In one way or another, everyone who has watched a single second of World Wrestling Entertainment television has put money into the pockets of the company’s CEO, Vince McMahon. Even if they don’t actually pay any money to watch the show, viewers are giving McMahon money by increasing his ratings and making him more appealing to advertisers. With this in mind, it might be interesting to know all signs show the guy hates the living guts of some 90% of his audience, regardless of how happy he is to spend their money.
All right, maybe we need to back up a bit. McMahon has never actually come out and claimed any sort of disdain for his fans, or the WWE Universe as he would call them. On the contrary, McMahon repeatedly claims to adore anyone kindly enough to watch his product. The thing is, by all appearances, there’s little or no truth to this claim. While McMahon probably wishes he loved his audience, in recent years especially, the two entities have been unable to come to terms on several major issues. Based on McMahon’s steadfast refusal to listen to his fans, it really isn’t that big of a stretch to say he doesn’t much care for them on a personal level. Keep reading for the specifics on these 15 signs Vince McMahon and WWE hates their own audiences.
15 The Longstanding Obsession With Hillbillies
Pretty much from the day Vince McMahon took over the WWE Universe from his father, one thing fans have noted about the guy is that he has a pretty unique sense of humor. Amongst McMahon’s odder comedic obsessions is the idea of hillbillies, rednecks, and other questionable terms for people who live in the Southern United States and act in a stereotypical manner. The earliest examples of this are seen in Hillbilly Jim and his weird extended family, followed by The Godwinns and most recently Jamie Noble. It would be one thing had McMahon simply guffawed at an odd cliché, yet based on his commentary during the earliest examples, it often felt like McMahon believed these characters were the perfect representation of his own audience. If not that, he at least assumed everyone found this lowest common denominator humor as hilarious as he does, which is a little insulting, if not an outright sign of disdain.
14 Mocking JR As A Stand-In For Loyal Viewers
Accepting that the hillbilly thing may be a slight stretch insofar as Vince McMahon probably only views a portion of his audience like his most simplistic creations, there’s still plenty of subtle hints in his programming that he doesn’t much care for wrestling fans. One major trend throughout WWE in the past several decades is that the legendary Hall of Fame announcer Jim Ross has been mocked and insulted in every way imaginable throughout his career with the company. This is despite many fans viewing Ross as the most respectable and knowledgeable commentator in the sport’s history, a fact many believe is exactly the reason McMahon treats him so poorly. It’s not that McMahon mocks JR because fans like him; it probably has a lot more to do with their working relationship. However, based on their identification with JR, most fans believe they would develop a similar relationship, and end up getting treated the same way.
13 The Announcers Lie About How Fans Feel
Part of the reason Vince McMahon doesn’t care for Jim Ross on the same level fans do is that Good Old JR refuses to lie to the audience. Sure, he’ll plug an upcoming main event regardless of what he imagines the quality will be, but “bowling shoe ugly” terminology will let insiders know what he really thought. On the other hand, all announcers to follow JR have been far more willing to serve as McMahon’s literal puppets, saying whatever the hell he tells them to, regardless of whether or not it’s true. This can include areas one would think are impossible to lie about, like telling his audience how they feel. However, on a fairly regular basis now, McMahon instructs his announcers to pretend negative reactions to good guys and cheers for bad guys are audiences “having fun,” pointing out they “don’t usually act this way,” although they absolutely do.
12 Fan Reactions Are Dramatically Edited
In the defense of Vince McMahon’s announcers (and not necessarily the man himself), it’s entirely possible they don’t even know it when they lie about audience reactions. McMahon is totalitarian enough to demand they not watch any programming he doesn’t approve of, and since they’re obviously busy during the live shows, this means they can only really study the recap versions that appear in future shows. Unfortunately, recaps of WWE events have been less accurate than usual lately, because McMahon is heavily editing them to better fit the narrative he’s trying to sell. This mostly includes silencing boos directed at Roman Reigns and filling the gap with cheers. Naturally, these cheers are usually taken from other points in the show, when whomever Roman was wrestling that night made an appearance. If this isn’t a sign Vince McMahon hates his fans, it’s at least definite confirmation he doesn’t care about them in the slightest.
