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Vince Mmcahon “I Am The Walt Disney Of Wrestling”

#OldSchoolSaturday LEGENDS & ICONS OF TELEVISION - Post By Michael Jacob

Vince Mcmahon made a surprise return to the company he founded after retiring in 2022 due to serious allegations, but the company may be sold in 2023.

The company’s CEO Vince McMahon currently holds the huge majority of shares and thus has the power to decide the future of the WWE. Rumors of WWE being sold have been going on for a few years now. In 2020, a Twitter account stated the company would be sold by mid-May.

In 2021, Dutch Mantell, formerly known as Zeb Colter talked about a  potential sale of WWE to Disney.

He said:

“I reported last year that @WWE was in the process of being sold to Disney. Most people responded STFU. But lately, it appears that something is happening and it could be true. Do you think Vince might be selling? @SKWrestling_ @RickUcchino”

It was reported that Vince McMahon’s return to WWE is only to help facilitate a potential sale. There are many possible suitors for WWE, including Saudi Arabia. The controversial Kingdom is also thought to be the only perspective buyer who would keep Vince McMahon in any position of power.

A former WWE writer has compared Vince McMahon and Walt Disney.

While speaking to Wrestling Inc, former WWE writer and producer Robert Karpeles talked about his time working under Vince McMahon. He proceeded to compare McMahon to Walt Disney and explained the mysticism behind McMahon.

“So Vince is, he’s the last creative entity, I think, left alive who has had an impact on our childhoods. Jim Henson is dead, Walt Disney is dead, Stan Lee is dead.

The last person who’s created something that is this inescapable of childhood, of life, is Vince McMahon. He’s that last singular creative force. All the IP that exists now is derivative IP of things that were created by people who are no longer here.

“So there is a little bit of a mysticism to him. And there really is that element of, you call him Vince. You go up, you introduce, and it’s part of the shtick. You go up and shake his hand the first time and say, Mr. McMahon, nice to meet you.

Robert Karpaeles

Ironically, in an interview that was conducted by Larry King on television live on June 30 1986, he stated to the iconic interviewer that he was “The Walt Disney of wrestling.” The show that Mcmahon made that claim was called “Home Team Sportsbeat.” Home Team Sports was a regional cable network located in Washington, D.C., that covered professional and amateur sports.

netflix

Another irony was that King hosted a daily one-hour interview show on Ted Turner’s Cable News Network, and hosts the nightly “Larry King Live” late-night radio program.  Wrestling historians would know that Vince Mcmahon was enthralled with a wrestling war for two decades with Turner with Jim Crockett’s NWA region that would become WCW aka World Championship Wrestling.

Below is a transcript of the interview that appeared in pro wrestling magazine in the winter of 1986. This was mere months before Vince Mcmahon would showcase the historic WrestleMania III event with Hulk Hogan defending his WWF Heavyweight Championship against then undefeated for 15 years Andre The Giant in the WWE canon. There would be a rematch on NBC a year later after the record smashing event to which Vince Mcmahon’s company would achieve the biggest ratings ever for television in North America with “The Main Event.”

Wrestling 86 Magazine, Winter 1986

“I liked him a lot” King said of McMahon. “I never go into an interview with any impression, with any preconception, and I was impressed. I think he’s a natural kind of showman. I understand how someone like that can be involved in a phenomenon, and I regard wrestling as a phenomenon. He was a good sport.”

