The Creative Process
It has been quite a while since the last time I started a series here on the website and considering recent events I think now would be the best time for that to happen. Taking into account all of the recent news and events taking place recently I think it's high time we break things down and explore the future piece by piece or at least the future how I would construct it.
Think of this as the opening or the background for the series. The process has been the same in the WWE for the better part of the last forty years or so. Now with Vince stepping aside to retire and with Triple H stepping forward into a more prominent position for the company the future seems just a little bit different.
The main point of the background is to drill down on the one concept that I hope most people understand. The concept is that even though Triple H is now head of creative change will not just happen out of nowhere. Change will come in time and it will be more logical and have more reasoning behind it then it did with Vince. The more comfortable Triple H gets his position the more clear his direction will become and I do believe that some former stars will return. Patience is something that fans don't always want to show nowadays, but in this case it's needed as things will not change overnight. Remember "Rome wasn't built in a Day!"
Vince McMahon Retires
For the first time in thirty plus years Vince McMahon will not be in charge of World Wrestling Entertainment. Vince would take control of the family business in 1983 when he brought the company from his father. In 1984, the national expansion would commence with Hulk Hogan earmarked as Vince's guy to build the promotion around. In January 1984, Hulkamania was born and with Vince McMahon at the helm the then WWF began see an enormous growth in popularity.
Vince McMahon had the opportunity to construct a roster like you don't always get the chance to see, but the formula remained. Early on, the formula was a series of matches and each top heel would get the chance to go on a run with Bruno Sammartino. Hulk Hogan would then be fed monsters to slay like One Man Gang, King Kong Bundy, Andre The Giant, and others. Vince would allow the formula to take hold and the popularity would reach it's peak in 1987 with Wrestlemania 3 at the Silverdome in Michigan.
From the Rock N Wrestling era to a "New Generation" to an era of Attitude one thing remained the same Vince was at the helm. Vince McMahon was able to guide the WWE through good times and bad with just a flick of the wrist. Vince guided the company out of the darkest periods and almost going bankrupt in the 1990's to becoming a juggernaut on the backs of Steve Austin, Undertaker, Mick Foley and The Rock. A lot can be said about the "Ruthless Aggression" era and the "PG Era" but even the best hit the wall. Vince wasn't planning ahead anymore and a lot of people said it had to do with the lack of competition well that isn't the only reason. Vince wouldn't abandon the thinking that had served so well for so many years in favor of the thinking that was poisonings his company.
Vince didn't want to make a plan and stick to it and I do think the fact that WWE is a public company has a lot to do with that and the impatience of shareholders who have millions tied up in the a business they think they understand. Honestly, Vince is and will always be a workaholic, but even the most inhuman men need to tap out and say I need a break. Vince is almost seventy-seven years old and has been in charge of the largest company in pro-wrestling for over thirty years nobody would blame him to say it's time. Enjoy his life, spend time with family and be a grandfather finally get the chance to relax instead of just hustling. The recent actions of Vince McMahon with the hush money and random events that have come to light does damage his reputation. However, I can differentiate between that and his lifelong accomplishments. Vince has needed to step back for a bit and learn how to delegate his power to others and help take the pressure off him, but he never did. I think Vince should've stepped back a bit for the last few years and I'm glad he had the chance to walk away on his own.
Thank you Vince for the memories and everything you've done to bring the wrestling business to the position it's in now. Right now though it's time for you to sit back and just live your life. Leave the world of dealing with shareholders and worrying about profits or the bottom line, because you've earned a break and to leave the company you built on your terms. Thank you for the legacy and everything you've done, but your time has come to walk away.
Summerslam With Small Changes
Reports have been circulating that some within WWE aren't exactly happy with the Summerslam card this year. I for one can see why, because there really isn't anything that makes it seem or feel like a bigger card then Money in the Bank. Wow we get Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns for the title again great just great. I think the card would look a bit better with some small changes or could defy expectations by adding some small details to the event.
