"Wrestlemania: A True Story," Does Tell a Story—Is the IWC Ready to Listen?
Before I begin my article, I would like to draw to my readers' attention that I, the writer, decided to pen down a kind review of the recently released Wrestlemania documentary. However, the recent reports by the Dirt Sheet and by many writers who, in my opinion, have not considered both sides of the argument, forced me into calling out the IWC for its one-sided claims.
I would also like to say that, NO disrespect is intended to any one who I am going to openly disagree with in my article or with anyone who does not agree with me. The calling out is by no means a sign of disrespect, it is just my stance on how the IWC has failed to ignore many instances, which need not be ignored.
With that said, let the party begin.
The first thing that I would like to focus on is Hulk Hogan and how he carried the event during its early years, even though I know the IWC is not a huge fan of his and the majority does not respect him.
We all know that Hulk Hogan is also considered to be one of the most selfish people who refused to put many people over and refused to lose to certain people, even after his boss ordered him to do so. Hulk Hogan is also considered guilty for having converted TNA into a below-par show along with Eric Bishoff.
While I am not someone who has a good amount of history related to such issues, I can agree with the stance and all the arguments against Hogan. However, one thing that is badly forgotten is the fact that Hulk Hogan is the person who put wrestling on that map. Hulk Hogan is one person who made Vince McMahon’s dreams possible.
If it were not for Hulk Hogan and his ability to attract a major audience, the IWC wouldn't have been available in the first place. Wrestlemania was the event that provided a true blend of Sports-Entertainment and Hogan was the epitome of all things concerning them, in its earlier days.
The historic moment where Hogan body-slammed Andre The Giant is still regarded as one of the most insane moments in the WWE, bearing testimony to the fact that Hogan took Mania to another level.
McMahon, in the documentary, clearly said that back in the day there were about a hundred wrestling companies in North America trying to make a mark, and Vince always wanted to capture the whole market.
Hulk Hogan was the person chosen to run for the cause and he ran with the opportunity provided to him—selling out arenas, putting people on seats, helping WWE cross many boundaries.
So, the bottom line is: the WWE needed Hulk Hogan, no matter how many things Hogan has done since his start that might lead to people pointing fingers at him. We can all argue that Vince could have allowed someone else to run with Hulkamania but, the truth is, he didn't and the person who was given the responsibility did what he had to do
So, if Hogan did a lot of things not to be proud of, he pretty much neutralized it—or rather, went further by putting WWE on the World Map.
The second thing I would like to talk about, is the involvement of celebrities in Wrestlemania.
This is one place where I myself was not a fan of the decision, however I did not call out the WWE for it. Now, I definitely agree that adding celebrities to the event does not do much to support the cause of wrestling, but it does do a lot in providing publicity to the event.
Consider this as a situation: you are the owner of a multi-million dollar company. You have 50,000 tickets you want to sell; not only at a high price but you want the fans to compete to buy the ticket. How do you go about it?
Do you involve highly respected Indy stars to come and wrestle for you for one night only or do you involve celebrities with huge popularity?
To make it simpler, do you, as a special event coordinator, add a match between Daniel Bryan and Desmond Wolfe to the card or do you invite someone like Snooki to the event? As crazy as it sounds, if you are a businessman and you want greater turn out along with huge amount of profits, you obviously invite Snooki to the event, because a celebrity brings millions of fans along with him/her.
And, the truth is, the celebrities are not a new thing; the WWE has been using them for a long, long time now. We had Mike Tyson guest-referee a high profile match between Stone Cold and Shawn Michaels in 1998, and we had the then-controversial yet popular football player Lawrence Taylor wrestle Bam Bam Bigelow at Wrestlemania-XI as well.
One thing we need to keep in mind, is that for a company to survive they need to be both making profits and growing as well. These celebrities bring just that. One more thing the DVD explains is that celebrities have been involved from the word go, and it's not something new—it is just the IWC and their unmet demands and disagreements with the WWE’s decisions.
Moving further, another thing I would like to talk about is, "STONE COLD, STONE COLD, STONE COLD."
Pardon me for being overenthusiastic, but one major thing the DVD highlighted was the importance of Stone Cold, OVER The Rock.
Before I elaborate, allow me to explain my stance on The Rock.
I consider The Rock a legend amongst others.
The Rock is the BEST promo giver of all time—he is above par in the ring, and is part of some of the most entertaining angles of all time. However, he is NOT, by any means, more important to the WWE as compared to Stone Cold.
Yes, the DVD highlighted Stone Cold as the person who took over for Hulk Hogan when he left the company and SAVED the company when it began facing and losing to its arch nemesis, i.e. WCW.
People like Vince Mac, Chris Jericho and Edge weighed in on this subject saying that Stone Cold is one of the most important entities ever. By that, I don’t meant to say that The Rock isn’t. The Rock sure is, was and will be a valuable entity, but I guess Stone Cold is one man who the IWC seems to forget when we talk about being the face of the then WWF.
Toughest Question Ever: Stone Cold Or The Rock
While in the present day world The Rock is way more popular than Stone Cold, it is not because of his status as a wrestler alone. The Rock is a main stream Hollywood actor as well. And while I love the WWE more than anything, I have to admit that Hollywood is more over with the fans as compared to wrestling in general.