King: Our special guest in this one-hour salute to wrestling is Vince McMahon, the president of the World
Wrestling Federation. We’ll be taking your phone calls for Vince. How did you get into this?
McMahon: I got into it really, somewhat as a family affair. My granddad was promoting boxing and wrestling back in New York City, principally in one of the old Madison Square Gardens. And, from there, my dad, having helped his father promote wrestling and, more boxing in those days, putting show card up and selling tickets and whatever it may be, and sort of got in my father’s blood. And, of course, I grew up with the business, so it naturally got in my blood, and I can’t get it out. I love it.
King: When did this boom start? I mean, all of us were kids, we saw wrestling on television, it was always there. Wrestling was always there.
McMahon: And it always will be there.
King: Well, obviously, it’s a staple. But what’s this mania? Did you create that?
McMahon: I think from a group effort standpoint, yes. One of the reasons that wrestling is so popular – the World Wrestling Federation, I should say, to differentiate that between all wrestling – is so popular is that for years and years there were these small local and regional promoters, and they all worked together. And in order to bring the entertainment value to the sport that we wanted to do, we could no longer remain just a part of that. In order to bring the entertainment value we wanted, the only way we could do it was to be national and indeed international in scope. So that’s what we did.
King: Did what?
McMahon: Well, we began to compete, which had never been done before in professional wrestling.
King: With?
McMahon: With all the other promoters. It was us against the world. And all the other regional and local promoters still maintain their alliances and allegiances and I would say perhaps somewhat monopolistic tendencies, and we then decided we’re gonna break the mold and we’re gonna compete with all of them.
King: By using prime-time television, nighttime television, NBC, what?
McMahon: Every vehicle we possibly could use. Cable television, prime time, network television, our own syndicated package – which now we’re on in over 200 markets. From every vehicle we possibly could compete.
King: You treated it globally, then.
McMahon: Yes.
King: How much did Hulk Hogan have to do with this success? Did you need a prime mover, so to speak, an attraction?
McMahon: I think yes and no. I mean, who is to say? It’s very, very successful, it proved to be a very successful formula for us greatly, there’s no
doubt of that. Hulk is such a charismatic individual, and sets the standards, I think, for all wrestling champions of the future. He helped us greatly, there’s no doubt of that. He had to have the vehicle, of course, in order to do that. So we, I think, more than anything else, created the vehicle, and he certainly has helped us. But in no way is this a one man gang, it’s not a one – man story at all.
King: Now what made it – this you can’t plan. How did it catch on with rock groups and people dressing up in fancy svelte clothing and going out on Friday night to see and be seen? Can’t create that.
McMahon: I think that again, from an entertainment standpoint, the difference here is, notwithstanding the aggressiveness that we showed in terms of our expansion, the difference is also in terms of philosophy. Our philosophy is really basically the same as any successful owner of a sports franchise, but even more so in that we recognize that we are first and foremost in the entertainment business. We are entertainment producers. And so with that philosophy it’s totally different than any philosophy before us in terms of previous wrestling producers. So with that philosophy, then I think it’s the right blend of all sorts of demographics and whatever that makes us so successful.
King: Were you shocked at it catching on like it did?
McMahon: No, I wouldn’t say that I was shocked at it catching on like it did. As a matter of fact, I think the family jewels were on the line hoping that it would.
King: In other words, you did roll the dice that it would?
McMahon: Absolutely.
King: Betting it on an ’80s entertainment kind of thing?
McMahon: Absolutely.
King: All right. It is an entertainment first.
McMahon: Absolutely. Entertainment first and foremost.
King: Why then do people get angry at you over it being a sport, or for it not being a sport, when you’re saying it’s an entertainment first? What are you saying?
McMahon: What I’m saying is that in terms of positioning, and it’s a marketing philosophy which no other wrestling producer ever dreamed of or wouldn’t say or whatever. What we tried to do, and thank God we were successful in doing it, is position ourselves in a very, very unique format. The World Wrestling Federation is sports entertainment. It has the best of both worlds. It uses extraordinary athletes in terms of their