Pat McAfee vs Happy Corbin
WWE United States Championship:
(c) Bobby Lashley vs Theory
Smackdown Women's Championship:
(c) Liv Morgan vs Ronda Rousey
Seth Rollins vs Riddle
Logan Paul vs The Miz
Raw Women's Championship:
(c) Bianca Belair vs Becky Lynch
Unified Tag Team Championships: with guest Referee "Double J" Jeff Jarrett
(c) The Usos vs The Street Profits
Last Man Standing for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship:
(c) Roman Reigns vs Brock Lesnar
One small change I would've had was maybe a #1 contender match somewhere on the card for the chance to challenge either the Women's Champion or Roman Reigns. I do feel like WWE has a bad habit of just giving challengers title shots instead of telling the bigger story of having them earn it. Even though it's a simple way to have fresh faces find there way into the picture by earning it and not just randomly being given a shot.
The reason I don't have an issue with Liv Morgan's rematch with Ronda is because this match should be used to finally legitimize her as the future flag bearer for the division. Theory's match with Lashley has Ziggler's name all over it for him to get involved. I do agree Lesnar & Becky need to be moved out of the title picture for an extended time but they need time to move other players in. Hopefully, after Summerslam we start seeing new players find themselves in the title picture.
With the next event after Summerslam set to be Clash at the Castle in September it's clear that the company will have plenty of time to build a new challenger for each champion. I would pencil in a gauntlet match for the men to find Roman's next challenger both shows included because Reigns is the champion for both brands. A gauntlet match could be use to tease possible opponents and set up matches outside of the eventual World title contest. I still would pencil in Drew McIntyre for the shot against Reigns in Cardiff Wales. As for the Women's division Liv Morgan and Bianca need some fresh challengers honestly I would go month to month with Liv for now so maybe Lacey Evans and Nikki Ash respectively could be viable challengers.
My ideal card for the next WWE Premium Live Event:
WWE Clash at the Castle:
Dolph Ziggler vs Theory
Raw Women's Championship:
Nikki Ash or Dana Broke vs (c) Bianca Belair
Smackdown Women's Championship:
(c) Liv Morgan vs Lacey Evans
WWE Intercontinental Championship:
Gunther vs Madcap Moss
WWE United States Championship:
(c) Bobby Lashley vs Kevin Owens
Unified Tag Team Championship #1 Contender Match:
Viking Raiders vs Alpha Academy vs Judgement Day vs New Day
Unified Tag Team Championship: One Final Time
(c) The Street Profits vs The Uso's
#1 Contender Match for a future WWE Universal Championship Match:
AJ Styles vs Seth "Freaking" Rollins vs Robert Roode vs Sheamus w/ Butch & Ridge Holland
I wouldn't have a gauntlet match to crown the challenger instead play up the idea that Roman has been avoiding McIntyre. Use the gauntlet concept for the final spot in the #1 contender match and allow Bobby Roode to find his way into the match and gaining a chance to challenge the champion.
Undisputed WWE Championship Match:
(c) Roman Reigns w/ Paul Heyman vs Drew McIntyre
Repackage and Refresh
On Smackdown this past week we saw the debuts of the Maximum Male Models they will be the clients of Max Dupree. It seems like the debuts got the desired results and they are taking a bit from Blue Steel aka Ben Stillers famous facial expression in Zoolander. Max will manage the repackaged Mansoor and Mace the duo will now be known as Ma.çé and Mån.sôör respectively. It was a needed repackage for two struggling stars on the roster. Both Mace and Mansoor haven't really had any sort of direction for nearly a year to my knowledge both have been floundering since they had there respective teams broken up.
I think everyone remembers that Mace was one of the only members of the Retribution faction to somewhat sort of catch on after the faction flopped. Mansoor seems to be someone that the company has stock in, but has never been given the chance to show any sort of personality. I think with Max Dupree leading them this would be both men's best chance at success in WWE as Max has a knack for getting things over and fully investing.
However, Mansoor and Mace are just among the names on the WWE roster that could use a refresh or reset. Mainly my attention shifts to Mace's former partner T-Bar as someone who could use a refresh and the chance to put the stain of Retribution behind him finally. I know the company likely wouldn't let him go back to his old name, but think about this one of the hardest things in wrestling is ability to stick out. In my opinion, there is no argument to be made that a name like Dominik Dijakovic he wouldn't be able to get fans attention, then factor in his size and ability to move like someone half his size there is no question he would be able to stick out like nobody's business.
