By the end of watching the 'McMahon' documentary, I was more enlightened and at the same time more confused than before about who exactly Vincent Kennedy McMahon is. Some said he's nothing like his 'on screen' character, Mr.McMahon. Some said the TV Vince is all the stuff Vince wish he could do in real life. Then some others said the real Vince is far more ruthless than his on-screen persona. Well, both of them are ruthless alright.
For a documentary produced in-house about the Boss, probably with his hands-on input, it didn't portray him they way one would think. It was not 'Vince is great, Vince is perfect, yada yada' as you might expect. It wasn't even gushing about him like Verne Gagne's portrayal seemed to be. It basically rounded Vince out to be a brilliant and crazy promoter, a workaholic family man, and a ballsy and sometimes retarded businessman (the bodybuilding league? not mentioned. the XFL? a poorly-timed good idea, etc). They seemed to throw in enough good with enough bad that it seemed orchestrated instead of realistic, as if they were deliberately trying to throw in enough negative material so that the audience would believe they were trying to make an accurate, honest documentary of his life. They may well have, but it felt very forced.
While the WWE crew may have been trying to paint a 'realistic' picture of Vince, we could see that they were conveniently leaving out key points that we had read about elsewhere, such as the fact that Vince Jr. didn't even know his real father until he was a teenager, that he grew up in a trailer, and that little multi-million dollar bungle that was the Bodybuilding League (of Steroids). They basically picked up from when Vince Sr. kicked his son out in front of the camera as an announcer and ran from there. Yes, they went into detail about the XFL, but I suspect they included that because it was such a high profile failure that the entire piece would have lost the rest of its credibility if it wasn't included. Even so, they painted the whole thing as bad timing, or someone else's fault, since it was so obviously a good idea in premise.
Then, there was the whole coverage of the McMahon family and their involvement in TV storylines and the business itself. Now, I've been watching for a good while, and I know some of the crazy stuff that Shane, Stephanie and Linda have gotten into on WWE programming, but seeing it all cut together so quick and close, it dawned on me that this family (or more likely Vince) will do anything for the business, for the product - where anything is that next big idea that Vince has at the time. Thank goodness some of them have more sense than Vince at times, such as when he wanted to be the father of Stephanie's baby on TV while she was pregnant. EW EW EW. Luckily she refused. It seems that sometimes Vince confuses 'shock' and 'entertainment', such as the Katie Vick necrophilia angle. Was that entertaining? No, not really. Was it shocking? Yeah! Did it get WWE press? Hell yeah. Didn't matter to Vince that it was bad press.
Indeed Vince is a brilliant businessman for taking advantage of the Pay Per View revolution, bringing us Wrestlemania and so much more, but those 'balls the size of grapefruits' have also gotten him into trouble from time to time, both with his fans and the general media. The fine line between crazed TV personality and real live Chairman has become even more blurred as the years go by, and this documentary has done nothing more than make that distinction ever more difficult to make.