physical prowess to entertain. But yet, from an entertainment spectrum, it then gives us the ability to bring in all sorts of things to rub up against these athletes, and indeed it is sports entertainment.
King: Are they very well paid?
McMahon: Yes, they’re extremely well paid.
King: The average top wrestler will earn what?
McMahon: Well, only in the WWF, I mean I can’t say that all wrestlers are well paid, and one of the reasons why they are in the WWF is because of our global scope.
King: They’ll earn what?
McMahon: Well, I would say a top wrestler in the WWF would earn well over a half a million in terms of all rights.
King: The fan who goes to the event apart from the rock stars and the Bob Costas – who, you know, fell as a young child out of the crib and we don’t know who tipped it over – can we tintype, as Playboy magazine tries to, the wrestling fan? Is it a he or a she, how old, income etc.
McMahon: Again, I think there is a different between the wrestling fan and a fan socio-economic background, everything else. But broad-based, I think you have to say that at our live events, as well as the television viewership which Nielsen bears out, that we are Americana. And that’s really where our audience…
King: All age groups?
McMahon: It’s all age groups. There’s a higher concentration in terms of some demographics, but in general it’s all age groups. And it really is Americana.
King: Split men and women?
McMahon: Not exactly. I’d say there’s a higher skew to men, about 55 percent men.
King: Okay, let’s take our first caller. Hello?
Caller #1: I have quite a few questions, I don’t know where to start first. Why would they allow Jake “The Snake” [Roberts] to go in the ring with
the snake?
McMahon: Well, there you go again. That’s a good question. Jake has a pet, he has a friend that he brings, and he normally does not bring it into the ring, he’s forbidden to bring it into the ring unless the match is over. The match is over, then the sanctioning body of the WWF doesn’t have any
control over Jake “The Snake.” When Jake “The Snake” comes to the ring to wrestle, and more often than not … (turns to Larry King) He brings a snake, in this great big …
King: A what?
McMahon: He brings a snake, a python.
King: Is this in the rulebook?
McMahon: Well actually, he’s rewriting the rulebook, Jake “The Snake” is, but nonetheless he brings this …
King: For what purpose?
McMahon: He likes snakes. He uses the snake to intimidate his opponents, and he’ll bring the snake …
King: Wade Boggs likes chicken, but he doesn’t bring one to the plate when he comes to bat.
McMahon: Yes but wait a minute, this is the WWF. Things happen here a little differently than they do anywhere else.
King: Does the snake often get involved in the actual combativeness?
McMahon: No, not actually in the combativeness aspect, but after the match is over.
King: What might the snake do?
McMahon: Jake “The Snake” Roberts has a hold he calls “The DDT.” And once he lays an opponent out cold, he then will open this giant toe-sack, and out comes this 10-foot python, which he will wrap all over this person’s body.
King: Why then would anyone agree to wrestle him?
McMahon: Because they are confident they can beat Jake “The Snake.”
King: And if they lose, confident that the python will not kill them.
McMahon: They are hopeful that the python will not strangle them, yes.
King: Do you have a special clause in the contract dealing with pythons?
McMahon: I’m sure there is an addendum. It’s not part of the standard contract, but I’m sure there is some sort of an addendum.
King: Thank you. We’ll go to our next caller. Next. Hello?
Caller #2: Hi, good evening, Larry. I have a couple of very quick questions. First question is this: Earlier in your conversation, Vince said the purpose of the WWF is entertainment. I’d like to know why the matches that are shown here on Saturday mornings and other parts of the country are such obvious mismatches that it’s not even funny. Some of these guys are about as athletic-looking as I am, and I’m not athletic-looking as I at all.
King: And your second question?
Caller #2: My second question would be: Why, when Vince runs the WWF – and it’s known to anybody that follows this that he does – when he does the announcing on Saturday mornings he acts like some announcer that they just hired about a week ago, knows nothing about what is going on in his organization, or anything like that. Keep up the good work, Larry, I enjoy you.
King: Thank you. Okay, number one.
