Skip to main content

QOTD #44: CEO of WWE

Today's Question: Let’s say that hypothetically speaking, of course, that Vince McMahon were to hire you to run WWE, with one mission: fix what’s wrong with the company, and turn things around. He would (again, hypothetically) give you complete autonomy over RAW, SmackDown, WWE Network, etc. with one caveat: You cannot turn John Cena heel. What would be the first 3 things you would do as the new head of WWE?

Yesterday's Question: I'll keep it pretty simple. What do you as a wrestling fan consider to be the greatest gimmick/character in the history of Wrestling?

Some of the answers for this one were fairly across the board, bit the first post set the tone….

Chris B: Basically its the Undertaker so everyone is going to argue about second place. That would be, IMO, "Mr. McMahon."

Marv Cresto: Raven, duh. People are mentioning lots of cool gimmicks but almost all of them were just the guy "turned up to 11" as Austin would always say. The character Raven and the person Scott Levy couldn't be more polar opposites. Though Taker's a great choice too, hard to really argue that one. 

A few people said Raven – this would be Paul Heyman’s greatest creation, and I’m not all that sure Raven and Scott Levy are polar opposites. I find the Raven character fascinating to this day.

The Lurker: He gets a lot of praise and a lot of grief, but the American Dream, Dusty Rhodes is a great character. The son of a plumber came from nothing to achieve his American Dream and take on the forces of EEE-vil in the form of the Horsemen. One of the best things about the character is he didn't always win like hogan/cena . . he won just often enough.

Dusty didn’t always win????? I think we were watching 2 different things in the 80s?

Wow: John Cena. He rises above hate, beats the odds and of course because Cena wins.

Wow indeed

X-Man: The Road Warriors. Turned a couple of average wrestlers with awesome physiques into one of the most decorated tag teams of all-time. Drew money everywhere they went, whether as heels or faces... influenced UW, Sting, Powers Of Pain, Demolition, and more.. and yes I know that the movie inspired them, but the gimmick's success inspired those wrestlers.

Kind of surprising The Road Warriors didn't get more responses. The look. The face paint. I think as far as ring attire, the spiked shoulderpads have to be the most awesome visual anybody had ever seen up to that point (and probably since).

Sweet Lee: Mr. Perfect and Stone Cold. Such simple ideas, really - and nobody could have pulled them off but the guys that played them. At least that's how it feels to me.

Paul Meekin: Mean Gene Okerland. It takes a strong personality to take all the insanity of pro wrestling as seriously as he did. He felt like a 'real' broadcaster interviewing 'real' competitors, and was always stuck in the middle of the insane happenings, which he always played off with a strange gravitas. I remember staying up late as a kid just to watch WWE Confidental to get some good 'drama' tips from the guy as it pertains to reacting realistically to unrealistic situation.

Starscream Live: Kamala the Ugandan giant! A vicious svage who is in the ring not to win a match, but to destroy his opponent. He made his rounds through all the territories and drew money in most of them.

These were the type of responses I was hoping I would get. By the way, to hear Lawler describe how he came up with the idea a few weeks ago on Stone Cold podcast: genius.

Jeremy Rineheart:  Stone Cold Steve Austin. The character was a huge breath of fresh air in the stale WWF. Off topic, but has anyone noticed how butthurt fans of The Rock get if you don't say he's the greatest of a time?

Bobby: That's an easy one: Stone Cold Steve Austin.

Mike_N: Stone Cold Steve Austin. Does what he wants when he wants to whomever he wants. Either that or Battle Kat.

Battle Kat huh? Yeah this was pretty much a two-horse race. Stone Cold or The Undertaker

Jeremy Rinehart: Vince Russo because he booked a huge retirement for QOTD only to bring it back days later.

Kind of like you did with your answer earlier in the blog?????

