By Jim Biringer
What a historic month in the world of professional wrestling. There were several great PPVs and events not only from AEW but from WWE as well. However, it was outside the ring aka the squared circle that had everyone talking. Specifically, the deal that saw Endeavor, now trading under TKO Group Holdings, bought WWE, which means Vince McMahon no longer owns the WWE.
Think about that. When you were first introduced to pro wrestling there was a McMahon running the show. Especially in the New York territory. Remember before Vince McMahon Jr. bought the company from Vince McMahon Sr., there were regional territories. Then the WWWF before the WWF was in New York and New England. In addition, AWA in the Midwest starting in Minnesota, NWA or Jim Crockett Promotions were in the Carolina region. Georgia Championship Wrestling, World Class Championship Wrestling in Texas, and so on.
As Vince has always stated if his father knew what he had planned to do with the company after buying it for $1 million dollars, his dad might not have sold him the company. Vince bet on himself and the business taking it nationally and globally. If you go back to the first Wrestlemania, Vince put every dollar he had into that event. It was either going to be a success or a failure. His competitors wanted it to fail. Wrestlemania I was a turning point for Vince McMahon and the business.
We saw the rise of Hulkamania, Macho Madness, the Ultimate Warrior, and so many countless talents in the 1980s and into the early 1990s. This led to the national expansion of wrestling and the death of the territories. McMahon shook up the industry. During that time he faced scandals including the big steroid scandal in the early 1990s, and he survived that one.
Though the product dipped in the mid-1990s, during the Next Generation, Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels were carrying the company. That time saw the rise of WCW along with the nWo, Vince again had to dig deep and find a way to adapt or else he was going to go out of business. The Attitude Era was born to go along with the Monday Night Wars. What a time to be a wrestling fan with the nWo, DX, Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, Triple H, Undertaker, Sting, Ric Flair, and so many countless others.
But McMahon survived and ultimately bought his competition. Though the Invasion angle did not go over as planned, but still there was Vince McMahon still on top of the world. Remember he went from being a pro wrestling show to a sports entertainment show. And he continues to refer to it to this day.
After the Attitude Era, we had the Ruthless Aggression Era, McMahon once again adapted to no competition by splitting up RAW and Smackdown and it worked. We saw the rise of the Smackdown Six, new superstars emerged like John Cena, Randy Orton, and Batista from OVW. Oh yeah, let’s not forget about CM Punk.
Then we got to the PG era, where Vince lost touch with the wrestling world. The product was not as good as Triple H was making waves with NXT. You knew something needed to change. Eventually, it did, due to the sexual harassment scandal that broke in the summer of 2022. Vince stepped away from the company, and Triple H and Stephanie McMahon along with Nick Khan were running things.
During this time the Bloodline in the Reality Era was running things on TV. Cody Rhodes returned, thanks to Vince McMahon. Though McMahon was not out of the loop he just did not have control. But the writing was on the wall despite what we all thought was going to be the case for years that a McMahon would own WWE. That just is not the case.
The way McMahon got back onto the board of directors and became chairman was shady at best. There were those on the board who did not want him back. But he got back on the board to get his money and to sell the company. Though he did not have creative control, he was still calling things in. But the product on TV was better and never hotter thanks to Triple H.
Think about this for a minute. Vince McMahon sold WWE to Endeavor aka TKO Group Holdings for $21 Billion. He paid $1 million for it from his dad. Now, TKO Group Holdings is looking for McMahon to step aside as his shares are up for sale. The company does not want any distractions as McMahon the current chairman is still being investigated for those sexual harassment allegations and other things as well.
The September 11, 2023 edition of Monday Night Raw was the last event that Vince McMahon owned WWE. Vince started Monday Night Raw in January 1993. Just a historic time to be around the world of professional wrestling.
It is going to be hard to imagine when there was not a McMahon-owning WWE. Now we are here. What a wild time we live in the world of professional wrestling.