McMahon: Well, let me respond to number two first. As I said before, I’m a fan. And like it or not, in terms of viewership, not because I’m on the show, but because of the athletes that are on the World Wrestling Federation promotional shows, which as you will note is a totally different kind of show than is the cartoon show on CBS, or for that matter a totally different kind of show than is on Saturday Night’s Main Event on NBC. So there are different levels of performance in terms of promotional shows, etc. But nonetheless, to answer both questions, A: I’m a fan, and I respond and I announce as a fan, the way that I call them, as a fan. Secondly, I’m very happy that your views are not shared with the high television ratings that we enjoy. Obviously, you’re in the minority, and the majority of the fans watching our show really very much enjoy it. And that bears out that we are the highest – no, the second highest, we’re behind Wheel Of Fortune – the second-highest syndicated package in America across the country.
King: You’re kidding
McMahon: Nope. Nielsen.
[Note: After several commercials, a segment from Wrestling TNT was shown, where Nikolai Volkoff is re-introduced to his sister Olga.]
King: What was that we just saw there? What was that?
McMahon: I’m not too sure. I think what was supposed to be was “This is Your Life Nikolai Volkoff.”
King: I see, and where was that happening?
McMahon: That was happening on TNT, a cable television show.
King: That you host?
McMahon: Did host. In fact, that was one of my last performances.
King: He didn’t know his own sister? Or that was not his sister?
McMahon: I don’t think he knows. I for sure didn’t either, so I … it could very well have been his sister. Nikolai’s not the brightest.
King: Not all wound up too tight, right?
McMahon: Well, sometimes a little too tight.
King: Okay. Take our next call for Vince McMahon, president of the World Wrestling Federation. Hello
Caller #3: Yeah, hi Larry, this Chris from Falls Church. I have a comment and question for Mr. McMahon. It’s interesting, Vince, to hear you open the show talking about your father. As far as the history of wrestling in Washington goes, I remember when he was promoting matches out at the old Washington Coliseum, and after the show stopped there, in the years before the Capital Centre was built, us Washington-area fans had to drive to the Baltimore Civic Center in order to see wrestling.  Now we’re happy with shows at the Capital Centre and we hope they continue. My question is: Do you see a problem with wrestlers such as Superfly Snuka and maybe Sgt. Slaughter jumping from one alliance to another, and what kind of problems does this create for the WWF?
McMahon: First of all, thank you’re very much for your comments from the greater Washington metropolitan area, because that’s where my dad
really began his start as president of Capital Wrestling Corporation, and Washington is a very, very dear city to me for a number of reasons, one of which is my father. Thank you for recognizing my dad. To answer your question, no, it really does not pose a problem for the WWF because of, again, the vast disparity of compensation that the wrestlers are paid in the WWF as compared to other local and regional promoters.
King: You haven’t lost anybody?
McMahon: No, we’ve lost, as a matter of fact, those two individuals. Sgt. Slaughter, who very, very much is trying to make his way back to the WWF
now …
King: He quit to join another group?
McMahon: More or less. He quit really more to branch out on his own in terms of a lot of merchandising, and he got a lot of bad advice, unfortunately. And he’s very much looking forward to coming back to the WWF, and negotiating as hard as he can to come back. Superfly Snuka on other hand, is … I think a lot of people would say he’s somewhat of a basket case and you just can’t do anything with that.
King: You don’t have a United States Football League, then, someone taking you on?
McMahon: No.
King: No one started a national federation, trying for television time or anything?
McMahon: No, not really. There are some again, regional producers that offer an alternative, but it’s a very, very poor alternative.
King: You’re on what NBC on Saturdays?
McMahon: NBC’s Saturday Night’s Main Event, and we have our own syndication package of over 200 stations.
King: So no other network has tried to take you on with their own wrestling setup?
McMahon: No, I think that although I must say, that since this is live, I did have a conversation recently with ABC …
King: About the possibility of leaving NBC?
McMahon: No, no, not the possibility of leaving …
King: About doing something for them, too?
McMahon: Please, Larry, you’re going to get me in hot water here. I talked with ABC, they’re interested perhaps in doing something with us on very
sparing basis. CBC, on the other hand, already has our cartoon show.
King: Are you the Don King of wrestling?
McMahon: The what?
King: The Don King of wrestling.
McMahon: No, I am the Walt Disney of wrestling.
King: Better put. We’ll take out next
call for Vince McMahon. Hello.