Brian Nielsen: Million Dollar Man. Bought his own belt and everything. Stone Cold is bad-ass, but he never KICKED A BASKETBALL AWAY FROM A KID to save $100

The Fuj: CM Punk comes to mind as well. As a heel, he is drug free so that makes him better than you. As a face, he channels that straight-edge discipline into being the best in the world. It never is a stretch for him. Plus it works that he is so damn good on the mic to convey his messages. Because he could just be Bret Hart as a face, but it means so much more.
As a heel he could be generic heel #580584, but his real lifestyle gives him so much character depth.

Well said. It resonates because most of us know somebody like that – who lived the straight-edge goody-two-shoes lifestyle, and acted all “I’m better than you” in High School. In a similar sense, it’s what got Kurt Angle over with his 3 I’s all those years ago – albeit in a different manner. Plus, it's pretty easy to dislike a smartass. 

BooBoo1782: As Scott noted - in the King Lear Rant, right? - there's a fundamental difference between gimmicks and characters: Gimmicks sell T-shirts, characters sell tickets. So, it makes sense to divide the answer into gimmicks and characters.
Best gimmick: Hulk Hogan, "Hulkamania" era. As a character, let's be honest, there was never much to Hogan: he loves his country and he's really bad at keeping friends. But the gimmick...well, he certainly fit the bill in the t-shirt sales department, and the whole shirt-ripping, Hulking-up thing fit perfectly into the over-the-top 80s zeitgeist.
Best character: Stone Cold is a great choice here, but I'm going to go with the Three Faces of Foley from Mick's main WWE run (1996-2000). From the "deranged Mankind" who was able to take Undertaker to places he really hadn't been before in terms of both match quality and character work, to the self-deprecating fun of Dude Love, to the "human Muppet" Mankind of 1999 and the 2000 return of Cactus Jack on a mission to destroy HHH, finishing up with the "role model for nerds" Commissioner Foley, Mick did great character work for five years, working with a wide range of partners and opponents and really getting the best out of just about all of them.

LeeLeePhoenix: Legend Killer, Randy Orton. That's a gimmick you basically can't screw up. The negative is that you can only use it very sporadically, so you must choose wisely. And Randy wasn't a wise choice (to most of us).

Petrock: Bikertaker. That was a license. To. Print. Money.

Lenny Vowels: For gimmick commitment overall, I'm going with pre-2000 Undertaker, no question.

Mike Mears: Maybe I'm being too cute with the answer but I think I'd have to say Undertaker, if for nothing else but efficiency's sake. So little to that gimmick, and just about any tall wrestler could've pulled it off because he really had very little- almost nothing, really- in the way of match quality until the second decade of his career. Maybe I'm being too dismissive of Mark Calloway's talents in saying any tall dude could've done it- he did nail it, after all, and started having near-annual MOTYCs in his fucking mid-40's- but think about how little he actually had to do for such a long time. And he was a main eventer for 20 years with that character, with only a three-year interlude doing anything remotely different, without any drop at all in popularity from 1990 to 2014. Perhaps he never was a singular draw the way Hogan/Austin/Rock/etc. were, but he wasn't...not a draw either, if that double negative makes sense. Also, as we know most of the best "gimmicks" are extensions of a performer's real-life personality. That's why wrestling is so great, because it blurs the line intentionally. Punk, Bryan, Stone Cold, Bret, HHH, Flair, and so on...we know we're seeing a lot of who the real person is in those fictional characters. But Undertaker was a straight-up cartoon character that remained insanely over through Hulkamania, the New Generation, the Attitude Era, the post-AE doldrums, all the way into the "Reality Era" of today. He was over as fuck all the way from Hulk to Punk.
The more I think about this, the more I think it's a really obvious answer.

I would have to agree with the consensus of the blog that The Undertaker’s gimmick is the greatest ever. What’s the worst thing you can do to another man? Kill him? So What if he is already dead? The intimidation factor is through the roof. To basically piggyback off what Mike Mears said, the gimmick can’t be too far from what his personality. Over the years, Mark Calaway and The Undertaker have become essentially the same entity.