11 They Have No Idea How To Be A Star
Speaking of the announcers, perhaps we should take a closer look at one of them in particular for this next sign WWE hates its audience. John Bradshaw Layfield has been sitting behind the commentary booth for a good five years now, and he was a fairly prominent WWE superstar for about a decade prior to that. Throughout all this time, he also proudly and openly bullied a solid dozen of his coworkers, and was never once punished for his actions. On the contrary, rumors floated that Vince McMahon appreciated the practice, as it weeded out weaker personalities from the business. Fans eventually caught on to how horrible this behavior was, and have taken to chanting “Fire Bradshaw” at select WWE events. Despite this loud public opinion, JBL remains employed to this day, and apparently is still on very good terms with McMahon on a personal level.
10 Extremely Old Ideas Are Getting Rehashed
The idea that wrestling happens in cycles has been around for quite some time now, and it may be true in terms of the sport’s popularity. That said, seasonal trends should have nothing to do with WWE using the same damn storylines over and over again, especially if they become overwhelmingly outdated with evolving times. For example, running an evil foreigner as the most important character in the company simply does not work in the modern era, when most rational human beings are into the whole equality thing. Unfortunately, Vince McMahon couldn’t care less about his audience understanding the concept of racial unity, and keep shoving horribly racist storylines down the audience’s throats. Given this specific example, McMahon rehashing old ideas is actually a sign he hates the audience twice over, as we can assume he’s not too fond of non-American viewers with how much time he spends mocking and insulting them on his programming.
9 Wrestlers Are Pushed At Random And Independently Of Crowd Response
Since we’re on the subject of Jinder Mahal, it may as well be time to get on to the fact Vince McMahon’s apathy and disdain for his audience has extended to how he books the WWE Championship. Once the most prized possession in all of wrestling, the WWE Championship, is now a meaningless prop McMahon gives to whomever he feels like at the time, with absolutely no concern whatsoever to how the audience reacts to his choices. Mahal is merely the most obvious example of this, though the year 2017 already started going down the path when a blander-than-ever Randy Orton was given his 13th boring reign with the gold. In both cases, audiences sat on their hands the entire time, yet McMahon kept entertaining himself with these talentless wrestlers on top without a care in the world. Because he hates his viewers, he’s going to keep pushing the low level superstars harder than ever before.
8 They’ve Grown Increasingly Corporate
At this point, perhaps it would be a good question to wonder why the issue of Vince McMahon hating his fans has only recently cropped up in the WWE Universe. People paying close attention could probably argue the signs were always there, but it does seem like now more than ever McMahon’s unabashed loathing has been on open display. For whatever reason, this seems to be directly linked to his increasing desire to seem as corporate and professional as humanly possible. In a manner of thinking, this makes perfect sense, as McMahon can control his roster however he wants and make them look and act whatever way he deems appropriate, but the audience is always a wild card that refuses to buck to such whims. Were an entire WWE arena to be filled with millionaire businessmen ready to cheer and boo whoever he told them, McMahon would give them unabashed adoration, yet that will obviously never happen.
7 Philanthropy Is Just Marketing To Them
Chances are a few people reading this list are shaking their heads and denying everything negative statement made about Vince McMahon and his company. After all, this is an organization that does endless charity work, usually for sick children, not to mention their countless overseas tours serving the men and women of the US Armed Forces. Well, about that…according to no less a source than Stephanie McMahon herself, none of these charitable endeavors are actually generous. All any of it amounts to is WWE trying their best to advertise and get their name out there in the most efficient way possible, or as Steph put it when quoting Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, “philanthropy is the future of marketing.” In a single careless tweet, McMahon threw away every ounce of good will the company had ever received, all the while most likely assuming she looked like a business genius for doing so.
6 They Refuse To Push Popular Superstars
Truth be told, all the bad will flowing through this list could easily get ignored if Vince McMahon and company would only give the fans what they want every once in a blue moon. All it takes it one magnetic personality on top of WWE for the fans to put up with a whole lot of garbage until the main event comes around. Unfortunately, whenever it looks like such a performer could be coming around today, McMahon cuts them off at the knees and knocks them down a peg for daring get popular. On a small scale, this began with Zack Ryder, and more recently superstars like Rusev, Shinsuke Nakamura, and Kevin Owens are repeatedly shunted into roles that don’t suit them in spite of massive popularity. Of course, none have felt this sting quite like Cesaro, who has been considered the most underrated wrestler around for several years in a row, only emboldening McMahon’s ignorance to his talents.
