Due to the fact that he’s been in charge of the WWF/WWE for more than 30 years, the question invariably comes up (multiple times a year) when Vince McMahon is going to retire and hand over the keys to his kingdom. Vince’s stock answer in recent years has been “when he’s dead.” The trials and tribulations of 2016 haven’t slowed him down, and McMahon’s demanding schedule rivals that of anyone on the planet.
It was Vince McMahon’s idea to re-ignite the brand extension concept this past summer after USA Network executives complained to WWE officials about declining ratings during SmackDown on Friday nights. Truth be told, ratings have been steadily falling for several years, proving the Attitude Era a tough act to follow.
This time, however, the brand split was to be completely legitimate, with two unique and distinct rosters along with separate creative staffs for both RAW and SmackDown. The latter moved to Tuesday nights, meaning that on any given week, a wrestling fan may consume eight hours of professional wrestling if a pay-per-view happened to fall on that week. That’s not to mention any additional WWE Network programming. But Vince McMahon is there for it all.
Earlier on Thursday, we reported that Vince and the WWE might be coming around on the idea that that’s entirely too much content, perhaps overloading their consumers. It appears that 2017 will feature less than the projected 20 pay-per-view events that had been advertised in light of the brand extension. They will be adding more original shows to the WWE Network, however, but that will give fans the opportunity to view at their leisure.
Despite heavy criticism, RAW has remained a bulky three hours, while SmackDown is packed tightly into two. On the surface, the flagship show seemed to inherit far more recognizable talent in the draft, but SmackDown‘s content has been far superior according to most pundits. That fact alone has raised a lot of questions as to who’s actually running both shows and whether it’s being done by separate groups.
As noted, there are two individual writing staffs for both brands, but Vince McMahon has maintained final say on all decisions. That question was raised again this past week, with some speculating that Vince has withdrawn himself from SmackDown, allowing Triple H and Ryan Ward run things. According to a report in Daily Wrestling News, that is not the case.
McMahon is still in charge of everything on both RAW and SmackDown with 100 percent complete, final say. Ward was promoted earlier in the year after a successful tenure in NXT and then quickly assumed the head writer role on Tuesday nights when the brand split went into effect. His name might also be familiar to some because Ward is the person Cody Rhodes was referring to when he blasted the WWE on his way out earlier this spring.
In related news, McMahon has always been a fan of catchphrases, believing they can help establish a superstar or their brand. They certainly went a long way in aiding in the ascension of The Rock, Stone Cold, John Cena, and others. And while it’s not exactly a catchphrase specifically designed for the one using it, Vince is reportedly infatuated with the term, “sparkle crotch.”
If you recall, Seth Rollins used it as an insult to Chris Jericho last month in reference to Jericho’s wrestling trunks. During that particular episode of RAW, Rollins used it several times, and the report from backstage was that Vince laughed “like a maniac” every time it was used.
Rollins has used it more recently as the program with Jericho, Roman Reigns, and Kevin Owens evolves, despite it not being in the show’s script since. McMahon continues to be extremely amused by it, and because the plan is for Rollins and Jericho to engage in a feud as RAW heads toward Roadblock, we might have to expect to hear it even more.
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