McGuire’s Monday: Does Vince McMahon have an ounce of humanity left in him? If we’re ever to find out, we can’t stop asking questions

By Colin McGuire, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@McGMondays)

It was Friday. 10:15 a.m. July 8.

The day was as unassuming as any other in the wrestling world when the Wall Street Journal decided to drop yet another story chronicling Vince McMahon’s extracurricular dalliances that veer from abusive to creepy to shameful to abhorrent. Long story short, the guy has paid out millions of dollars throughout the years to keep women quiet after seemingly abusing his power in WWE, essentially (and allegedly) parlaying his authority into sexual coercion, among other things.

Everyone was abuzz. From all of the social media to all of the websites, this story was leading the day. So many influencers and writers and personalities and reporters and podcasters and website publishers noted that this was it. Or, well, it might be it. Or, well, it should be it. After all these years, there’s finally a smoking gun lingering around McMahon and for once, he’ll be held accountable and his precious baby, World Wrestling Entertainment, will ostensibly be taken away from him.

Except …

DESERVING MORE COVERAGE

Maybe not?

There’s a lot – and I mean a lot – of time left to see how this thing plays out. We’ve got a board of directors. We’ve got public pressure. We’ve got women with NDAs. And we’ve got what I would argue is most likely more information that we as the public have yet to hear. We all know how these things work by now. If you have decades worth of history doing unsavory things and eventually a few details about those unsavory things leak out after decades of getting away with it, that means those few details are only really a small sample size of a bigger reality.

Will we ever know any of those details? That’s highly unlikely. But to think that the Wall Street Journal‘s report is all there is to know would be ignorance of the first degree. This man was giving individuals millions of dollars to go silent (allegedly). To know the darkest secret trapped behind Vince’s own personal Forbidden Door would be equal parts stunning and heartbreaking.

Or, at least that’s my guess. I know nothing, of course. Like most of us, I’ve watched him build his empire from a million miles away. I’ve seen the bad humor on his television shows. I’ve seen him throw fits in sit-down interviews. I’ve watched as his company leaned so far into a sexual bent in its presentation that it had to switch parental guidance ratings more than once (or twice). I’ve read the stories, the rumors, the opinions. I’m even up to date on how the dude walked backstage after defiantly appearing on Smackdown a couple weeks ago just to say “f— them,” whomever “them” are.

And so, when the story broke Friday morning, I was beyond intrigued; I was fascinated. I wanted more copy. I thought for sure we’d have follow-ups through the weekend as the wrestling sleuths would uncover more information and maybe, just maybe, McMahon’s position within WWE would change, be compromised or even (gasp!) be eliminated altogether.

But then …

OFF THE FRONT PAGE

Well, then, Sunday came and at about two in the afternoon, I opened the Twitter machine. The No. 1 trending topic on my feed was Eddie Kingston. Turned out the Internet Wrestling Community decided to debate the merits of the guy’s physique. Riveting. I scrolled down. No real mention of McMahon or WWE beyond the Sacramento house show the company ran Saturday night. I went to a handful of pro wrestling websites – ones with which we are all probably fairly familiar – and in the top stories bug that most sites offer, Vinny Mac was nowhere to be found.

Brody King attacking Darby Allin at an autograph signing? Sure. More announcements for Starrcast? Yep. The Undertaker’s comment on Mick Foley being left out of his Hall Of Fame speech? You got it. But Vince McMahon cultivating a workplace where it was accepted that he had the power, ability and gall to use his company as some type of discreet sexual playground that had no boundaries because he had the resources and the money to take care of any problems, should they arise?

Nope.

Two days. That’s all it took for Vince McMahon, the most important name in the history of the wrestling business, to get his name off the front page. And let’s not forget why his name was on the front page to begin with: misconduct, infidelity, scandal. Yet by the time the weekend was over, we, as a wrestling community, had moved on to how good or bad Smackdown was and, oh yeah, that’s right, isn’t it cute that The Rock’s daughter showed up at an NXT 2.0 house show and cut a promo?

Huh.

