If given the task, it would be quite difficult to describe Vince McMahon in one sentence, let alone one word.
McMahon's undeniable success in the field of
professional wrestling sports entertainment has earned him the "genius" tag in many circles. One cannot deny Vince McMahon's business sense when it comes to pro wrestling.
But to say that Vince has historically struggled when it comes to outside business ventures would be an understatement.
In many cases, he has downright flopped. There's no other way to put it.
Vince McMahon's history with projects outside the WWE has not been pretty. Actually, some of his biggest flops have even materialized (or deteriorated) while operating (or floundering) directly underneath the WWE umbrella.
There is very little doubt that Vince McMahon will eventually go out a winner. His legacy will be ripe with accolades of his larger than life accomplishments.
But nobody's perfect. And one cannot write the book on Vince McMahon without mentioning his multiple professional mishaps.
Without further ado, the five biggest flops of Vincent Kennedy McMahon's career.
Here's a trivia question that will make you the hit (or nerd) of any wrestling party:
What was the name of Vince McMahon's short-lived minor league hockey team?
The answer is the fifth biggest flop of Vince McMahon's career, of course!
The Cape Cod Buccaneers were one of the first business ventures taken up by Vince McMahon outside of professional wrestling.
As part of the Atlantic Coast Hockey League (ACHL), which would eventually fold, the Cape Cod Buccaneers struggled to a 17-21-1 record before McMahon promptly pulled the plug on the franchise.
McMahon's brilliance in his natural role as the head honcho may have contributed to his downfall as an owner in a league with a handful of big kids playing in the same sandbox. The other owners in the ACHL possessed just as much, if not more, power than McMahon.
Tensions began to rise early in McMahon's stint as owner of the Cape Cod Buccaneers. It became evident that Vince McMahon was not particularly happy with certain owners being able to head up more than one franchise.
Things turned sour once Vince McMahon was unable to secure a $15,000 loan to help with his franchise's struggling cash flow.
In true Vince McMahon fashion, McMahon shut down operations of the Cape Cod Buccaneers before the 1982 season came to a close. The sudden move forced the ACHL to institute an emergency playoff system involving its remaining four teams.
Keeping Vince McMahon's shortcomings in the hockey arena in mind could shed some light on the poor booking of The Goon character, who would later debut in the WWE.
That, or the fact that that was just a silly gimmick to begin with.
To say the absolute least, Extreme Championship Wrestling had an influence on the Attitude Era, which became WWE's most successful period to date.
Vince McMahon does not play well with others, and he damn sure does not play well with others' brand names and what they stand for.
To his credit, Vince McMahon had always taken a keen interest in ECW. In fact, he even allowed an (pre-2001) invasion angle, that featured top ECW stars, to be played out on (then) WWF TV.
This was a far stretch from today's Vince McMahon, who won't even mention the name of any organization competing with his WWE in the professional wrestling business.
The original ECW would eventually fold due to financial troubles, coupled with the pesky Eric Bischoff using Ted Turner's money to hijack ECW's main stars.
However, the spirit of ECW never seemed to die.
Years later, well into an era dominated solely by the WWE, "ECW" chants could be heard throughout WWE arenas following the most hardcore of spots.
Vince listened to the fans as his keen interest in ECW would be revitalized with help from ECW original Rob Van Dam.
It started with back to back pay-per-views, ECW One Night Stand. Each of the first two ECW-themed PPVs featuring ECW originals could have easily been considered the PPV of the year in 2005 and 2006.
From match quality, to crowd reaction, to staying true to the original concept of ECW (these pay per views were held in the Hammerstein Ballroom), everything about the One Night Stand concept just worked.
Perhaps too well.
When Vince got his hands on the white hot ECW formula, there was no turning back.
Until the ratings tanked. Then Vince ran for his life.
Inspired by the success of ECW-themed PPV, Vince McMahon launched his own rendition of ECW.
With the backing of a cable deal with the SciFi (now Syfy) network, he tried his best to keep the product true to the original.
Wrestlers came in through the crowd. The announcers desk was simply a table made of wood with a single monitor. There was an ECW logo smack dab in the middle of the ring. WWE gimmicks were routinely mocked.
But over time, Vince just couldn't help himself.
As the fledgling WWE ECW brand soldiered on, the ECW Originals were eventually phased out one by one. The edgy, makeshift entrance that helped capture the essence of ECW was soon replaced with the standard WWE stage entrance.