Stone Cold has done movies too, but he is not currently, nor never was, a main stream Hollywood actor.
The fact still remains that Stone Cold was the second face of the company after Hulk Hogan left and Shawn Michaels had not been able to win WWE, the war with WCW.
The mere fact that a good portion of the DVD was dedicated to Austin and his exploits, sums up my view on the situation really well.
Before moving over to the last portion of my article, I would like to talk about two things the IWC is not in favor off—even though they're actually good from the WWE’s stand point and I wholeheartedly agree with them.
First up is (very common from me) the importance of John Cena! I know, I know, we have all done this—engaged ourselves into many debates, brought back arguments, etc.
But this Wrestlemania DVD has also highlighted John Cena’s importance to the WWE. And a good part of the time has been dedicated on talking about Cena and his association with Wrestlemania.
WWE Superstar Edge added an insightful comment on the John Cena character as well. He said if he were a kid right now, John Cena would be his guy. We all know that Edge has been a huge Hulk Hogan fan, which pretty much sums it all up—you need to have someone to attract the majority.
The IWC is the MINORITY, and if I were Vince and if I were to grow my business, I will obviously get someone in who pleases the majority.
So the recent reports claiming that he is bad for the business are one-sided and I disagree with them. He is stale, no doubt, but killing the WWE? No way.
Moving further, another thing I will cut WWE some slack for is, as Chris Jericho said, “Sandwiching 4-5 people in multiple tag-team matches.”
Sounds crazy right? Well, before seeing the documentary, I did not see the point in matches like these. However, what Chris Jericho said has indeed put things into perspective.
Chris Jericho said, “We often see these matches, where many superstars are sandwiched into these multiple tag team matches. The reason is, ALL of the WWE employees deserve a Wrestlemania moment and ALL of these guys, whether main eventing or not, are on the road for more than a good proportion of the year. These Wrestlemania matches of course are the result of such insight.”
I agree with Chris Jericho and his comments on these matches. Yes, these matches can be some of the least favorite matches of all time, but for me personally (and you can blame me for siding with the wrestlers here) it is a welcomed change. Plus, with the over-loaded roster, it is the closest many will get to wrestling at Wrestlemania. Thus, such matches do have some significance as well.
After seeing what these wrestlers go through, with the hectic schedule, if this match is an outlet for SOMETHING then I am definitely game for the concept. So, the long and short of it is, this is a compromise I will be happy to see the WWE make.
And now, for the final argument!
The final part of my article, which I have wanted to say for a long time after seeing the Wrestlemania DVD, will say loud and clear that Vince McMahon is a GENIUS.
Oh! What is the IWC coming to? How? What? Where? When?!?!?! Allow me to elaborate.
Vince, in all these years, has achieved one thing—always getting what he wanted the people to do for him.
He orchestrated Wrestlemania, broke attendance records, rarely did what the IWC wanted to see, and still managed to make the IWC play their parts.
Let’s look at the various instances that missed our eyes but were a part of Mr. McMahon’s genius.
One such incident is the “2/21/11” promo. This was one promo that took the Dirt Sheets by storm—there were reports from everywhere, each reciting their side of the story on who they thought was going to be the wrestler behind that promo.
While the WWE clearly failed to get Sting, Vince still had the last laugh. He set up a promo that looked like Sting’s starcade promo, and alone was good enough into encouraging millions of fans to turn up and see if their icon Sting was going to show up on WWE or not.
Every wrestling forum and every pro-wrestling alert was filled with news about the man behind that promo. The result? More viewership ratings.
This is just a small example; there have been many more. One thing that struck out the most was Vince’s ruthless decision to present Wrestlemania-II at not one, not two, but three different locations.
Yes, apparently the show was divided into three parts. One part was broadcasted live, and the other two were viewed by people live in the stadium/arena on giant screens. Imagine the risk taken and the reward reaped.
Such a decision, with so much money involved, in an age where satellite signals could be easily lost, (as explained by a member on the DVD) indeed takes guts, yet we feel Vince should just give up. As far as I am concerned, Vince should still keep going.
Did the DVD on Wrestlemania, bring out things, unheard of?
I am not saying that all his decisions have turned to gold, but the IWC gives him way less credit than he deserves and that needs to be rectified.
Eric Bishoff might be the person behind penning down the book, "Controversy Creates Cash," but Vince has applied it. The famous Montreal Screw job, no matter what the IWC says, is still talked about by the IWC. With so much publicity by the so-called naysayer’s of the company, what more does the owner of a company need?
To sum it all up, and to again say what Chris Jericho said a few months ago, "No matter what, Vince will always be my favorite person, because he knows how to run a company."
As for my two cents on this, all I can say is you can’t teach him how to run a company because, at the end of the day, you have played to his tunes as well. His current poster boy is in his most stale stage of his career, yet he continues to push him because the IWC acts as the perfect foil, making the people continue to talk about it.
Vince’s most recent creation, i.e. The Miz, has so far done a lot. Since becoming champion, he too has gathered a good amount of hatred and, courtesy of the IWC, he has been popularized and more talked about as compared to many others and has rightfully gone from opening Wrestlemania one year into main-eventing the very next year. Kudos Vince!
With that, my review of the documentary on Wrestlemania has come to a close—any comments and opinions will be welcomed.
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