The WWE Effect: Vince McMahon's Art of Letting Go of a Talent When It's Time

Joe Burgett Senior Writer IIIDecember 16, 2010

When you think of past legends in the business such as Mick Foley, Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels, The Rock, Steve Austin, etc. you think about all the great things they've done in the wrestling business.

With Foley you remember his epic matches with Funk, Triple H and Undertaker. You remember Hogan slamming Andre the Giant. You remember when Ric Flair took on Bret Hart. When Shawn Michaels scaled down from the rafters. When The Rock became, well, The Rock. When Austin stunned his boss, Vince McMahon.

So many classic moments with these men and others alike just as legendary. But, we forget that while all the men aforementioned, as well as others, made a massive impact on the wrestling business and made it fun for all of us to watch, eventually their time in the squared circle had to come to an end.

It's sad that their wrestling careers had to end, but it just had to. Not only for themselves, but for the business. Because a business simply has to move on, and cannot rely on a guy who is a fraction of what he was in the past.

You want to remember his legend when it was great, not down the line when the man is trying to wrestle and is as slow as Christmas.

This is why a guy like Shawn Michaels may have more respect from fans than the likes of Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan.

Michaels experienced a back injury which basically sent him into sort of a mini-retirement. Turns out however, it was the best thing that could ever happen to him. It got him away from that scene for a while and he focused on family and life. He made piece with many of his past enemies, and turned his life around.

Even those who still aren't high on him at least respect him now for the man he has become compared to what he used to be.

Michaels wrestled for a while before he had to retire, but then came back in the early 2000s and wrestled full time for eight years before doing a part-time schedule. Then he finally called it a career. When he retired, he could still go with anyone in the ring, which made me love the retirement. He went out on top.

Never will you be able to say, hey, you should have seen what this guy was like back in the day. Because every match you see of Michaels is pretty darn good. Every WrestleMania match was a classic, even the one with John Cena.

When Ric Flair "retired" at Mania after HBK beat him, you saw a guy at the end of his career who didn't have much left. In fact, he had really slowed down compared to what he used to be. Even his mic work has gone down from what it used to be.

Flair needed to have retired earlier, but didn't. Eventually Vince McMahon had to tell him he was done with Flair's character on TV. He was OK with appearances, but the career itself was over. The WWE had to move on, and Flair wasn't going to be a part of the future.

Some people need to be told when enough is enough. HBK was one of the few to make the decision on his own. And I'm sure McMahon would allow Michaels to work with the WWE in many areas other than wrestling full time, even if Michaels could still go with anyone on the roster, which he still can.

But others just didn't get it; they HAD to go. Fans of those people were sad they left, but it had to be done. The more time the man spent in the business, the more his legend would be ruined. Not to mention how bad the company starts to look by crowding a roster with older guys who can't go in favor of guys who deserve a chance.

Sounds like TNA, huh? Yeah, I went there.

TNA has made a bad move in that they have taken just about anyone who was made by the WWE, and threw them into the main event picture. Guys like Ken Anderson, RVD and Jeff Hardy were main event material when they were in WWE. But when TNA got them, they pretty much threw all the others who they made on their own under the bus.

Guys like AJ Styles were moved completely out of the main event picture, even though he is STILL the only grand slam champion in the company.

They added Matt Morgan into the title hunt, but he's only there because they had to take a name out of the massively crowded Immortal faction and put him into the babyface role because of the lack of names TNA has in that spot.

Guys like Samoa Joe and Jay Lethal were there, but ended up being pushed out.

The WWE basically is going all young now and using established young stars while pushing younger stars to become big names. They still have the veterans like Kane and Undertaker, and Chris Jericho is coming back too.

But they haven't gone overboard to crowd everything with the older guys. Your business runs by putting the young guy in the spot to be the top guy, so that your future is set.

Putting your future in the hands of an older guy is a bad idea in the sense that a younger man, while he may lack the star power, could be big within a few years and be great. Along with that, he will also be around for a long time. The older guy would be gone in a few years. So you do the math.

And if that older man doesn't want to go and is forced out, you still had to keep him in the top spot where a younger guy could have already been working in.

This is why WWE beats TNA in so many ways. WWE worries about the future while still focusing on the present, TNA focuses only on the present and thinks the past will ALWAYS help with it.

Vince McMahon knows that even though he has to basically kick out guys, he is doing it for the business. If he thought the older guy was still good enough to hang with the young guys or help elevate younger guys, he'd keep them around. But if not, he won't.

Why do you think he doesn't care to work with Hogan much anymore?

Vinny Mac knows that he can bring in an older guy for a season, just to do something for the fans, but he won't keep them in for a long period of time. This is why people such as Rey Mysterio, Undertaker and even Edge will not be in the WWE wrestling-wise in the next 10 years.

Vince will tell them that it's over, and that time has caught up with them. "It's time," if you will.

And because Vince covered his tracks and worried about his future at the same time as the present, once those three men retire, someone will be there to fill in the spots left by them.

But what do you think? Is Vince too harsh in making guys say it's over, or is he doing the right thing?