Tuesday, October 7, 2014

another "what-if"



Moving along in the book, Sex, Lies and Headlocks, I came across another “what-if” situation for McMahon’s journey which I found quite interesting. This was the section where Cyndi Lauper meets Lou Albano on a plane, and with her coming on board as a manager, and the role of MTV at that time. Of course, the angle was set with Lauper and Lou Albano to feud initially as managers with two appearances on a WWF show. This would then lead up to the big show at MSG with their wrestlers dueling it out in a grudge match.  

This led to Wolff (manager of Lauper) putting it on MTV in prime time to an astounding share of young viewers. Then McMahon and Wolff angled for a staged awards ceremony at MSG where Wolff would be surprised and attacked by Rowdy Piper on stage, setting up the first Wrestlemania. McMahon wanted to fill one million seats, and had six weeks to do it, otherwise he would have lost big money, having already set up 200 theaters for the show. The third MTV show was needed by McMahon to set up the publicity for the fledgling Wrestlemania, and it succeeded. This publicity became so big so quickly that Dave Letterman put on Hulk Hogan and Mr. T on the night before Wrestlemania. It was a publicist’s dream come true. Tens of thousands of fans come to theaters to see what the ruckus was all about.

So here is another “what-if” scenario for McMahon; what-if this never took place, no major publicity with six weeks to save the first Wrestlemania and pay-per-view. We will never know the answer. It just never ceases to amaze me how we see, time after time, a series of events which clears the path for McMahon’s marketing success.

3 comments:

Sam Ford said...

It's a great question. One has to assume that part of it is having the vision--not just Vince but others involved as well--to know how to take advantage of an opportunity when it presented itself. But there is certainly a long list of circumstances that helped shape pro wrestling history substantially...Only after the fact does all of this look inevitable. That's why I appreciate reading about Vince's rise from Ole Anderson's perspective, or thinking about it from Verne Gagne's, or Fritz Von Erich's, or Jerry Jarrett and Jerry Lawler's....It's easy to see it much less as a story already written and understand how and why people might have dismissed it at the time.

Melissa Smith said...

The fact that most of Vince's success in destroying livelihoods and crushing dreams (too melodramatic?) was just based on luck and coincidence almost makes me hate what he did even more. He piggy-backed off the success of the MTV publicity with Wrestlemania, which would have been a flop if he hadn't had a stroke of luck. It seems that everything just clicked into place accidentally to make something big out of the WWWF/WWF/WWE/WWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWF (as Ole would say).

Sam Ford said...

I'm sure Vince would say that it's identifying the opportunity in that luck and coincidence, though, that set him apart...