5 Trying To Bury Daniel Bryan
More so than any of the superstars previously mentioned for having their popularity ignored, Daniel Bryan created a true connection with wrestling fans everywhere over the past five years or so. Unfortunately, these were also the final years of Bryan’s time in the ring, yet that disappointing ending was almost inevitable with how horribly WWE was treating him up until then. The more fans supported Bryan, the harder Vince McMahon actively tried to make fans hate the guy, going so far as to label Daniel a “B+ Player” on television through his conduits Triple H and daughter Stephanie. The rage seen on major WWE executives' faces during segments where they had to hear the group vociferously applaud Bryan’s efforts was palpable, and at times, it hardly looked to be part of the show. McMahon was genuinely furious a superstar he didn’t appreciate was getting over organically, and he may never forgive his fans for allowing it.
4 Roman Reigns
The obvious flipside to all this talk about WWE ignoring wrestlers the audience actually wants to see is that someone less preferable needs to get promoted in their absence. To Vince McMahon, this means one man and one man alone, who happens to be the last person anyone in his vast viewership has any interest in watching wrestle: Roman Reigns. Despite all best efforts by WWE to turn Reigns into the company’s preeminent superstar of the current era, one would be hard-pressed to find a single wrestling fan over the age of 10 who can stand watching one of The Big Dog’s matches, and that goes double for his painfully scripted promos. Every victory Reigns earns is another stab in the fans hearts, and a reminder WWE is no longer about them in the slightest.
3 They Double Down On The Things Fans Hate
Apologies if at any point this list has started to feel a little bit repetitive, but if that’s the case, it’s only because Vince McMahon isn’t even capable of being creative in how he shows his anger anymore. Granted, it’s not like the situation has really come up in the past. It used to be WWE reacted in a rational manner when fans hated the product, which is to say they made the appropriate chances to increase the ratings and satisfy paying customers. Nowadays, however, WWE sees fans booing their lungs out at horrible matches culminating poorly plotted storylines and decides not only that this is what they wanted, but they need more of it, and fast. It’s barely an exaggeration to say Vince McMahon will repeat any idea that particularly upsets the crowd these days, presumably because he takes some sort of pleasure in knowing the power he has.
2 WrestleMania Has Become The Ultimate Troll Job
As with almost everything in the WWE Universe, the evidence that Vince McMahon hates his audience all boils down to the biggest day of the sports entertainment year—WrestleMania. Bizarrely, in stark contrast to WrestleMania’s status as the biggest and most bombastic wrestling program on the Gregorian calendar, it has somehow also earned a reputation as being unquestionably the annual worst 7-10 hours of content WWE produces, as well. By now, the sole purpose of WrestleMania seems to be McMahon trying to find out how many tens of thousands of people he can piss off at the same time, no doubt laughing hysterically when an equally massive sea of humanity floods back into the arena the subsequent year. Twice in a row, the show has ended with the most hated superstar in the company getting booed of the building for acts that were supposed to be seen as heroic, and if that doesn’t say it all, we don’t know what will.
1 Vince Will Never Retire No Matter How Bad It Gets
To lay things out in extremely general terms, Vince McMahon basically has three options on how to get the WWE Universe back on his side. McMahon can either change the course of his company entirely to try and make them happy, he can say screw it and keep doing what he’s doing, or he can walk away and give the company to his children, letting them deal with it. Everything our list has offered thus far should stand as a testament that B is much preferred answer to A, but that doesn’t explain why option C hasn’t come into play yet. The answer is deceptively simple, in that McMahon is never going to retire no matter how mad his fans are at the ways he’s destroying his very own legacy. Knowing full well that he could walk away and get praised as a hero whenever he so chooses, McMahon instead chooses to continue living his life as a villain, and there’s no chance in hell he’s going to change his mind.