It leads me back to …

MOVING ON TOO QUICKLY

… the piece I wrote a few weeks ago regarding the pro wrestling media and why it inherently has issues that could use some adjustments.

Now, look. I understand that nobody of any import or relevance is going to talk to any pro wrestling media outlet about something like this. And it should say something to anyone paying attention that it historically takes outside media like the Wall Street Journal to break these kinds of hard-hitting news stories on pro wrestling companies or executives. That’s a tall mountain to climb, no matter if you’re a reporter for ProWrestling.net or the New York Times. Fair play to the Wall Street Journal for getting the story and when you consider resources, time and all the other things that get in the way, I don’t really think any finger wagging should be pointed in the direction of the most well-read pro wrestling media outlets.

Where I do think a ball was dropped, however, was the inability to keep something like this underneath the spotlight for longer than a day. Or hell, in a perfect world, perhaps a weekend.

Think about Friday. You couldn’t swing a cat without bumping into a post from somewhere saying something about the Wall Street Journal story. Be it on websites or social media, everyone had something to say and it was mostly to the effect of, “This has to be it for Vince, he has to go.” All of that was well and good, of course, because all of that seems to be a reasonable consensus to reach. Dude allegedly wouldn’t renew a talent’s contract because his sexual advances weren’t going over all that well with said talent? Yeah, that’s about enough for me to say he’s gotta go.

But, then what? What happened as the day wore on and the story, which, again, was published at 10:15 a.m., aged? Everyone got their opinions out in 240 characters or less and a report surfaced that Netflix bailed on a planned Vince McMahon series it was working on, everyone shrugged their shoulders and said, “Oh, it’s good to see Roman Reigns back on TV,” or, “Kingston versus Takeshita should be great.” By Saturday morning, Paul Heyman was getting more press for his Smackdown promo than Vince McMahon was getting for being a sexual deviant over the last few decades.

And all of that brings me to the point of this week’s piece.

KEEP TALKING

In my mind, it is absolutely imperative that the conversation about what Vince McMahon got away with for the last several years stays at the forefront of the wrestling world until some resolution is somehow achieved. And resolution is a lot. I know. Life rarely gives us resolution on anything, but the more we as wrestling fans, critics, viewers, writers and everything in between continue to look the other way and just accept this kind of behavior as it is, the less likely it is the people behind these abusive acts will be held accountable.

If there’s one word that most everyone can agree upon when it comes to describing Vince McMahon, it’s defiant. Again, even though we watch from afar as he sits perched atop Mount WWE, we’ve seen enough examples through the years to know that this isn’t a guy who likes to be told what to do. Should he step down from his perch atop WWE? Yes. Will he?

Well … who’s going to make him?

The dialogue surrounding actual change at the top has been contingent upon the WWE board of directors, but McMahon has higher voting power than anyone else and, well, he’s Vince McMahon. And Vince McMahon didn’t get to being Vince McMahon without perfecting the art of being Vince McMahon and part of that twisted art is a resolve as solid as concrete. So, if you think that it’s a slam dunk that he’s going to be ousted from WWE, I’m here to tell you that you might want to reconsider that.

Decency and logic suggest that his departure isn’t just imminent, but it’s also required. Keep in mind, though, that decency and logic are the two furthest words away from WWE’s approach to entertainment. If he sets his mind to not leaving his post, I don’t see how it ever happens. Worse off, the more the industry’s voices – from fans to publishers – just accept this as it is and run nothing more than whatever a mainstream news outlet can dig up every now and then, the more likely it is that Laredo, Texas isn’t going to be the last city to cheer this guy on as he struts to the ring.

Which is gross. And you know what else is gross?

REMEMBER THE WOMEN

The notion that there is an entire locker room full of female talent in that company who has a leader like this and there seems to be nothing anybody can do about it. I just don’t know, if you’re a female locker room leader, how you show up for work, knowing this guy did this stuff and still say, “So, what’s the plan for tonight, boss?” Is there an underlying, unspoken directive to not even address any of it internally? Does McMahon owe anyone an apology? You can be damn sure he doesn’t think he does, but I don’t think it would be unreasonable if there were women working within the confines of WWE who want some type of “I’m sorry,” or, at the very least, would prefer an explanation.