Caller #4: How you doing, Larry and Vince? This is a great show. I wanted to just make a quick statement and ask Vince a very quick question. First of all, I follow wrestling very closely, and I think the WWF has kind of put entertainment above the sport, and it’s all right for some people, but I’m a wrestling fan, and I prefer the wrestling. But it’s still a great promotion. My question to Vince, and I really hope that you can be objective: Can you assess a potential bout between the [NWA] World heavyweight champion Ric Flair and your [WWF World] heavyweight champion Hulk
Hogan? Can you tell me objectively how that bout could possibly come out and if it could be something that’s happening in the future?
King: We have two heavyweight champions, is that what he’s referring …
McMahon: No. Again he’s making reference to a very regional promotion which is Ric Flair, which is a Jim Crockett promotion, one of our competitors as such. But that match would never, never happen because to make a match like that would be … notwithstanding the fact that Jim Crockett is a very good promoter, let me say that first and foremost. Some of the athletes involved in Jim Crockett Promotions are excellent athletes, and Ric Flair happens to be one of them.
King: Why wouldn’t it happen then?
McMahon: Well, it wouldn’t happen from the standpoint, from a national standpoint and an international standpoint. For us, to make a match of that nature would be almost give what is now a very small regional promoter the credibility that he’s looking for in terms of …
King: You don’t want to give him that, it’s not like the WBA and WBC in boxing.
McMahon: No, it’s not really. We’re competing, you know, and I want to keep that vast disparity, that difference …
King: Would you like to get this kid, what’s his name?
McMahon: Ric Flair?
King: Would you like to get him with the WWF?
McMahon: Sure would. He’s a fine athlete.
King: Then let’s take it into that presumption. How well would he do if he were signed with you and fighting Hogan?
McMahon: Well, you know, again, its mere supposition, but if he came to the WWF I doubt very seriously if a match like that would be made, because Ric Flair, where he does have fabulous athletic skills, is about 225 pounds I think and about 5’10”. Notwithstanding his scientific skill, I just don’t think he can measure up to Hogan who is 6’8″ and 330 pounds. [Note: At this point, a highlights tape of Hulk Hogan was shown for a few seconds.]
King: The people love him, right?
McMahon: They really do. This man is a symbol in so much more than just wrestling, I think he’s almost a symbol of Americana itself.
King: In what way? In a Rambo-ish way?
McMahon: Not so much in a Rambo-ish way, no. Because he’s unabashed to be a patriot, unabashed to be an American and I like that
about him and I think the fans like that about him
King: And that’s very in, now, right?
McMahon: Yes, it’s in, but Hogan was doing it long before it was in. Another thing that he was saying, and always has is “say your prayers.” You don’t often hear somebody, especially an athlete like that. I don’t know of any athlete like in any pro sport or any entertainer that goes around saying, “Say your prayers, eat your vitamins,” in other words, take care of yourself, “Be true to yourself, and your family, and your country.” I mean,
there’s not a heck of a lot left if you can do all those things.
King: How many nights a year will he fight, will he wrestle?
McMahon: Oh, I would say, on an average out of a year, probably 50, and that’s a very, very tough pace.
King: Once a week.
McMahon: About once a week, yes
King: Others will do more, right?
McMahon: Yes, yes.
King: Let’s go to the next caller. Hello.
Caller #5: Yes I have a comment and a question for Vince, my man. First the comment. I feel the same way as caller number one; Saturday night matches are so bad. And my question is: Why Bob Backlund never did get a title match with Hulk Hogan, a rematch, because Bob was the former
champion. And Bob Backlund said that Vince McMahon wanted him to change the color of his hair and be a rulebreaker, in other words a bad guy.
McMahon: I’m not too sure what the question was, but let me respond …
King: Why don’t you let him fight again?
McMahon: Well, Bob Backlund, first of all, is retired. Secondly, for Bob Backlund to say what he has said quite of often, about some sort of scenario of me wanting him to dye his hair, which is absurd, and want to be a rulebreaker, which is even more absurd. Bob Backlund is a fabulous athlete, a former all-American wrestling champion, he was a credit to the World Wrestling Federation when he was the titleholder at that time, very, very scientific. Had very, very little charisma, for what that’s worth, but an excellent champion. But he retired and has never been heard from since. Except that he tried wrestling, I believe, for some of our competitors, and gave it up.
King: Little charisma, though, would turn you off, wouldn’t it? I mean, you’re in show business, you need someone with charisma, so it would be logical. As I hear that, it would be logical for you to say to someone who doesn’t have a lot of charisma, “Dye your hair purple, do something! You’re a terrific wrestler, but we gotta put people in here, not just … we can get the guy from Iowa who won the Olympics in a four-foot box. We
