Pro-Wrestling Interview Page
Last updated 18 October 2004
Pinning Down McMahon
WWE chief answers fans' questions
Know what bugs Vince McMahon?
"The jaded media."
That's what he said Thursday in a telephone interview with the Rockford Register Star. He was referring to big media in big cities, which he says spin stories about him in their own way.
"Most everyone approaches the story they want to tell so that Mr. McMahon can prove their point," he said. That's why he made himself available for an interview with the Rockford Register Star.
"I like reaching out beyond New York, Los Angeles and Chicago to real America," he said.
McMahon is chairman of World Wrestling Entertainment, a global entertainment powerhouse with wild story lines, colorful costumes, outlandish characters and loud music. He'll be at the Rockford MetroCentre Sunday night for a taping of "SmackDown!," a show featuring one of the WWE's two stables of wrestlers. The other is "RAW."
The Register Star asked fans to e-mail questions to pose to McMahon. Seventy-seven fans responded from as far away as India, Scotland and Australia. One local guy asked 18 questions.
We pared the questions down and awarded pairs of tickets for Sunday's show to those whose questions were selected. Tickets were given compliments of WWE.
Question: Didn't splitting up the talent base into "RAW" and "SmackDown!" dilute the WWE product? Aren't the crowds dwindling as interest wanes? (submitted by Tom Feltz, 42, Belvidere, product placement specialist)
Vince McMahon To a certain extent, Mr. Feltz is right. It was designed that way. When we separated into two, fans would not be able to see all their favorites at once. That is a negative. The positive of the brand separation is that it allows new stars such as Randy Orton and John Cena ... to emerge. The brand extension is working well for us. As far as interest waning, some of our live events have not been as populated as well as we want. But in the long run, the talent will be stronger and both brands will be stronger as a result.
Question: Why don't the WWE divas wrestle much on "SmackDown!"? (submitted by Tina Studer, 28, Rockford, day-care provider)
Vince McMahon We don't have that many divas. There will be an effort to bring more divas in. I would suggest that the general manager of "SmackDown!" will acquire a number who did not make it into the (search) finals, probably within 30 days.
Question: Will a pay-per-view event ever come from Rockford? (submitted by Robin Dismuke, 36, Rockford, food services technician)
Vince McMahon It's inevitable; a matter of time.
Question: Who do you think is the best wrestler of all time, and why? (submitted by DeVonte Joiner, 12, sixth-grader)
Vince McMahon I really can't say. It depends on how you define "best wrestler." Some would say the best from a technical standpoint was Lou Thesz. From a showmanship standpoint, some would say Antonino Rocca or Hulk Hogan. (But does McMahon have a personal favorite?) Only when I look in the mirror.
Question: Do fans' ideas ever make their way on to "RAW" or "SmackDown!"? If so, name a few, and tell how fans can submit ideas. (submitted by Jerry Smith, 42, Machesney Park, service technician)
Vince McMahon We listen to our audience, sort of like a focus group at every live event. They chant names, come up with expressions. We try to move along who they think is popular. The problem is when there is no booing or cheering. As far as fans wanting to get in on more action, there's Taboo Tuesday. (Fans can choose who faces Triple H for the World Heavyweight Championship and who goes against Chris Jericho for the Intercontinental Championship. Also, Ric Flair is scheduled to wrestle Randy Orton and fans will decide stipulations of the match.)
Question: Over the years, we've seen your wife, Linda, your daughter, Stephanie, and your son, Shane involved in the WWE story line and even wrestling in the ring. Will any of them (or you) be involved in the ring anytime soon? (submitted by Murray Hanson, 56, Rockford, minister)
Vince McMahon There's the likelihood that one of the four of us will be in the next year.
Question: What are the requirements to become a professional wrestler, and what is the average income of a wrestler? Please be specific. (submitted by Brad Gasmund, 39, Rockford, mechanic)
Vince McMahon A wrestler has to be a good human being, someone you would take into your house to have dinner. This is a very difficult profession that requires unbelievable amounts of patience in terms of dealing with the public. Most people have a job that's 9 to 5. Unlike them, our stars are considered "on" all the time, whether they're having dinner with a wife or girlfriend. They are the most recognized stars in the world. They don't hide under helmets. The public can be rude, and they can misunderstand. Sometimes the wrestlers have to say, "Can you wait until I'm finished eating?" It requires diplomacy. There's no question that it requires stamina. You almost have to be in love with the public or it's difficult to deal with them. Average annual wrestler income? $200,000 to $250,000.
Question: Where do you see professional wrestling 10 years from now, in terms of popularity, style, etc.? (submitted by Tim Garner, 38, Machesney Park, factory worker)
Vince McMahon That's difficult to say. We will take our performances and mold them into whatever the audience wants. The popularity is growing by leaps and bounds. Anyone outside the U.S. can't get enough of our culture. I say the WWE is America's greatest export. It shows our freedom of expression. It will be a lot more popular than it is now. If the audience wants us to be more avant-garde, that is what we will be. If they want us to be more conservative, that is what we will be.
Question: What progress has the WWE made in becoming established as a player in the movie and music industries? (submitted by Dan DiMario, 25, DeKalb, Northern Illinois University student)
Vince McMahon We have already set ourselves up in the music industry with platinum albums. John Cena has an album coming out in January. And we have one coming out Nov. 16called "Theme Addict." It's all of our superstar entrance themes, and it's spectacular. Our first film being recorded in Australia is "The Marine" starring John Cena. It's about a young man discharged from the Marine Corps trying to find his way. It will be distributed by Fox. Our next film in the works will star Kane. It'll be a horror flick, like "Friday the 13th." He is somewhat of a monster. This is a logical extension of what we do. We are really in the storytelling business. And we use a lot of music, hence, music is a logical extension.
Question: What else would you like fans and readers to know?
Vince McMahon That whoever came up the concept of "Screw Capital of the World" for Rockford should be fired. It's important to know about perceptions outside the factory environment in Rockford. There are certain connotations, that people are busy doing other things.