell that he was going to put himself in harm's way only to tap-dance on opinions of the common-sense critics who feel that McMahon is going against his better judgment by opting to wrestle.
Just look at him fly across that table like a grizzled Clark Kent. Is he...is he bleeding?
Such machismo. Such a revolutionary.
Such an idiot.
Vince McMahon's latest attempt to prove himself to those who already respect him was the lost subplot on a show that has gained notoriety because the WWE Champion went all Ron Artest on a fan.
But the subplots only grow more sickening, as it is becoming disturbingly apparent that the WWE is looking to squeeze every dime of profit out of Jerry Lawler's near-death experience just one month ago.
Pro wrestling is so conducive to shooting storylines in bad taste that, since 1981, sanctimonious wrestling journalist Dave Meltzer has recognized the most disgusting promotional tactic as part of his saturated Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards.
With the WWE making for-profit T-shirts, plugging social media and shooting storylines all for the sake of monetizing a heart attack—not to mention the fact that somebody was taking pictures of an almost-dead Jerry Lawler as he was being frantically attended to by medics—it's safe to say that the race for the most disgusting promotional tactic is over.
McMahon's latest brawling spectacle is further indication that we may not have seen the last of Jerry Lawler—or any aging professional wrestler—competing on a limited basis despite the apparent dangers.
Lucky for Vince McMahon, pro wrestling is congressional Teflon, so the WWE is more than equipped to make such reckless decisions, since any ensuing backlash will be eventually drowned out by the realization that wrestling is fake.
And, honestly, who has ever died from a fake sport?