I’m working out the kinks here, during a classic day of BS-ing here at work (and don't act like I'm the only one) but I’ll be back with the new blog tomorrow.


  1. First thing I would do is fire ALL of the current writers and then hire WRESTLING minds - Dutch, Heyman, Jake...anybody who has demonstrated exceptional knowledge of the wrestling business, what it takes to get things over, the internal logic of wrestling, etc. Fuck all the Hollywood sitcom writers - wrestling needs wrestling people.

    I'll get back to you on the #2 and #3.

  2. #1 - Fire the entire writing crew, there's really no sense in explaining this one as I expect it to be every single poster that replies to this post's number one act.

    #2 - Fire Kevin Dunn and hire some fresh out of college New Media kid to replace him, everything about the show needs an overhaul, the presentation, the sets, the music, the video packages, all of that stuff hasn't changed a single bit since Attitude, it's time to drag the entire product into the 2010's.

    #3 - The entire marketing team goes, sort of in conjunction with #2, but their marketing strategy is decades old. I think half the reason the Network is struggling is that they don't have a guy who understands web marketing behind the promotion of it. When they do bits with, say, a Federline type character that stuff should be viral the very next day, it should be all over reddit and Facebook and everywhere else.

    The product in general just hasn't changed to reflect the times at all, which explains the ratings basically stagnating. I have no idea what could actually fix the week to week stories but it all starts with the corporate structure in the back.

  3. 1. Let Dutch and Heyman book the company
    2. When doing interviews, mandate that when your music hits, you hit the ring. Steve Austin never just stood at the ramp.
    3. Stop briging back old-timers who get bigger pops than the current stars, it jsut reminds people how much better things used to be.

  4. 1. Build up champions with wins and not constantly have them job in non-title matches.
    2. Continuous pushes and none of this start and stop business like they have done with Cesaro, Ziggler.
    3. Do away with the authority figure storylines.

  5. Speaking of the Hollywood Sitcom writers, I was just watching Friends the other day and saw David Lagana in the credits lol.

  6. 1. Collect underpants
    2. ????
    3. Profit

  7. Eliminate share holders and make WWE a private company again.

  8. Charismatic eNegro Jef VinsonAugust 5, 2014 at 9:24 AM

    "The product in general just hasn't changed to reflect the times at all."
    You being in charge instead of McMahon fixes that.

  9. 1. Take the bottom 20 guys on the roster and create tag teams out of them to give the tag team division a reason to exist and make it like the awesome tag division the WWF had in the 1980s. It gives the guys something to do and eliminates the need to lay off talent.

    2. Merge the U.S. and Intercontinental titles, stop jobbing the champion to set up feuds, and make that title mean what it used to mean.

    3. Reduce RAW to two hours. I understand that the contract with NBC Universal may not allow for this without their consent, so if it's not possible ...

    3. Do away with authority figures on TV. If HHH is going to stay on TV, it's either as a full-time competitor or the leader of a stable (a la Dibiase and the Million Dollar Corporation), and Stephanie can be his bottom bitch.

  10. Turn Raw into a 2 hour show and prompted as brand that is the traditional WWE Brand of Sports entertainments

    Take all the other shows and turn them into completely new brands with different styles and booking.

    Main event becomes a Chikara like show featuring comic themes and lucha/ puro.

    NXT is the developmental

    Smackdown becomes a traditional old school brand.

    The idea is to give the fan different options and not the constant one style of wwe that is shoved down our throats.

    Cutting back on writers and hiring more wrestling guys to book.

    Pushing guys based off organic responses.

  11. Charismatic eNegro Jef VinsonAugust 5, 2014 at 9:29 AM

    After making Layla, AJ and Naomi dance topless on my desk I'd:

    1.) Redo the roster split. Heyman books Smackdown, Dusty or Dutch books RAW. Unify the IC and US belts and make it the main belt on Smackdown. Both shows to be independent of each other except for PPV's. (save the Diva's and tag titles which will float between shows.) All wrestlers that are not doing anything will be forced to find a tag partner, become a manager/valet or be fired. Wrestlers need TV time to develop their characters, and they can't do that if they're not booked. Go to the picture in picture interview style to maximize match time. The more established wrestlers like Cena do not need a lot of TV time so give it to the up and comers that could use it.

