The other day I was watching WWE, and something dawned on me. We complain about how predictable WWE is, but lately they’ve been anything but. The U.S. title changed hands on a house show, Jinder Mahal is WWE Champion, and Roman Reigns tried to murder someone at a pay per view called Great Balls of Fire. It’s not that they’re predictable, it’s that they’re insane. Vince McMahon is a mad-man, but one that has made an undeniable impact. Then I realized that he reminded me of another important madman, Al Davis.
Vince McMahon, the Al Davis of Professional Wrestling
For fans of professional wrestling, the name Al Davis might be meaningless. You could google him, but without a ton of research, you probably wouldn’t know who he was or why he was so important. Here’s a quick history lesson.
Al Davis was a man that wore many hats. He was a NFL coach, a league commissioner, and eventually, the owner of the Oakland Raiders, but most importantly, he was a maverick. Davis constantly spat in the face of authority, breaking all the rules and changing the game forever. He literally sued the NFL on multiple occasions, and insisted on creating a culture that villainized the Raiders.
He encouraged the Raiders to play dirty, take cheap shots, and “just win” at any cost. It wasn’t pretty or ethical, but by encouraging a certain attitude, the Raiders were one of the most dominant teams in their golden era.
However, after the, let’s call it an attitude era, things kinda fell apart. Al Davis in his prime was a genius that completely changed the game forever. But as he got older, he kinda lost touch. He started making terrible personnel decisions, overpaying overrated players, and slowly but surely, the Raiders fell apart. They went a decade without a winning season, and it wasn’t until he passed away and Reggie McKenzie took over the team that they returned to greatness.
Doesn’t that sound familiar? Can you think of anyone else that spat in the face of his sport, making insane changes, and altering the future of his product forever? Al Davis sued the NFL, but Vince McMahon destroyed the territories. As rogues, these two men completely changed the face of their sports. The NFL would not be the way it is today without Al Davis, and nobody has changed the shape of pro wrestling the way Vince McMahon has.
However, as time went on, both men lost touch. Their greatness was lost behind their insanity. JaMarcus Russell and Roman Reigns are names that make the most loyal fans cringe. Perhaps, when the time comes that Vince takes a step back, maybe Triple H can do what Reggie McKenzie has, by returning WWE to it’s former greatness.