Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Vince and Brock argue over Wrestlemania contract renewal

WWE World Heavyweight Champion temporarily 
walks out on WWE over new deal 
after Wrestlemania XXXI

WWE, its CEO, Vince McMahon and WWE World Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar have been on tricky terms as of late. The issue stemmed from the March 1st Raw broadcast in which Brock Lesnar arrived for a scheduled appearance on the show, but was not used as he walked out backstage before going on-air.

The champ decided to leave the show and went home after McMahon and Lesnar argued at the venue backstage. The pair were planning to renegotiate Brock’s contract for after Wrestlemania, when it is due to expire, with Brock staying at WWE.

The pair were heard by other staff in the arena behind the scenes who described the situation as a volatile one where both were screaming at one another loudly.

Apparently Lesnar wanted to change his contract clauses and also do this at the upcoming UFC event. UFC, one of WWE’s strongest rivals in oneupmanship and male audience attractions was not favoured by McMahon. UFC has made public knowledge that it is keen to re-sign Lesnar, too. Brock is carefully considering all his options on the table, as he should. Though not talking about it at the UFC event, Lesnar was upset by this, as well as some new terms, laid out by McMahon. After the rowdy meeting ended both were said to be so upset that neither would budge from their end of the deal requirements. Both were screaming so loud officials were worried for McMahon's health.

The following week WWE champ Lesnar appeared on Raw giving a great promo for fans. The pair are said to be working the deal out somehow, away from the public eye.

So naturally some will side with one or the other, but what really is the way forward? With UFC keen to re-sign Lesnar and a hot bargaining chip for WWE under pressure to keep Brock, WWE need to fix it pronto or get a contingency plan.

Of course, asking someone to meet and negotiate because you want to attend a rival show is not going to be met with a keen approval. Brock should have known not to be that naïve. He has history. It also wasn't too good to walk out when WWE had invested a lot of time in him. We love Brock and he is a strong star, but those are not effective manners of behaviour or negotiation. Though from McMahon’s perspective, he has invested lots of time in Brock and neglected the other talent with strong pushes. This is not Lesnar’s fault as Vince would have selected someone else for the same duration. Nothing would have changed except the person holding the belt.

At this point WWE have made Lesnar so powerful, as its rightful intention, as ‘The Beast’ that McMahon knows he cannot afford to lose him. All WWE has left is John Cena and there is only so much WWE can push that flagging horse.

It would be good if Vince can get Brock locked into a deal which sees more dates and dedication from Lesnar. This will benefit Lesnar longterm as a legitimate star, champion and respected guy by his audience. Lesnar however must not expect a huger sum for the deal and be open to working out a salary that can add extra dates where applicable.

For a guy who defeated The Undertaker’s Wrestlemania streak last year and become WWE’s heavyweight champion in transit, often missing Pay Per View’s Brock must know he is both valuable and vulnerable. McMahon has been known to flip and snub others after a long time of trying to negotiate. For the pair it will be give and take. Both need to compromise. Though the pair are capable of working out a deal.

This year’s Wrestlemania is on course to, borrow an American Wrestling term, suck. The card is badly produced, lacks build up, no legitimate or interesting stars, weak match types and is missing a star attraction. It could well be the worst in WWE history. WWE has recently made four very bad Wrestlemania’s in recent years. ‘Mania is considered as usually pulling out all the stops to be good.

Plan B?

There are other options as for the ‘Mania match itself, which McMahon confirmed will happen as Lesnar is “contractually obligated” as WWE officials worried Brock may no-show. That was never in doubt. Brock is professional enough to work his dates.

Lesnar can still win the title and return to a new deal. Roman Reigns is severely lacking competition. Triple H who suggested Roman Reigns for the Wrestlemania event months ago, has now backtracked and supported Lesnar to retain the gold. Playing to the fans again, Triple H is seen as making a calculated move to encourage fan populism that running WWE professionally with what is ‘Best for Business’. McMahon is strongly considering Reigns, who has been continually booed and lost fan respect since his January title guarantee in a dismal Royal Rumble victory. If he chooses Reigns out of messaging to Lesnar that wouldn't be the best choice. How can a new star struggling to encourage fan support be taken seriously with the crowning moment based on 'right guy at the right place' through Lesnar's dilemma? Reigns is simply too green to bear such responsibility. He is way too weak without any defining qualities. Lesnar would be the best choice unless other avenues are pursued. 

We would suggest that if Lesnar signs a new deal WWE should continue with Brock as champion. If all else fails the WWE will have to make the case for Seth Rollins to cash in and win. This win, however must be a legitimate, crowning moment and not a cheap win by dirty tactics from someone else doing all the work first. Rollins is the future of WWE. He must be handled carefully.

We would love to see Brock stay on and do more with the title and have some more meaningful and greater match opponents. Brock re-defined WWE years ago in the 2000’s, especially the ailing Smackdown brand to keep it from losing an audience. Lesnar has a WWE legacy to build on if he chooses it.

For WWE it could not be a worse time for embarrassment. Already panned for its lacking Wrestlemania, production and writing skills with wrestlers/superstars, WWE’s management is coming under scrutiny.

With both Triple H and Vince McMahon at opposite ends of the spectrum on trying to run WWE politically and professionally, whilst getting a name act on the card, both are not looking their best. Triple H’s idiotic attempt to book people based on crowd reaction and dirt sheet luvvies is sad, pathetic and misses the point of how to run WWE effectively. Triple H, after all his years waiting for the job, should have known that much. He needs to remain professional and listen to key advice than take personal attitude. This is a business.

For McMahon, it is another tale of putting on a show meets outdated ways forward. In a new era today, with a budding roster of stars available at the drop of a hat and failure to capitalise on them, these choices really do not sell his version of sports entertainment the way WWE fans hope to part with their cash for it.

This could well and truly be WWE 2003 again. Both Brock and Vince knew how difficult it was back then and neither hope to re-create those problems again.

WWE need to pull its finger out, or offer those who can help it, the greatest of deal. It has a future to consider and at this rate, it does not look promising. Even if fans stay, they still won’t be engaged. Therefore the doors will be open but no one will really be watching, buying or care anymore. Should that happen, WWE will become entirely meaningless like a TV on in the background, which gets no real attention.

© Max Waltham 25th March 2015

All Rights Reserved 

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