Before I jump into this article we need to define another term, this term being "insider trading." As defined by moneycrashers.com "Insider trading is the practice of using information that has not been made public to execute trading decisions. It gives traders an unfair advantage over others and most forms of insider trading are illegal. Another definition of the term as SEC outlines insider trading as “buying or selling a security, in breach of a fiduciary duty or other relationship of trust and confidence, while in possession of material, nonpublic information about the security. Insider trading violations may also include ‘tipping’ such information, securities trading by the person ‘tipped,’ and securities trading by those who misappropriate such information.”
I have been a wrestling fan for the last twenty-three years and this has been by far an unpresented time to be a fan of wrestling. According to various news sites (first reported by Brandon Thurston or Wrestlenomics) $2.1 million shares of WWE stock were sold just hours before the WSJ report was published. Though the amount might not seem like a lot it is actually 1.5 million more than on an average day. Though it is unknown the executive/s that could've sold this amount it was likely a high ranking official due to the amount that was sold. This situation could make the report of the investigation to Vince's allegations all the more worse, because it doesn't look good. Also this could make even more of a case for S+S Attorneys at Law to prove a violation of fiduciary duty.
Though as I mentioned it isn't proven the information is clearly out there that someone may have had knowledge of the incoming report and chose to make the best of a bad situation. As of this writing WWE stock has only taken a slight hit down small percentage at $62.91 as of June 17.
The following was taken from a forbes.com article: To view the full article click here
WWE’s Prohibition Against Insider Trading
Before we get into this article I would like to explain what the term fiduciary duty means in terms of the upcoming article. The term fiduciary duty simply means trust and is something that a company has a legal obligation to maintain to their shareholders. For example, a case could be made that high ranking officials within a company have the fiduciary duty to disclose certain information to shareholders even if it could affect the company negatively. This week has been rough for WWE, the day after the announcement that Vince had paid off a former employee it was announced that another investigation had been launched by nationally known law firm Scott+Scott Attorneys at Law specializing in cases involving consumer rights and securities litigation.
Once I saw this I had assumed I knew what it was about and according to the reports from both business wire and fightful.com I might've been right. Follow the provided links for the full stories!
"NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Scott+Scott Attorneys at Law LLP (“Scott+Scott”), a national securities and consumer rights litigation firm, is investigating whether certain directors and officers of World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (“WWE”) (NYSE: WWE) breached their fiduciary duties to WWE and its shareholders. If you are a WWE shareholder, you are encouraged to contact attorney Joe Pettigrew for additional information at (844) 818-6982, or email@example.com."
"Scott+Scott is investigating whether members of WWE’s board of directors or senior management failed to manage WWE in an acceptable manner, in breach of their fiduciary duties to WWE, and whether WWE and its shareholders have suffered damages as a result."
(from Business Wire)
"On Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal published a report saying the WWE board of directors is investigating McMahon on a secret $3 million hush pact regarding an alleged affair. (From Fightful.com)
Once I heard about the investigation I had a feeling that I knew the reason Scott+Scott took it upon themselves to launch an investigation, because once you read that the Board of Directors had privately launched an investigation two months ago you knew. The fact that this privately known information for two months time without the public or more importantly without shareholders likely being looped in is borderline a violation of fiduciary duties in my opinion. "Scott+Scott has significant experience in prosecuting major securities, antitrust, and consumer rights actions throughout the United States. The firm represents pension funds, foundations, individuals, and other entities worldwide with offices in New York, London, Amsterdam, Connecticut, California, and Ohio." (From Business Wire)
Again I don't classify Wrestling Express as a news reporting website which is why I normally don't jump on stories when they are first reported. I classify this site as an opinion based website mostly due to my unwillingness to comment on big stories until everything or more information made aware to us on some stories like this one for example.