    2.) Find a new announce team that acts like they care about the product. I'm tired of the rambling, schilling and overall incompetence of the three idiots they have on RAW.
    3.) Whether it be through Facebook, Twitter or planting people in the crowd do whatever it takes to find out what the current fanbase wants and tailor the product to it. If there is an overwhelming desire to push a certain wrestler give him the opportunity to have his moment. If he drops the ball no one can say you didn't try. If you hear that the crowd is not responding favorably to something tone it down or scrap it.

  12. 1. Results needs to matter again. Titles have importance. Have well-defined divisions where fans can watch their favorites climb the ranks.
    2. Stop writing scripts for wrestlers to memorize like zombies. Give them some leeway.
    3. Less focus on 'authority' characters. Maybe not so far as going back to the Jack Tunney days, but stop doing junk like Stephanie as the main event and Johnny Ace getting tons of screen time. Vince was lightning in a bottle, stop thinking that can happen again.

  13. 1. Nobody's allowed to stay on the roster more than ten years. No exceptions.

    2. One world title. One midcard title. One set of tag titles.

    3. WWE films goes away forever.

  14. Page....break......

  15. Eh, I prefer more of the Richard Branson approach, that shouldn't be my job but since it is let me find a lot of great people to put around me that know what's going on.

    Somewhere out there is Stamford marketing grad that still has 3:16 shirt from when he was 8 in a box at his mom's house that could make this whole thing relevant again if he was just given a shot.

    Raw has basically been putting out the same rap/metal song since it was a thing in 1999.

  16. 1. Bring back the cruiserweight division. Change is good.

    2. Give the performers more input on their character. Less scripted, more from the heart.

    3. Good-bye evil boss/authority.

    4. Wins and losses matter. No more losing streaks before a championship win.

    5. Less "writers" and more wrestling people.

    6. Make the titles mean something again.

  17. Charismatic eNegro Jef VinsonAugust 5, 2014 at 9:49 AM

    We're saying the same thing. McMahon probably has a ton of people like that who were fired because he was stuck in his ways and was surrounded by yes men that talked him out of it.
    You being in that spot gives that same marketing person a shot to shine.

  18. Ahh gotcha, it is very early and I am very high.

  19. I was going to post on the last Q that JBL is just a Million Dollar Man rip-off. Doe's that make him the Poor Man's Rich Man?

  20. 1. Turn Cena heel
    2. Copy a comic book storyline
    3. Kill "Paul" and Stephanie

  21. I would create a kayfabe top ten list of contenders. There is so many instant rivalries that you can get from just that. On any given Raw, have number 2 and number 6 have a match with the implication that number 2 doesn't want to fall down the rankings. Number 1 is of course the number one contender for the WWE championship, and gets a title shot unless there is some sort of blood feud that dictates the champion must be in another match on the pay per view.

    Mean / tough gimmicks. We have one face right now that does what he wants, when he wants, in Dean Ambrose. We need more. Also need more heels that are downright mean and insulting to the other wrestlers. We need bad guys who will berate the fans, and not just about their poorly performing local sports team. I want a heel that tells Chris Jericho his band is a failure. I want a face that will go to the middle of the Wyatts ranch with a pipe and look for them, after he's mugged 3 on 1 backstage at Raw (not one that will call them duck dynasty in response).

    Storylines with a beginning, middle, and end. They do have the capability to do this. Look at the "Evolution thumbs down" storyline from late '04-Wrestlemania 21. Orton gets the thumbs down and gets kicked out, Batista gets used and manipulated, Triple H wins EC and there's a thumbs down tease, Batista finally reaches a breaking point and gives the thumbs down at the contract signing before unleashing hell. It had a beginning (young stars recruited), middle (one star is turfed, the other is catching on that he's being used) and an end (the Wrestlemania match). Not surprisingly, this simple storyline boosted tv ratings and drew a good Wrestlemania buyrate.

