Our newspapers in Sunday’s editions and today on our websites published a lengthy piece I wrote on Vince McMahon, who, with his wife, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Linda, built the World Wrestling Entertainment empire.
Vince, who doesn’t trust the press and doesn’t grant a lot of interviews, has been absent from the campaign trail, but not the campaign. Linda’s critics, Republicans and Democrats, have questioned her character/credentials by citing various decisions the couple made running WWE (she stepped down as CEO last fall) and past controversies involving their company.
Because Vince has at least three personas – the “character” he for years has played at WWE events and as part of ongoing soap operatic story lines, the controversial and sometimes hot-tempered executive that has appeared in various press accounts over the years, and the man he says he really is – we took a stab at answering the question: “Who is the real Vince McMahon?”
While I was working on the article, McMahon’s character suffered a beating in the WWE ring during a broadcast from The Arena at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport that myself and an editor attended. That storyline resulted in what I thought was a pretty humorous e-mail exchange I had with WWE spokesman Robert Zimmerman clarifying the fate of McMahon’s character. It shows what it is like to try and profile a professional wrestling executive who also plays one on TV:
Me: “So I know the night we attended the match at Harbor Yard Vince was beaten down at the end and taken away by stretcher. Where is that storyline currently? Has he made any additional appearances?”
Zimmerman: “It was Vince’s intention to write himself out and there are no plans for him to return to the ring. He has not made any additional appearances. But since it’s WWE, you never know.”
Me: “I was just wondering if, as part of the storyline, there have been any announcements or shots of him in a hospital bed or something. Wasn’t the character actually declared dead several years ago and you guys lowered your flag (at WWE headquarters in Stamford) to half staff and wore black armbands?”
Zimmerman: “Yes, his character was blown up a few years ago. There have been no announcements or shots of him otherwise since Harbor Yard.”