Vince McMahon is undoubtedly the most successful wrestling promoter of all time, and although it has had its ups and downs, WWE is still the unslayable juggernaut of sports entertainment.
But as you may have noticed during the twitter plugging onslaught that is now Monday Night Raw, McMahon is always trying to break into different media. Some, like WWE Studios, have achieved a reasonable level of success.
The rest however, have almost universally bombed. Let’s take a look at the biggest business mishaps of Vincent Kennedy McMahon illustrious career:
5. WWE Network
Too soon you say? I wouldn’t bet on it. The only reason this monstrosity of an idea isn’t any higher is that WWE is apparently still hoping that it will work out. Vince’s most ambitious side-project to date, the WWE Network intends to charge $12.99-$14.99 a month for even more WWE related content: just in case you are a wrestling fan so insatiable, that the nine hours of television they put out a week just doesn’t cut it for you.
4. WWE Niagara Falls
As its name suggests, this was a retail store near Niagara Falls that would sell WWE related stuff and do WWE related things, because of reasons that make no sense except in the head of one billionaire.
It had a theme park ride called The Pile Driver, sold merchandise, held autograph signings and even had screens displaying PPVs. What was this store trying to be? Why put it here? None of these questions were answered when it mercifully closed in 2011, nine years after it opened.
3. WWF New York/The World
First called WWF New York and then renamed The World when the company’s name changed to WWE – unlike our previous entries, this venture knew exactly what it was: a freakin’ terrible idea. In one of the greatest misunderstandings of a company’s fan base ever, the then WWF decided what wrestling fans wanted was to go clubbing.
Having apparently never met any of us and baffled by our lack of interest, they continued to plug this idea on television and even in video games, where it would often appear as a setting for matches and videos. This débâcle went on for four years before they pulled the plug, presumably when they realised they hadn’t had a female customer in all that time.
2. WBF World Bodybuilding Federation
Vince has always had a soft spot for the bigger man. In fact, he likes men so big that they go beyond what is naturally possible. Then he likes to oil them up and get them to hang around in their pants. You ever notice that when they have backstage segments, wrestlers who are not scheduled to perform are often just wearing a t-shirt and their wrestling trunks, eternally looking like they’ve forgotten their trousers? That’s not in case they get unexpectedly called upon to wrestle, it’s just what Vince is into.
In 1990 he took this, let’s say hobby, to weird new heights by opening his own bodybuilding federation. Nobody ordered the PPVs because let’s face it, body building is boring as hell. There was a TV show too, called WBF BodyStars. We can just imagine McMahon looking over the ratings with one eye on some heaving mass of twitchy muscle saying: “I don’t get it. I’d pay to watch this.”
Some ideas are so bad that it’s upsetting to think that the person who came up with them is far more successful than you. By rights, the person who came up with something as utterly moronic as the XFL should be sat on a park bench asking strangers if they could help freeze the soup in his pockets.
His “league” consisted of just eight teams, who were all company-owned and were paid much less than their NFL counterparts. The XFL was a bizarre football/wrestling hybrid in terms of presentation, they introduced backstage segments, added scantily-clad woman and occasionally other teams would run in and attack their rivals with steel chairs.
Alright, that last one didn’t happen. But as far as fans were concerned it might as well have. Football fans often don’t like wrestling, to the point where they feel the need to interrupt your conversation to inform you that wrestling is in fact, scripted.
The upshot of this was the WWE and NBC lost $33 million. Each.
Its failure was so catastrophic that even Vinnie Mac himself allows commentators on his TV shows to mention it from time to time. For a guy with an ego like his that’s a huge deal. The last time someone mocked WWE he made them hug a crocodile as part of the “forgiveness ceremony”. They’re dead now.