It’s quite startling how little direct input Vince McMahon had in his own success – especially when one considers how quick the man is to take credit for it.
Hulk Hogan was running wild in the AWA before McMahon tapped into his nascent popularity and built his company’s national expansion around him. The Royal Rumble match, as much a part of the mainstream lexicon as its ultimate destination, was born from the maverick mind of Pat Patterson.
McMahon micromanaged the life out of the New Generation era with his bizarre and detached insistence that all under his employ must have occupational side gigs to supplement their wrestling income. It was under the combined persuasion of The Kliq, Vince Russo et al. that McMahon grabbed the elusive zeitgeist for a second time. Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock, the two biggest stars since the Hulkamania era, had to petition to become extensions of themselves.
McMahon’s post-Attitude Era strategy of “Ruthless Aggression” was generic and gave rise to fewer stars than the more maligned New Gen era. Apocryphally, John Cena’s backseat freestyling is what first alerted the McMahons to the fact that there was a personality lurking beneath the rookie CAW aesthetic.
Creating out of the box wrestling acts isn’t Vince’s job, in fairness, even if he assumed that M.O. on television. That said, for all his faults, the man is in the position he is now for a reason.