    Main Event having a...Main Event. It's on the network, it's new programming, that show needs to be used to its full potential. I believe it was the first episode of this show that had CM Punk vs Sheamus, and it was an intriguing matchup, as both guys were protected and on very lengthy winning streaks at the time. Have one, solid match each week, and devote the hour of programming around that match. Feature the hell out of the guys, get their remarks with Renee Young backstage beforehand, have cool entrances and drawn out ring introductions, a lengthy match, and break it down quickly and concisely after the bell. If there's time left in the hour, have a standby match available.

    Listen to the audience. If wrestlers are getting cheered or booed, give them more tv time. If a wrestler hooks the fans with a great match, reward them with another long match. No more needing damn-near close to a revolution to get the Daniel Bryans of the world into the main event.

  22. First thing would be to try and make the WWE Network a better nostalgia trip for older fans, with a clear schedule of uploads and more of a variety with the live feed.

    Going towards the in-ring action, changing the format of Monday Night Raw. If we must have three hours, which I assume is within a contract with the USA Network, the first hour will build the rest with some squash matches to cut down on the high-profile matches given away on TV. A lot of people here may think the enhancement matches are passe and anachronistic, but I think they would help to build talent up as opposed to trading wins back and forth with Kofi or R-Truth or Fandango.

    The third item goes along with the second: rebuild the credibility of the midcard. Get rid of the US Title, unify it with the IC belt and make sure the IC Champ looks strong consistently and seems like a top contender to the WWE World Heavyweight International Big Gold Belt Championship.

    Once those three things are done, reformatting the PPVs so they actually means something again will be a much easier task.

    Vince! Hey Vince! Call me, baby! I know you have my resume somewhere in Titan Towers!

  23. Interesting counting.

  24. 1. Make titles mean something again. Champs are not always jobbing to the guys they are feuding with on RAW.

    2. Fire all the Hollywood Writers and put Arn Anderson, Dusty Rhodes, Paul Heyman, Dutch Mantel, Michael Hayes, HHH on the booking committee. Also any really stupid ideas Vince comes up with will cause him to receive 100,000 volts of electricity to run through his veins.

    3. Make all the wrestlers look unique and them not all be the same cookie cutter bullshit we see on a weekly basis. That means hiring guys that look and wrestle different. Also guys who aren't doing anything are put into a tag team.

    Also just because, throw a shitload of money at Brock Lesnar to make him appear on tv more and book him as a super unstoppable monster. Then have Cena beat him in the buildup to a career death match at a Wrestlemania in a throwaway match on Main Event with a distraction roll up finish. This will of course result in me having the world's biggest tax write off and lose several million dollars. This all of course will lead to Kevin Nash texting himself to some how acquire $1 million.

  25. 1 - Work on new ways to market to get new people interested in WWE, not try to wrest as much money as you can out of the already established fans.

    2 - Don't ever appear as part of the product.

    3 - Hire quality people to do quality work. Hire outside of wrestling for new ideas and listen to them. And don't hire anyone with a lot of grudges, because I will hire whomever I think will help the company.

  26. 1) Reduce Raw back to 2 hours. If not possible, expand the damn roster a bit, even if it means bringing in developmental guys as squash guys. If I have to see Rusev face Sin Cara, or Rybaxel face Goldust again I’ll die. I will surely die. WCW couldn’t get away with 3 hour shows and they had a roster of 26,000 people. There’s far too much repetition. A week before Battleground, Raw had a Miz vs Sheamus match, then plugged Main Event to watch a Miz vs Sheamus match. Mix things up!

    2) Change the Raw set. I know cosmetic changes are usually band-aids, but Raw, and Smackdown, look so stale. It looks exactly the same as it has for the last decade. When they put that darker mat down for contract signings and things, even that different colour ring makes things seem fresher. Get an interior decorator in, stat.