The upgrade of the announcer's table to a more WWE-friendly production was a sign of things to come. And Joey Styles, the original voice of ECW, was eventually relieved of his duties. Styles' departure was followed by the removal of color commentator and fellow ECW original Taz from the ECW broadcast.
It didn't take long before WWE ECW was nothing more than WWE Tuesday Night Titans circa 2009.
It also didn't help that the WWE had taken up an initiative to be PG-TV in order to draw the coveted, and sponsor-friendly, family demographic to their promotion.
To call the rehashed product Extreme was more than just inaccurate. Such a label would be considered a bad joke.
Due to sinking ratings and broken promises, WWE ECW soon folded.
The now-victimized legacy of Extreme Championship Wrestling would soon be replaced with what could easily be considered Vince McMahon's latest flop.
WWE NXT was designed to create new stars for the next generation of sports entertainment.
So why is up-and-coming star Daniel "Screw you and anything you've done that we haven't made money off of" Bryan laid out while established WWE superstar The Great Khali celebrates his misery?
Your guess is as good as mine.
The WWE's answer to sinking ratings on SyFy was to showcase talent that no mainstream wrestling fan has even heard of. Many were skeptical.
WWE NXT affirmed said skepticism.
WWE NXT does not need to stand the test of time, nor does the first season need to mercifully come to an end before this program can be considered a flop.
From the beginning of the season, WWE NXT just seemed like a shotgunned attempt to pop a rating as the WWE panicked and used the "let's just make it up as we go along, people will watch" theory.
The inaugural show had impressive ratings, and it should have. There was curiosity. Curiosity sparks ratings. People wanted to tune in to see what this show was all about.
What were the rules? Who were the rookies involved? How will this competition work? How will this be different from anything else the WWE offers?
All questions about WWE NXT would fail to be answered in a timely fashion. This would translate to viewers tuning out from the sloppily-booked program in droves and never coming back.
Nothing was explained. The only thing that made this show different from the previously failed WWE ECW was the letter F. This was nothing more than WWE FCW: The "Superstars" of WWE Developmental.
And that was a passable suggestion to draw ratings?
If the no-name replacements on ABC's Scrubs ran that show into the ground from a ratings standpoint, what makes you think no-name wrestlers on WWE TV will do any better?
Live arenas sat on their hands as (mostly) green wrestlers they didn't care about battled each other. The only fans who weren't sitting on their hands had already left to take their hour-long bathroom break before the SmackDown! tapings fired up. Then they could see real superstars.
The most talented rookie of the bunch was far and away Bryan Danielson. But he wasn't picked to be on WWE NXT.
In his place would be the upstart Daniel Bryan. Daniel Bryan was the same person as Bryan Danielson, minus everything that made him arguably one of the world's more successful wrestlers.
The WWE attempted to book Daniel Bryan as a lovable loser. What they didn't realize was that in order to be a lovable loser, you have to first appear that you have a chance at winning despite a losing effort.
Landing two to three impressive offensive maneuvers before taking your opponent's finisher in less than two minutes does not make you lovable.
It just makes you a loser.
And that's what Daniel Bryan was to 90 percent of the WWE Universe. A universe that had never heard of his incomparable accolades on the independent circuit.
To make matters worse, the WWE featured the rookies in ridiculous challenge segments that actually made it onto the air.
"Dude, switch over to Syfy! NOW! There is this guy who I've never heard of drinking a coke! You've gotta see this, it is must see TV!"
The WWE tried sustaining ratings by utilizing established WWE Superstars, or pros, and pairing each pro with a rookie. NXT host Matt Striker would even go on to announce the inclusion of a Pro's Poll which would determine which rookies would be eliminated from the program.
It didn't help. In what would become the overall theme of WWE NXT, the reasoning and logic behind the Pro's Poll was poorly explained and is now virtually rendered irrelevant.
Ratings would soon regress back to pre-apocalyptic WWE ECW numbers.
"Dude! He's STILL drinking that coke! You've gotta switch over to Syfy! He's just...drinking it! It's freaking amazing!"
Perhaps WWE could take cues from American Idol (which airs on the same night as WWE NXT) when it comes to building stars.
Perhaps this program needs to be more reality based, following the proven Ultimate Fighter model.
Placing more emphasis on the characters and their day-to-day lives followed by one wrestling match between the rookies at the end would create the all-important emotional connection with the fans.
