Wednesday, October 8, 2014

How the Vince Stole Christmas

"You're a mean one, Mr. [Vince]
You really are a heel,
You're as curly as a cactus, you're as charming as an eel, Mr. [Vince,]
You're a bad banana with a greasy black peel!"  -Mr. Grinch, How the Grinch Stole Christmas (slight modifications to lyrics, my apologies.)

Vince plays dirty in these few chapters of Sex, Lies, and Headlocks.  He's already stolen talent from regional promotions, damaging their internal integrity.  He's broken the unspoken law of staying in your region, further oppressing other promotions.  In those cases, it could be reasoned that Vince was only doing what was best for himself, but he was not attacking those promotions directly.  In these next chapters, though, he was purposefully targeting Jim Crockett's territory by deliberately holding a pay-per-view event on the same day as Crockett's.  Not only that, he also demanded that any station that wanted to air his pay-per-view promise not to air any others that day, effectively destroying Crockett's plan for his pay-per-view.  "Only five cable companies out of the original two hundred stayed loyal to the Crocketts."  In a world where everything is driven by money, Vince McMahon Jr. came out on top.  Now, with no real competition, he monopolizes the wrestling industry.  Tickets to the first Wrestlemania event cost fifteen dollars (in 1985; That's about $33 today).  Now, tickets to Wrestlemania cost hundreds of dollars.  A VIP package to Wrestlemania XXX was advertised at two thousand dollars.  Has the talent improved?  Has wrestling become more popular?  What justifies a 6000% increase in ticket prices?  No competition, that's what.  The more I learn about him, the more I see that little Vinnie is the real-life version of the heel characters he works so hard to create.  Or maybe it's just all a part of the wrestling facade: just part of a gimmick to make us hate him that got a little out of hand.  The injustice he inflicted in putting all those promotions out of business is real, as is the effect that was felt by those promotors and their families.  But who knows?  Maybe Vince is actually a really nice guy.

...Or not.


Sam Ford said...

Ha! It does raise a lot of good questions. Vince's version, as he's enacted it several times, is that he brought competition to a bunch of monopolistic tyrants and challenged them. He played capitalism better than them. But it's interesting to watch the narrative of Vince as monopoly buster and "better at capitalism than you," on the one hand, and then see his narrative of "entrepreneurial family-owned business owner versus evil multibillionaire" when he runs head-to-head against Ted Turner, on the other...

Marshall Metcalf said...

I LAUGHED OUT LOUD!! You should be proud of me, I finally read it! I think this post is great! Vince can definitely be related to the Grench. He stole talent from so many other programs and didn't play by any of the unwrittern rules.

Melissa Smith said...

We talked about this a little bit in class the other day, and I want to acknowledge the fact that production costs for wrestling has skyrocketed. Ole talks about this in his book, and the difference is evident just in watching two performances from early tv age and now. Wrestling promotions have also started paying their "superstars" obscene amounts of money, about which Ole is also very vocal. Maybe an increased production cost could validate inflated ticket prices, but I still don't think such a large increase can be justified. Because wrestlers are portrayed as "stars," people will pay near anything for the chance to meet them. I still would rather spend $2000 to go to China or something instead of paying to meet some really cool normal guys... even though they're pretty awesome.