While I always thought that Vince McMahon is somewhat embarrassed he’s in the wrestling business especially when he forces people to call it sports entertainment, he still used the WWE to promote the two biggest ventures outside of sports entertainment which were his two biggest failures.

The XFL and WBF were supposed to go beyond wrestling, yet Vince still felt the need to use his wrestlers and announcers to push these ventures. He had Jim Ross and Jesse Ventura as the main XFL announcers and Bobby Heenan as one of the commentators. There are quite a few sports viewers out there who have no interest in wrestling and don’t want anything to do with wrestling, so why would Vince do that if he wanted to get beyond wrestling? People who hate the pre-determined outcomes of pro wrestling might have assumed that the outcomes for both the XFL and WBF (which Dave Meltzer said was pre-determined) were pre-determined as well.

Also, with the George Zahorian trial going on, isn’t starting the WBF in 1991-1992 a really bad idea in sense of timing?

​It was in the works well before the Zahorian thing started going down, so you can’t really equate the two things. Plus the bodybuilding thing was hurt by far more than steroid scandals anyway.

As for Vince’s practices outside of wrestling, I think he continued to use his own guys because he’s a control freak who wanted to make sure he could have people who say and do exactly what he wanted, and if he’s using "legit" sports guys to call his stuff then he runs the risk of having someone say something he doesn’t want. Plus he’s not exactly known for his trusting nature anyway. ​

  • There’s also the impact of star power. The XFL wasn’t exactly awash with players who were well known–even for diehard college football fans… Compared to the WFL or USFL attempts to create a second football league, they weren’t putting their money into a talent war on the field.

    But…they did have some folks that millions of people were familiar with… And he used them in whatever ways he could.

    In hindsight, might it have helped him to have people with more football-specific credibility? Maybe…but, other than Jim Ross…he didn’t have much access to anyone like that. He had his wrestlers and his announcers. So, he used ’em.

    My girlfriend at the time happened to be in LA, visiting some friends, when the LA Xtreme had their first home game–and her friends snagged some free tickets. She was legitimately thrilled when The Rock came out to midfield to whip up the crowd before the game.

    She was less thrilled with the actual football game…and the extremely poor security in the stadium, and copious amounts of alcohol and encouraging of rowdy behavior…which lead them all to leave by half-time.

    She brought me back a shirt, though!

    • BODConscience

      I thought having the Rock there was out of place. Him being in character just came off corny when they’re trying to introduce an actual serious football game for new viewers who weren’t into wrestling. And of course as soon as you have King shouting puppies during the game any credibility that they had went right out the window.

      • I think they thought The Rock was hilarious…and a much bigger star than anyone playing in the game.

        I agree with you as far as Lawler…and Vince’s lechery…was a big turn off. We’ve come a long ways from “boys want violence and porn”…


  • Jevan

    I am very much looking forward to the ESPN “30 for 30” documentary on the XFL that’s coming soon. I just hope ESPN’s softball handling of WWE these days doesn’t leech into the filmmaking, and we wind up getting 2 hours of a puff piece “Oh, it was just ahead of its time!” narrative…

  • Kuetsar

    Vince was always the “one eyed king in the land of the blind” or the “world’s tallest midget” going up against fellow wrestling promoters. Its no wonder that he failed when he went up against real sharks. . .

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