need guys.
McMahon: Not everyone, Larry. Again it’s a product mix, it’s a marketing mix. And not everyone has to have huge sums of charisma. Certainly Bob Backlund never had it. But that’s all right. He was a terrific scientific wrestler.
King: People came to see him?
McMahon: Sure they came to see him, because the people he was facing, they had all the charisma. So there’s no problem with people having no charisma in the WWF. We’re not looking for each wrestler, each performer …
King: Everyone doesn’t have to be performer, then?
McMahon: No, no. You have to have to have a nice marketing mix.
King: We’ll take our next call for Vince McMahon. Hello.
Caller #6: Hi, my name is Ray. Vince?
McMahon: Yes
Caller #6: Yeah, there’s a lot of us out here without charisma and we’d like somebody up there representing us. First, I’d like to congratulate you
for recognizing that there’s things beyond just the wrestling matches to make money on. With the videotapes on Wrestlemania and things like that, I was wondering, are you planning any videotapes on training programs, like Paul Orndorff coming out with something?
King: Like a Jane Fonda
McMahon: Yes we are, as a matter of fact. We’re planning on a lot of things of that nature, which are not quite ready to release yet. As a matter of
fact, Hulk is working on one now that’s not probably the market you’re looking for, but strictly for kids. And there are some other things as well that we’re working out.
King: Do kids come to the matches?
McMahon: Oh sure.
King: A lot?
McMahon: Yes.
King: Teenagers or below teenagers?
McMahon: Teenagers, below teenagers – again the demographic is a very, very wide one. It’s Americana.
King: Before we take our next call. Are you a little worried, that one thing Americans are, we are faddish. For example, video games are gone. They were the hottest thing in the world; they’re gone. Discos. What happen to discos? Are you a little worried that one day, you’re gonna wake up, and it’s gone? And they like tiddywinks again.
McMahon: No, because of a number of factors. It’s only diminished if, in fact, we don’t do our job. If there’s not enough of the athletic skills employed, or enough of the charisma, or enough of marketing mix, and things of that nature. It would be a crime for that to happen, and it won’t
happen.
King: One of the things I would think you’re gonna need is new attractions all the time …
McMahon: All the time.
King: … to keep the interest going …
McMahon: Absolutely.
King: … because we can’t stay at the pace with the same people, right?
McMahon: That’s exactly right.
King: So you have to be looking around for young people.
McMahon: New talent, young talent, European talent, new marketing techniques, who knows where this thing is gonna go.
King: Take our next call for Vince McMahon of the World Wrestling Federation. Hello.
Caller #7: How you doing, Larry. Vince, how are you.
McMahon: Well thank you.
Caller #7: I’m 19 years old, and I’ve been watching wrestling since I was real small. And I was wondering, if I wanting to get in touch with you, Vince, or some other wrestler, how could I do that?
King: In touch for what purpose?
Caller #7: Maybe for myself, to get into professional wrestling, or maybe just talk to some of the wrestlers.
King: Well, that’s a two-pronged question. Are you good enough to be a wrestler?
Caller #7: I think I am.
King: All right, what should he do, if he wanted to be a wrestler?
McMahon: First of all, I’d like to discourage you from being a pro wrestler. It’s a very, very tough life. There’s hardly any family life to it. These fellows are on the road so much, all over the country, all over the world. We had a tour that just left yesterday for Australia, one just got back from the Middle East. So there’s very, very little family life. There’s a great deal of travel, and all of the hassles that go with that. It may sound to some viewers and callers as, you know, travel is romantic and it’s this and it’s that, but the lumps and bumps that you have to take, and it’s not a very good life. It is rough. It’s very rewarding financially, but it is rough.
King: Where do you get your new people from?
McMahon: Uh, from (laughs), from our competitive groups.
King: You raid them.
McMahon: Yes, we raid them.
King: In other words, you see a good regional wrestler in North Carolina, you like him, he’s winning some bouts, he’s exciting to watch, you go sign him.
McMahon: Absolutely. Sure, sure, we’ll go after him.
King: When you sign someone, do they get a yearly guarantee, is that the way it works?
McMahon: No, they don’t, no.
King: No guarantee.
McMahon: They get no guarantee.
King: Why sign with you?
McMahon: Because it’s the guarantee of opportunity, that’s why they sign.