    3) Ditch the writers. They all hate their jobs anyway. There’s a bunch of smart people working as agents, let them book the whole show not just the finishes.

  27. And if they came up with a Repo Man ripoff that had the character pleading to allow his victims to rob them, would that make him Beggar Man Thief?

  28. 1. Institute a top 10 where the top three are guaranteed a world title shot within some period of the time and the IC title holder is guaranteed a top three spot. The goal is to bring the sport back to wrestling and make matches have a little more meaning as wrestlers try to get into the top 10 and top 3, so when Heath Slater beats Seth Rollins, there's some actual value to him.

    2. Start doing big surprises on the WWE Network shows. One of the ideas that came to mind after someone posted the awesome Brock backstabbing Triple H idea was making it mandatory that Brock defend the title, everyone assumes he's going to Raw but instead, he shows up on NXT and murders Zayn (playing plucky underdog). Since the Network shows are replayable, you don't need to announce big moments in advance and it will actually drive people there to subscribe to see, say, Chris Jericho's surprise return on Main Event more than them trying to heckle you into subscribing all night during Raw. You don't need to announce things in advance there because you're not trying to drive ratings, you're driving subscriptions.

    3. Demand that everyone respect continuity. Know the history, utilize it in storytelling, not just long term continuity, but short term. Make sure everything done at any time is taken into consideration going forward. Understand what you're trying to accomplish with, say, Cesaro taking Cena to the limit, and how that impacts booking two weeks later.

  29. Reduce Raw to 2 hours. I think it would make a huge difference.

    Make Smackdown a recap show.

    Make titles more meaningful.

  30. I should have included mandatory time off from in-ring action, but that's been discussed to death. I think WWE does a really, really poor job of utilizing people that are not able to wrestle, not keeping their characters on TV. There's no reason, for instance, someone like Christian can't be on TV, staying in view or the audience and building up whatever storyline he's going to return with and you could do the same with mandatory time off where guys aren't allowed to wrestle, get a break from the house show circuit, but are still on Raw.

  31. 1. Build up the midcard. Restore prestige to the IC title and create storylines/feuds that are meaningful and compelling. There is a lot of talent in the mid-card/tag division that goes by wasted just to fill time. Kofi and Ziggler are two of the most talented guys on the roster and their talents are wasted week in/week out because no emphasis is put into midcard feuds anymore.

    2. Bring back the brand split. Too many guys on one roster right now and all these guys sit backstage with nothing to do. It's a similar situation to late 90s WCW with all the guys just showing up to do nothing, or just to do a nothing match on Superstars.

    3. Cut out scripted promos for most talent. Some talent need scripted promos b/c they don't have promo skills, but the gifted guys on the mic need to be turned loose. Go back to bullet points and have wrestlers/Superstars speak from the heart. If they can't cut it, send them packing. These scripted promos that we are forced to watch every week just makes most of these guys' characters so bland. CM Punk got over as big as he did b/c they turned him loose on the mic. Imagine just how much more awesome Ambrose would be if they turned him loose on the mic. NXT is a great idea for talent development; they need to focus on NXT wrestlers cutting promos so their promos will be much more natural when they get to the main roster. I think they've given Bray Wyatt a little bit of freedom on the mic. How much better would Bo Dallas' charachter be if they let him loose on the mic rather than having to memorize his lines before coming out on camera. I think Bo would get over a lot better if he was allowed to speak his mind.

  32. I only need one.

    1. Put money into the Indys and make the WWE champions traveling champs and turn the Indys into the new terriorties with WWE as the NWA.

  33. Cooler_Than_GuntherAugust 5, 2014 at 10:23 AM

    aj's a devout god fearing married man. not sure he'd be down for that

  34. 4. Get Vince out of the announce team's ear. Cole and JBL would be much better if they were free to actually have their own chemistry. They don't do too bad with the JBL and Cole show, so why not trust them on their own on Monday nights without Vince constantly telling them what to say?


Post a Comment