For Queen and Country #25
August 17, 2009
By: Daniel R. Browne of

Greetings to all. It’s been another slow and uneventful week, complete with a dash of mind-numbing predictability for added emphasis. Vinny Mac has been mentioned all over the wrestling press as being concerned and frustrated by the lack of new stars and exciting scenarios on TV. What’s of interest to yours truly is the revelation that WWE superstars simply have to put pen to paper and show up on Raw to apparently complete the transition from untapped potential to superstardom. That, or Vince is getting round to misplacing what little remains of his marbles collection and blaming everyone from Barack Obama to Pope John Paul II for his company’s present malaise. It’s always charming to see a leader practising what he preaches. After all, in WWE Vince and his lieutenants never have a bad idea, offer safe and equitable working conditions and preside over a happy, prosperous family environment. As a friend from the north (of England) might say: ?Cobblers?.

If Vince McMahon wants to blame someone for the moribund state of his programming he can start with himself. As the supreme overlord of WWE, nothing escapes his gaze. Every new idea, grand initiative and revolutionary notion must, before finding life, find approval from Vince McMahon. His word is law. He may allow the McMahon-Helmsleys and his token lackey of the week to hand out the coupons, but Vince has the final word.

The simple, glaring truth of this is Vince has dithered. He has become so rich, so inflexible and so rampantly paranoid that he presides over a court of jesters, cliques and sycophants. Former Prime Minister of Great Britain John Major once described the various men and Ministers within his own, governing party as ?bastards? who gradually sucked and clawed the power away from him and exhausted it in a wave of sleaze, corruption and systemic incompetence. It has taken the Conservative Party ten years to regain it’s footing and another three will have passed before it’s possible re-election.

The point is power is dangerous. Vince should have never have allowed himself to grow indolent enough to lose control. For all his madness, Vince McMahon is the greatest, most influential promoter in the history of professional wrestling. His legacy will forever be that he took a grubby little fraud of an industry and built a corporate empire. He is (depending on the quarter) a billionaire. As much as it may seem I desire his removal, God only knows what will happen when Vince’s ?bastards? garner absolute control. I do hold out hope for one, however.

I have long maintained the hope that Shane McMahon will ultimately gain active, overall control over the WWE empire. He might be a dweeb and suffer from terminal delusions of toughness, but he possess his father’s long lost pragmatism and flair for creativity. Shane has overseen the continued, highly successful corporate expansion of the WWE brand through the media and thus understands a little of the world WWE occasionally seeks to exist within. He has demonstrated a knack for prescient ideas, introducing the crass but, at one time, amazingly popular Godfather character at a time when such foils were genuine money-makers.

In my eyes, the WWE under Shane has a long-term future. I believe he would adhere to his father’s doctrines of company loyalty and work ethic but without the slavishness to absolute control and fixed visions. Under Shane’s guidance the WWE would become radical again. As a man of tangible intelligence, Shane would not meddle with the company’s time-tested infrastructure, but he would not be bound to it. He would set aside the more cancerous personal aspects of business and focus on aggressively maintaining and expanding the WWE as a global expression. I grant thee this is but supposition and conjecture on my part, but I?d sooner trust to Shane McMahon’s intelligence than his sister and brother-in-law’s ambition.

The WWE under Trip and Steph would be very similar to what we have now, just quadruple the isolationist tendencies, the paranoia and the politicking. For today I shall not expand any further on the possible WWE of Bonnie and Clyde. I?d like you, my readers, to consider within the most fraught and vivid aspects of your collective imaginations what the already fractious and tempestuous WWE would look like with both Ahab AND the Great White at the helm?

The problem is today. Right at this moment the WWE is so desperate it is resurrecting D-Generation X for the umpteenth time for another bout of toilet humour and skittish pranks. That the juvenile antics will be perpetrated by two exceedingly wealthy forty year olds should be lost on no one. This will, as usual, serve no actual purpose and aid nothing in the long term. Every single year since 2006 the WWE has lost vital main event performers and then whined about the resultant lack of depth. Whilst relentlessly pushing the established crew of Cena, HHH, Batista and the elders (HBK and Undertaker) it has done very little else. Even the outrageous and uber-talented Randy Orton is in danger of over-exposure due to repetitive booking syndrome.

The WWE has had major success with Jeff Hardy, but his always shaky commitment is a major concern. CM Punk might very well prosper but he requires the absolute faith of the booking crew, something that lasts only as long as Vince likes you. Just ask the most gifted and underused piece of talent on the roster, Christian. He could be so much more useful than carrying ECW and it’s tin-foil title belt. With Edge gone, the WWE needs another young(ish) super-worker to complement Randy Orton. It should be Christian. Should be but probably won?t be. Even he isn?t the great, big answer however. That man is John Cena?

The hardcore fans hate him. Even the casual bases aren?t dead keen. Even so, the favourite of the kids is the key to everything and the only existing catalyst for a creative renaissance. You may very well doubt this and I will address those doubts another time, but mark my words, if done properly John Cena as a heel would revitalise the WWE and provide the company with the foundation and the time to build its future. It is essential, and inevitable, that John Cena embraces the dark side and becomes the demon everyone wants him to be. There was a man who found himself in this position twelve years ago. Vince McMahon gave the fans what they wanted then and the result was The Rock. The Cena heel turn is a veritable Krakatoa just waiting to explode. For all his fear, Vince knows this to be true.

Daniel R. Browne.

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