We've Got a Lot to Talk About
Since the very beginning of this website I've thought of this site as an opinion based website and not a news site. That is why it normally takes me a little bit to write articles about anything big that has been reported on. The other reason it takes me a while to write about anything that is reported in the news world is because I will not write about anything until everything is known and more information about any situation is made aware to us. By far the biggest news story in our world has been the news about Vince McMahon.
I will try to keep this as clear as possible. Earlier this week it was reported that WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon had engaged in an affair with a former WWE paralegal in the spring of 2021. According to a Wall Street Journal article Vince used personal funds to pay off the former female employee to keep quiet about the affair. Somewhere along the timeline Vince passed the female employee to Johnny Ace "like a toy." I also found an interesting excerpt from AJ Lee's book which was published back in 2017 and was tweeted by David Bixenspan:
I've been a wrestling fan for the better part of the last twenty-three years and there have always been rumors and innuendo about the dark side of Vince McMahon, but I never expected this to actually happen. Honestly, this is inexcusable in any profession!! It is inexcusable no matter the position that you have to view women in such a light. I understand that the affair was reported to be "consensual" and that's fine, but the fact that AJ couldn't go to a higher up in that situation kinda insinuates something which is inexcusable. In my opinion, that alone is grounds for that employee to be fired, because nobody deserves to be told that or have the workplace be made uncomfortable.
The accepted philosophy before today was that Johnny Ace or current Head of Talent Relations John Laurenitis would be the "fall guy" for this ongoing investigation. This isn't the only investigation taking place by the way which we will get to!! This was accepted before today because as of earlier this morning Vince McMahon will be stepping aside for the time being as the Head of WWE.
Early on we had been made aware of the fact that this investigation had been taking place since April led by the WWE Board of Directors. Ironically enough Stephanie McMahon took a leave of absence from the promotion the following month and I for one didn't bat an eye after the last few months. As far as her leave of absence it is no longer place as Stephanie has taken over for her father for the time being as the Interim Chairman & CEO of WWE. This is something fans have spoken about for years at this point, but honestly I didn't expect someone to take Vince's spot even on an interim basis until Vince died. To those who expected Nick Khan to take control or that it would fit a dumb narrative that he has taken out every member of the McMahon family give me a break!! Stephanie & Hunter were still on the Board of Directors and all three still have shares in WWE. The McMahon Family will ALWAYS run WWE!!
For more information:
At points every sports team reaches a point where it's time to rebuild, oftentimes leading to established star players being moved out in favor of younger unproven players. Back in around 2009, WWE went through a period of transition seeing a number of talent fazed out and new stars coming in. However, the WWE never fully got behind the new superstars and fully pushed them to the top like they did with stars in the past. Sheamus was one of the only stars to break through and he didn't even get past the glass ceiling with Randy Orton, Triple H, and John Cena always being a level above.
Though the average age of most of the talent roster is above 35 years old most of the talent is more than capable of still holding their own in the ring. However, Roman Reigns is the only name that has reached another level. During his run over the last few years Roman reached a level that fans haven't seen since Hulk Hogan or Steve Austin. The problem is that Roman is on a level all there own with names like McIntyre, Rollins, Owens, and others sharing the step below Roman.
The fascinating aspect of the situation surrounding Roman is that fans seem to be upset that Roman could be stepping back as an active wrestler. In my opinion, if Roman is stepping back schedule wise and going more part time this should bring fans to ask the question why wouldn't WWE take this opportunity to rebuild their other divisions. Current Intercontinental champion Ricochet hasn't been super active as champion, especially compared to his US Championship counterpart. The Women's, Tag Team and mid-card need to be invested in and rebuilt. Think about this the 24/7 championship has more direction and receives a bit more attention then the titles that aren't looked at as a joke by fans.
In my opinion, the first step in rebuilding WWE would be setting up a few weeks of meetings with creative, veterans, producers, trainers, and other employees to come up with a plan. The reason I would sit down with veterans like Randy Orton, Roman Reigns, Rollins, Cody, and others is at this point they would know who they could put together their best match with at this point. I would meet with Paul Heyman, Bruce Pritchard, Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Matt Bloom and others to again try and plan ahead as a way to situate a long term plan. Following the meetings I would make sure we had a year of plans in place.
