https://www.forbes.com/sites/blakeoestriecher/2019/10/08/vince-mcmahon-reportedly-thinks-some-wwe-stars-are-too-pro-wrestling/#4215fd8f38f0WWE fans have been in an uproar all week regarding the controversial ending of the Hell in a Cell main event between Seth Rollins and Bray Wyatt, but Vince McMahon had an interesting response to all the backlash.
According to Fightful Select, many WWE superstars were baffled by the stoppage finish of “The Fiend” vs. Rollins, with one superstar even referring to the bout as as “bizarre” and another saying “none of us even know what to say.” The site also reports that McMahon–despite initially laughing off the reaction–“knew he’d messed up” when the crowd wholeheartedly rejected the finish, filling the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento with chants of “Refunds!” and “AEW!” after Wyatt kicked out of a ton of Rollins’ finishing maneuvers only for the referee to stop the match in quite confusing fashion.
But even though McMahon apparently knows he got that finish wrong, to put it mildly, the WWE boss also seemed to brush off some of the blame for the disappointing outcome. Fightful Select (h/t Wrestling-Edge) also reports that McMahon believes some of the company’s stars are “too pro wrestling”–whatever that means:
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According to a report by Fightful Select, when asked about the ending to Hell In A Cell, one superstar noted what Vince McMahon feels. It is reported that McMahon “has insinuated that some on the roster are ‘too pro wrestling.’”
Fightful Select (h/t Wrestling-Edge)
That same superstar referred to the ending of the Wyatt/Rollins match as an “embarrassment” and said it was “maybe the worst they’ve ever insulted fans intelligence.” Others backstage considered the finish to be a “disaster,” and based on the overwhelmingly negative crowd reaction both inside the arena and across social media platforms, the finish to Wyatt vs. Rollins was one of the worst and most frustrating match endings in recent WWE history.
But what does it mean when, following a match like that, McMahon says some stars are “too pro wrestling?” While that isn’t totally clear, it doesn’t take very long to figure out.
McMahon, of course, refers to his television product as “sports entertainment” and his wrestlers as “superstars,” two terms that have been a hot topic of debate over the years. WWE’s head honcho reportedly has a seemingly never-ending list of words that he has supposedly banned from WWE at different points in time. Among those words: Wrestler, professional wrestling, hospital, and belt. That list speaks volumes about the micromanagement of McMahon, who believes that WWE is more than just pro wrestling and that his superstars are more than just “pro wrestlers.” During an interview on the FOX News Rundown podcast last year (h/t Wrestling Inc), WWE legend Kane revealed what Stephanie McMahon told him about why WWE refers to its superstars by that name instead of simply “pro wrestlers:”
“I remember Stephanie McMahon once saying there's a reason why we're not called wrestlers. We're called superstars, because there's so much more that we do. Even within our WWE careers, all the things that we're asked to do. Our promotion, dealing with the media, all of that stuff is more than just a guy or gal in the ring for 10 minutes a night and put on a show."
It’s long been known that Vince doesn’t see WWE as a pro wrestling show. Rather, he views it as a form of entertainment that just so happens to have pro wrestling as its main medium for storytelling. However, Vince’s reliance on the entertainment aspect of WWE has come under fire throughout the company’s history, especially in recent years when WWE’s focus on storylines outside of the ring has often overshadowed what goes on inside the squared circle. But that hasn’t prevented WWE and Vince himself from signing a boatload of talented stars who might be considered to be “too pro wrestling” if that means what it seems to mean. A star who is “too pro wrestling” likely has a deep appreciation for in-ring performances and probably made a name for himself due to how well he performs inside the ropes. In examining WWE’s current roster, there are more stars than ever before who might be considered “too pro wrestling” or have a love for pro wrestling the way it once was: With no need for convoluted finishes and over-the-top, nonsensical theatrics.
The main event at Hell in a Cell was defined by both of those things. The finish of the bout couldn’t have been more of a mess, and everything about the match itself–from all of The Stomps by Rollins to the lighting to the stoppage in a match that has no disqualifications–is frustrating for fans and superstars themselves who know that there were a million better ways to end one of the most highly anticipated matches of the year. Whether a fan watching from the audience or a star sitting in the back in the gorilla position watching on a monitor, anyone who is “too pro wrestling” is really just someone who wants a logical match outcome that tells a good story.
Wyatt vs. Rollins featured neither of those things, and because the fans rejected it at a time when WWE’s competition from promotions like AEW is tougher than it’s been at any point in the past 20 years, Vince is simply attempting to shrug off that reaction as if it doesn’t matter. It’s like he said, “Oh well, pals. This is entertainment, not pro wrestling.” News flash: It’s both, and there was nothing about the outcome of Hell in a Cell that was entertaining
So, yeah, in the eyes of Vince, those who hated that finish may be “too pro wrestling,” but given that many of Vince’s paying fans feel the same way, maybe the majority of his fans are “too pro wrestling,” too.