It’s selfish. And it shouldn’t be surprising, considering how this is all coming from a man who delights in making last-second changes to tirelessly crafted scripts all the while playing God to not just his employees, but millions of fans worldwide. That said, even if it shouldn’t surprise any of us, it should still serve as a depressing reminder of what authority, power and money can help someone achieve. He owes those people – and especially those women he has working for him currently – something. I’m not a believer in high-horse stuff like that, but this is the exception. The amount of sacrifices he’s demanded of so many people over so many years, up to and including this very day … Vince McMahon actually does owe the people in his locker room an apology, a reassurance, a moment of contrition to at least prove he’s human.

That’s an impossible ask, of course, because so much has been made through the years of Vince McMahon not actually being human to begin with. Those comments have been made in jest, of course, and, to a large degree, they’ve been uttered as compliments. But if you’ve constructed a life around you that allows you to be as inhuman as possible, the bad comes with the good, and the ability to bench press 800 pounds at 4:30 in the morning after a Raw taping shouldn’t be considered alongside walking around your company with a sexual get out of jail free card that you obtained only because you lack the fundamentals of humanity. The former example suggests an otherworldly drive; the latter example paints the portrait of a spoiled brat who has no comprehension of accountability.

Then again, perhaps that brazenness is the foundation on which WWE was built. And now that the ghosts of its checkered past have returned to haunt it, there’s never been a more imperative time for the so-called human in charge of it to figure out precisely how it can find a soul. Or, at the very least, somehow learn how to be human.

SPECIAL EPISODE

WE VALUE YOUR PRIVACY

Readers Comments (5)

  1. Here’s the sad part. He has a consensual relationship with a woman who CHOSE to enter into that relationship, knowing Vince was the boss and married, then he pays her money when its over, and THAT is what everyone is upset about (while no one mentioning the woman is no better than he is). Sexual assault allegations in the past, including RAPE, though, were no problem, and all these self-righteous “FLAIR WAGGED HIS PENIS AROUND IN FRONT OF A WOMAN AND IS A HORRIBLE PERSON!” still watch RAW and Smackdown, padding Vince’s pockets.
    Idiocy and hypocrisy reigns surpreme nowadays.

  2. You’re willfully ignoring the other allegations mentioned last week, namely that he coerced a woman into performing a sex act and fired her when she refused to engage further.

  3. His defense os Snuka was to say “we’re in the garbage business,” and played ignorance about the sport and cop racism toward islanders to keep Snuka from getting a murder rap – for a few decades.
    You have the ring boy scandal. One kid was pulled aside by Jesse Ventura and warned to stay away from Garvin.
    You have the on-screen sexualization of women, like Trish dog barking, Torrie’s dad with Lisa Marie, bra and panties matches, the terrible treatment of Lita.
    Let alone the steroids.
    Let alone anti-union. Let alone taking decades to implement health and safety protocols that weren’t just lip service.
    Let alone the indie contractor scam.
    Let aline not honoring Bret’s contract, then screwing him on-air.
    Let alone the casual racism backstage that prompted Del Rio to punch an exec, and the women in NXT being told to look like a white performer.
    And the industry’s general attitude toward to women, documented in the planeride from hell episode, where RVD said male wrestlers would think nothing of dropping H-bombs in the drinks of wonen and then raping them; Ric Flair sexually assaults a flight attendant, and scumbag Tommy Dreamer says it’s just Ric being Ric, then blames the women for settling a lawsuit against a giant corporation.

  4. It must be tiring to be such a Perfect Being…. All the people ak the actions all the outcomes in this company are FAKE… Just quit watching if this is so Distressing to your Fragile Psyche…. Fruitcake

    • This is such a terrible take. Do you feel everyone should be let off the hook for every wrongdoing just because none of us are perfect? Should we open the doors to maximum security prisons? Or is this just a “must defend Vince” take?

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