The plan would start with champions and work outward from there keeping those who are championship material front and center. One rule would be in place though that delegation would key with weekly meetings happening to allow everyone to be up to date onto goings on within the business. I remember that Cornette & Heyman both had to make lists when they ran development to keep track of who is closet to be ready for promotion and who still needs work. WWE isn't poorly managed they just aren't as ahead of the game planning wise that they had been twenty or thirty years ago. Rebuilding this company and programming is a process that would take a few years, but can be done step by step if the company actually chose to invest in the process.
Look to the Elite
If WWE wanted to take anything from AEW then they should pay attention to the passion and intensity that is included in some promos that the talent do. I'm not talking about the MJF shoot from Dynamite last week more or less I'm talking about how AEW promos often seem more genuine. WWE promos do have one line that can get a reaction from time to time, but a good promo can raise the intensity of a rivalry if done right. In my opinion, promos don't need crazy intensity all the time, but a promo should sound like it's the real person speaking and not the talent trying to remember a speech.
For example, looking back to the dark days when the unneeded releases took place two years in a row. I remember watching a video following the announcement of specifically Tyler Breeze's release and seeing how Xavier Woods reacted. Allow Xavier alongside Kofi to have time to speak even doing a sit down style interview with Michael Cole. The New Day could speak about how losing friends & Big E has changed them making it impossible to become accustomed to the world after the Thunderdome. Honestly, can even have Woods sit down with Michael Cole alone one week to make a more personal discussion about losing one of his best friends, because the company wanted to make more money.
Back in the early 1990's around the time when Dino Bravo was let go from WWE his long time friend Rick Martel went to management with the idea of the two becoming a tag team. However, management passed on the idea my point imagine if they didn't. Now full circle imagine if The New Day went to management to defend those talent on the chopping block we don't hear the ideas, but the New Day defend names like Tyler Breeze, Tegan Nox, William Regal, Tony Nese, and variety of others.
Wrestling now is about controversy even though controversy still sells it's about being different and showing the fans that you can still build programing worth investing in. Earlier this year, Kevin Owens showed what he could do with a microphone leading into Wrestlemania. Names like Sami Zayn, Edge, AJ Styles, and a number of others if given the chance to actually speak can get fans attention. Asking WWE to grant talent the ability to add a more emotional/intense flavor to promos often is next to impossible or improbable as WWE is more known for lazy booking and mirco-management then being aware of talent with potential.
Banking on Misgivings
At this point Sasha Banks has a reputation of walking out when the company and the "Boss" have disagreements creatively. Sasha is by far one of the most gifted female performers in the Women's division and a gift for WWE. However, Sasha hasn't actually been handle properly creatively in recent years being thrusted into the women's tag team division instead of being a top singles star. Other then her main event program with Bianca Belair at Wrestlemania last year she hasn't been a featured performer.
In defense of Banks the Women's Tag titles aren't exactly one of the championships that the company care much about booking wise. The champions haven't had a clear direction or have been looked at as having much meaning to them which in my opinion they shouldn't exist. If the company perceives the women's tag titles as unimportant then the fans will do the same thing. Every championship should have meaning or be perceived as important otherwise the title shouldn't exist. For example, even if the point of the title was to keep the champions on television and busy as oppose to forcing the same talent to be featured in the women's championship picture.
If WWE would put together a long term plan there is no reason why they wouldn't have a plan in place for one of the companies champions. The fact that there were no plans in place for the women's tag team champions for two months is questionable in my opinion. I don't agree with the decision that Naomi and Sasha made, but at the same time I understand the months of frustration mounting and them making the decision to force the companies hand. Creatively WWE does seem a bit lost at the moment, but the idea that you would be willing to sacrifice the Women's tag champions to get the Women's champions over is a joke and proves another reason why the titles are unneeded. Again the point of this article isn't to defend the actions of Banks or Naomi or being critical of their choices it's more to point out how unimportant the championships are perceived to be based on WWE's booking of the champions.
Sharing my thoughts, opinion, and historical facts on everything WWE both past and present
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