Through 13 weeks, WWE NXT has accomplished nothing. In fact, it may prove to be far more detrimental to the careers of these next generation rookies than helpful as first imagined.
The goal of this show was to kill two birds with one stone: Draw ratings, create stars.
So far, there is one potential star in Wade Barrett, and a bunch of green grown men wearing underwear for some reason. Nobody cares. Nobody watches. Nobody wins.
Thank God for TNA. The insufferable garb they air on a week-to-week basis reminds consumers of what a real incompetent wrestling show is supposed to look like. This makes WWE NXT bearable (but nevertheless a flop) by comparison.
The World Bodybuilding Federation served as a perfect example of how Vince McMahon's pro wrestling business savvy struggles to translate into other arenas.
The WBF was booked like the WWE, except the showdown consisted of oiled up dudes in their underwear waging war.
In pose downs. They never actually made contact with one another.
Pretty anti-climactic when you think of all that goes into character development, building interesting feuds, and the eventual payoff in which pro wrestling fans receive.
The WBF was constructed to compete with the prestigious IFBB (International Federation of Bodybuilders) promotion.
However, comparing the over-the-top nature of the WBF to the established and respected IFBB promotion just made the World Bodybuilding Federation look silly.
In a very fitting microcosm, the WBF was used as a vehicle to introduce Lex Luger to the WWE (then known as the WWF). Luger was eventually pegged as the guy who would replace the immortal Hulk Hogan as the WWF's top babyface.
He flopped too.
To make matters worse, the launching of the WBF came around the same time that Vince McMahon was being investigated for steroid distribution. As a result, a major WBF competition would have to be contested drug-free.
Imagine if you found out that the next Die Hard movie would be shot without the use of a single gun. That sentence doesn't even make sense if you think about it.
And click goes the remote.
Needless to say, the WBF folded in 1992 after two painful years of existence.
You knew it was coming, and now it's here.
The XFL was undoubtedly the single biggest flop, not only of Vince McMahon's career, but in the history of sports.
Riding an intense emotional high after he put longtime rival WCW out of business, Vince McMahon decided to set his sights on the NFL.
Have you ever taken a bite out of a Charleston Chew candy bar and realized that it is just taking too long for you to chew, swallow, and digest? That maybe next time you should take smaller bites?
McMahon put that whole sucker in his mouth and bit down hard. He called it the XFL.
After just one season, The XFL went bye-bye. The XFL's legacy (yes, it did have something of a legacy) temporarily flickered years later when Rod Smart of the Carolina Panthers started on special teams in Superbowl XXXVIII.
Rod Smart was better known to many by his XFL moniker (yes, they had monikers in the XFL) of "He Hate Me." But in 2001, the viewing public responded to the XFL product with similarly harsh words.
"I hate it."
The XFL was nothing more than a bunch of amateurs in football costumes. Just imagine if you played a pickup game of football with inmates outside of your local county jail.
Sure, it sounds like a wild time on paper, but just how long are you willing to stick around before you realize what you've gotten yourself into.
The NFL was experiencing a significant boom period that has continued to this day. Nobody wanted an alternative. There was no place for another good football league let alone a pet project from the often-vilified world of pro wrestling.
After so much mediocre football was played in front of empty stadiums and broadcast to abandoned living rooms, Vince McMahon had no choice but to pull the plug on the XFL.
Despite its infamy, the demise of the XFL could have been seen as a good thing.
Perhaps Vince McMahon, an alpha male notorious for his massive ego, needed to come down to earth after conquering the wrestling world.
Perhaps it was a good thing that the abject failure of the XFL, which occurred during the same time period as a failed "Post-WCW Invasion" angle, was a blessing in disguise.
The failure, like any, forced Vince McMahon to come back to earth. If nothing else, Vince McMahon told himself that he needed to scale back a bit.
As is the story with Vince McMahon's previous failures, the Chairman of the Board was able to regroup and rebound rather gracefully.
McMahon and his staff continue to run the most successful wrestling promotion in the world, and they have done an admirable job of expanding the WWE's brand through tough economic times and a constantly changing culture.
As part of the WWE's continued initiative to evolve, McMahon has branched out into film. The WWE Films division is expected to release several movies over the next year.
Vince McMahon also plans on launching a WWE cable channel.
The jury is still out on how McMahon's future projects will pan out, but if history is any indication of what will occur in the future...
Prepare for an updated version of this list in 2012.