When the news broke that the WWE stock was crashing, pro wrestling fans worldwide started wondering if this was the beginning of the end. Certainly the under performance of the WWE Network and the disappointing negotiations with NBC Universal added credence to their apocalyptic premonition. But Vince McMahon and company are no stranger to trials and tribulations. And although they will not come out unscathed from this set back, the recent stock plunge will not be the end of Vince McMahon and WWE.
The WWE, formerly the World Wrestling Federation, was founded on risk and reward. The same type of system that is discovered on the stock market. One need not look further than the inaugural Wrestlemania event at Madison Square Garden. After purchasing the regional company from his father in 1982, McMahon put all his eggs in one basket and gambled all his fortune on the success of Wrestlemania. McMahon later affirmed that if the event had failed, he would be living in a trailer park somewhere. This was the first time in a series of landmarks that would see McMahon potentially lose his company, only to find greater success.
In the late 80s and early 90s, the WWE endured a double knock out punch, as it was involved in two very serious scandals. One scandal saw several high ranking employees, including Pat Patterson, allegedly seducing young rings boys into indecent behavior. This first scandal rocked the public image of the WWE, but didn’t endanger the company as much as the next scandal did. In 1992, Vince McMahon and the WWE were under heavy scrutiny by federal agents for illegal steroid use. At one point, Vince McMahon was facing considerable jail time and, once again, confronting the very real possibility of going out of business. Fortunately, McMahon was later acquitted. It would take years for him to right his ship.
The late 90’s ushered in a new generation of pro wrestling fans. Unfortunately, they were all watching the competitor, World Championship Wrestling. With star attractions like Hulk Hogan, Sting, Ultimate Warrior, Bret Hart and Goldberg, McMahon was in desperate need of new stars to lure away the supporters. It’s been reported that, in 1999, McMahon was only months away from going into bankruptcy. But a series of mistakes on the part of WCW, and calculated risks by WWE, resulted in McMahon landing right onto the throne of pro wrestling. The very same throne he created.
On top of all these episodes, he also faced failure in his WBF and XFL endeavors. And of course, he dealt with a huge public backlash when Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit died. These were all once considered the end of the WWE. But, as Vince McMahon always does, he was able to ride out the bad and come out on top. The WWE stock may have plunged, but the WWE will rise to the occasion and see things through. Disaster averted.