King: In other words, they get paid per match …
McMahon: That’s correct.
King: Then as they start to do well and become more of an attraction, eventually … I mean, Hogan’s under contract with guarantee, right?
McMahon: Not with a guarantee.
King: Hulk Hogan has no guarantee?
McMahon: Doesn’t need one, All he needs is opportunity. Any performer … it’s like playing golf, tennis, whatever you want it to be. Give them the opportunity to perform, that’s what performance should be.
King: Yeah, but I could be on the PGA tour and earn zip.
McMahon: Yes you could. And there are a lot of wrestlers that are touring the WWF that earn – not zip, but comparatively speaking they earn zip as compared to megastars.
King: In other words, you work your way up, and once you’re up you don’t need the guarantee?
McMahon: You don’t, no. All you need is opportunity. And that’s what we can give that no one else can give: extraordinary opportunity.
King: Take our next call on Home Team Sportsbeat for Vince McMahon. Hello.
Caller #8: Vince I got one question for you. What’s the story with Andre the Giant?
McMahon: (to King) Well, uh, you don’t know this.
King: I don’t.
McMahon: Just like you don’t know about Jake “The Snake”
King: Correct.
McMahon: In any event, we have a situation here with Andre the Giant, who’s been suspended
King: By whom?
McMahon: By Jack Tunney, who is the president of the WWF. I’m the president of Titan Sports, a little bit different, we’ll get into that a little later.
King: There are two presidents?
McMahon: Well, no, it’s only one president.
King: It’s him or you?
McMahon: It’s him.
King: Then why am I calling you the president?
McMahon: I don’t know. You got the information.
King: What is your title?
McMahon: I’m president of Titan Sports.
King: Which owns the World Wrestling Federation.
McMahon: Produces the WWF.
King: Tunney works for you.
McMahon: Tunney works for me? No, Tunney works for himself.
King: And he’s the commissioner?
McMahon: President.
King: And he suspended …?
McMahon: And he’s on third.
King: He what?
McMahon: First. Change from first to second. But in any event … what was the question?
King: What happen to …
McMahon: (laughs)
King: All right, he was suspended. Why?
McMahon: The reason Andre the Giant was suspended, not to make light of Andre’s suspension, because – no pun intended there, Andre weights 500 pounds – but it’s very important to Andre, very serious, and to WWF as well. Andre failed to appear for a date, and it happened more than once. And when you fail to appear for a date – action was taken, and he was suspended. Andre, I must say, can be, from time to time, extremely arrogant. Andre is having this looked into from a legal standpoint. And nonetheless, Andre felt that the suspension was totally unwarranted, and, in fact, if he’d missed two dates, it’d be the first two dates he’d missed in, like, 10 years of wrestling. But, nonetheless, he missed them. But he did not have the courtesy to show up for the hearing that took place. As a result of that, when Andre did not show up for the hearing, even though there was probably a logical explanation as to why he missed the two shots, there was no other recourse but to suspend him.
King: Did that anger you?
McMahon: It upset me greatly, because Andre is an extraordinary attraction.
King: And did you call Tunney or Andre?
McMahon: Both.
King: And what did Andre say to you?
McMahon: Andre felt that, after all that he had done for the WWF, in terms of representing the WWF as an ambassador at large, more or less, worldwide, he felt that it was totally unjust, and unless the ruling was reversed, he’s gonna refuse to wrestle.
King: What did Tunney say? He had no choice.
McMahon: He had no alternative.
King: So you’re between a rock and hard place.
McMahon: That’s exactly where we are.
King: We’ll take our next call for Vince McMahon. Hello.
Caller #9: I’d like to ask Vince a couple questions. Why don’t you ever see Roddy Piper anymore on Saturday mornings? And when will the next
Saturday Night’s Main Event be?
King: Okay, thank you. Roddy Piper, Saturday morning.
McMahon: Let me answer it the other way. Saturday Night’s Main Event, the next one is in September, around the 20th or something like that, as I recall. Roddy Piper has been making a film. Hollywood wants all of our stars.
King: A genuine, regular, full-length motion picture.
McMahon: Genuine, full-length.
King: Will he return upon completion of his filming duties?
McMahon: Yes, The filming, as a matter of fact, is over with. I had a conversation with Piper just the other day, and he’s very much looking forward, now that his body has healed up, he’s very much looking forward to returning.
King: Do these people have agents?
McMahon: Yes, some of them do, yes.
King: Like Hulk, does he have an agent?
McMahon: Yes.
King: You deal with agents, then. So you’ve entered that part of management as well. You have to deal with representatives of talent.
