Monday, March 19, 2012

Vince McMahon

Vincent Kennedy "Vince" McMahon (born August 24, 1945) is an American professional wrestling promoter, announcer, commentator, film producer, actor and former occasional professional wrestler. McMahon is the current Chairman, CEO and Chairman of the Executive Committee of professional wrestling promotion WWE. Upon acquiring World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW), McMahon's WWE became the sole remaining major American professional wrestling promotion (until the national expansion of Total Nonstop Action Wrestling and Ring of Honor).

As an on-camera character, he can appear on all WWE brands (though the majority of the time, he appears on Raw). McMahon plays a character known by the ring name Mr. McMahon, based on his real life persona. In the world of WWE, he is a two-time world champion, having won the WWF Championship and ECW World Championship. He was also the winner of the 1999 Royal Rumble.

Vince is the husband of Linda McMahon, with whom he ran WWE from its establishment in 1980 until she resigned as the CEO in September 2009.

McMahon first met the promoter for Capitol Wrestling Corporation, his father Vincent J. McMahon's company, at the age of 12. At that point, McMahon became interested in following his father's professional wrestling footsteps and often accompanied him on trips to Madison Square Garden. McMahon also wanted to be a wrestler but his father would not let him, explaining that promoters did not appear on the show and should stay apart from their wrestlers.

In 1968, McMahon graduated from East Carolina University with a business degree and after a nondescript career as a traveling salesman, he was eager to assume a managerial role in his father’s World Wide Wrestling Federation promotion (although the elder McMahon was not thrilled with the idea of his son entering the business). In 1969, McMahon made his debut as an in-ring announcer for the WWWF's All-Star Wrestling. In 1971, he was assigned to a small territory in Maine, where he promoted his first card. He later became the play-by-play announcer for television matches after he replaced Ray Morgan in 1971, a role he would regularly maintain until November 1997.

Throughout the 1970s, McMahon became the prominent force in his father's company, and over the next decade, Vince assisted his father in tripling TV syndication. He pushed for the renaming of the company to the World Wrestling Federation (WWF). The young McMahon was also behind the Muhammad Ali versus Antonio Inoki match of 1976. In 1979, Vince purchased the Cape Cod Coliseum, where he promoted hockey games and concerts in addition to pro wrestling, as he began to prove that he was capable of running the WWF after his father’s retirement. By 1980, McMahon had become chairman of the company, and Titan Sports was incorporated; in 1982, a 37-year old McMahon led Titan’s acquisition of the Capitol Wrestling Co. from his ailing father (who died in May 1984), as he and his wife Linda took control of the World Wrestling Federation.

At the time of his purchase of the WWF, professional wrestling was a business run by regional offices. The various promoters shared an understanding that they would not invade each other’s territories, as this practice had gone on undeterred for decades. McMahon had a different vision of what the industry could become. In 1963, the WWF split from the National Wrestling Alliance, which was the governing body for all the regional territories across the country and as far away as Japan.

He began expanding the company nationally by promoting in areas outside of the company's Northeast U.S. stomping grounds and by signing talent from other companies, such as the American Wrestling Association (AWA). In 1984, he recruited Hulk Hogan to be the WWF’s charismatic new megastar, and the two quickly drew the ire of industry peers as the promotion began traveling and broadcasting into rival territories. Nevertheless, McMahon (who still also fronted as the WWF’s squeaky clean babyface announcer) created The Rock 'n' Wrestling Connection by incorporating pop music stars into wrestling storylines. As a result, the WWF was able to expand its fanbase into a national mainstream audience as the promotion was featured heavily on MTV programming. On March 31, 1985, he promoted the first WrestleMania to be held at Madison Square Garden while airing on closed circuit TV throughout the U.S. WrestleMania was an undisputed success. As a result, the WWF thus stood head and shoulders above all its competition, and Hulk Hogan soon became a full-fledged pop-culture icon and child role model.

During the late 1980s, McMahon shaped the WWF into a unique sports entertainment brand that reached out to family audiences while attracting fans who had never before paid attention to pro wrestling. By directing his storylines towards highly-publicized supercards, McMahon initiated a brand-new revenue stream by promoting these events live on PPV television, a concept that would completely revolutionize event programming for all sports while catapulting the WWF into a multi-million dollar empire. In 1987, McMahon reportedly drew 93,173 fans to the Pontiac Silverdome (which was called the "biggest crowd in Sports entertainment history") for WrestleMania III, which featured the main event of Hulk Hogan versus André the Giant.

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