Among long-time wrestling fans, the debate rages on about the legacy that Vincent K. McMahon has etched for his influence on professional wrestling. For many who grew up during the territorial system of professional wrestling – one which saw dozens of full-time circuits operating weekly schedules in a regional area – they look towards McMahon with much contempt. In fact, the World Wrestling Federation is often regarded by the past generation as bringing about the downfall of professional wrestling and the livelihood of many promoters and career opportunities for wrestlers themselves.
However, while the national (and international) expansion of the league now known as World Wrestling Entertainment did change the wrestling landscape, that is not necessarily a bad thing. One could argue that under McMahon’s banner, professional wrestling has achieved its greatest visibility now, then ever before. The WWE constantly is filling stadiums and permeates the social conscious with ample doses of the sport through every medium possible.
How will history remember Vince McMahon? As a visionary patriarch of sports entertainment, or as a ruthless tyrant that saw the demise of an industry model which employed hundreds across the continent? Regardless of where you stand on that particular topic, it is critical to acknowledge that the WWE, under McMahon has created some significant opportunities in the advancement of wrestling as an industry. The following serve as just the top ten of many that can be credited to the global empire which has now been branded the WWE Universe. After reviewing this list, you, yourself can decide what place Vince will hold in history.
10 The Rise of Pay-Per-Views
9 Going Hollywood
8 Off-Shoot Television Shows
7 Embracing the Media
5 Shedding the “Smoke-Filled Arena” Image
4 Crossover Marketing with Celebrities
3 Going Public
2 The Migration to Prime Time
1 Syndicated Programming
The key to the WWE’s success and the reason that fans have fallen into the culture of the organization is owed largely to the syndication of their product. They aren’t simply one of the available wrestling programs on television among a slate of local or regional offerings. No, instead, their perpetual visibility on the airwaves with multiple branded programs weekly, has been the most significant factor in their ability to overtake the traditional territorial model of wrestling. Not to mention ensure the household visibility of their stars and establish themselves as a brand which eclipses an industry. In fact, when people talk about professional wrestling, invariably, for clarification someone will ask “You mean like WWE?” The effectiveness of their market dominance has created an ongoing ripple effect in wrestling where the branding efforts of other organizations pales in comparison. When talking about wrestling, one is either classified as WWE or “not the WWE.” And we all know what people prefer.
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