McMahon: Yes we do.
King: We’ll take our next call for Vince McMahon. Hello.
Caller #10: Yeah. Vince, why don’t you consider Ric Flair a world champion when he’s beaten “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and Greg “The Hammer” Valentine in the NWA.
McMahon: Well, as I mentioned before, Ric is a fine athlete, and I understand a heck of a guy, I don’t know him personally. I think just to
have defeated two of the stars of the WWF does not necessarily make him of championship recognition. And again, you have to understand the disparity between our organization and all other regional wrestling organizations, of which Ric Flair is a part of a regional promotion.
King: That’s the difference between this and boxing right? In other words, this young man rises up, he’s gonna have to be with the WWF, or he’s not gonna fight Hulk Hogan, right?
McMahon: Sure, sure
King: You would like to get him for the WWF?
McMahon: Sure would, He’s a fine talent.
King: So you wouldn’t mind if he continues to win and impress, because someday you feel you’re gonna get him anyway.
McMahon: I would say so. I would say it’s a very good possibility, yes.
King: Are you annoyed that you’re not covered on the sports pages?
McMahon: Not at all. Let’s face it, I’ve said it before, in categorizing what the WWF is, it’s sports entertainment. There is no heading in television, except for our heading, and we call ourselves sports entertainment. There’s a sports show, there’s an entertainment. In the newspaper itself there’s an entertainment section, there’s a sports page. There’s nothing in there of sports entertainment. We’re very, very unique. We’re in a very, very unique category, so sometimes we’re covered in the sports pages in some markets, and other times we’re covered in the entertainment section, and other times both.
King: Take our next call for Vince McMahon. Hello.
Caller # 11: Yes, Vince. On this program last night, on Florida wrestling, they had a personal appearance of Bob Backlund, and he stated that he was not retired from wrestling, and that you had run him out of the WWF, and that the only way he would return to professional wrestling was if he got a title shot with Hulk Hogan.
King: Aha!
McMahon: Well, see, there you go again, you know?
King: Well, we need a response.
McMahon: I didn’t even know about this. Thank you for bringing it to my attention. I don’t know whether that was live or Memorex, as far as – was that on tape, or what?
King: Well, did he ever say in the past that you had run him out of wrestling?
McMahon: Bob Backlund, I’ll say before, was one of the finest athletes that we ever had in the WWF. Now I don’t know whether Mr. Backlund has, unfortunately, struck too many turnbuckles in his life, or just what, and I can’t speak to that. Bob, when he was champion, was exemplary in
every way, in everything you’d ever want to see in a champion. After he lost the title, something happened to Bob Backlund, and whatever Bob says, if you want to believe Bob, that’s fine.
King: You’re still an admirer of his?
McMahon: Absolutely.
King: This, I think, will be the last call for Vince McMahon. Hello.
Caller #12: Yeah, I’d like to ask Vince two questions. First, is Greg “The Hammer” Valentine related to the ex-national TV champ Johnny Valentine from back in the early ’60s, late ’50s? And second, how much longer will Hulk Hogan be the champion?
King: Two good questions.
McMahon: Yes he is, he is the son of Johnny Valentine. As far as facially, the resemblance is, of course, quite striking. Physically, Johnny was considerably taller than Greg is. That answers that one, and he’s very, very proud of his dad, as well he should be. Johnny Valentine was an extraordinary athlete.
King: And how much longer will Hulk Hogan wrestle?
McMahon: I would say – be champion, I think was the question, but it goes hand in hand. I would say not for much longer, because Hulk Hogan is probably keeping a pace like no other champion before him. Both in terms of television appearances, and on and on. I think he’s burning himself
out, I can’t stop him and anyone – he’s only human, and I think that if he burns himself out, and continues the pace that he is currently continuing, I think that in a very short period of time, Hulk Hogan will probably be defeated for title.
King: And that would be by whom?
McMahon: I have no idea.
King: If you had to pick among your crop of wrestlers that you think could be the next champ, it would be whom? An objective pick, not a
subjective pick.
McMahon: Jeez, I wouldn’t hazard a guess really. There are too many qualified athletes that could be champion.
King: So it wouldn’t shock you if any one of five or six or seven guys …
McMahon: No. Any one of 20.
King: Vince, it’s been a great pleasure meeting you.
McMahon: Thank you very much, it’s my pleasure.

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