5 Unpopular decisions Vince McMahon took that helped WWE

Vince McMahon is a polarizing figure
Vince McMahon is a polarizing figure
Rohit Nath

Vince McMahon has made several unpopular decisions over his four-decade-long tenure as the owner of WWE. Whether you agree or disagree, WWE has become more profitable than ever, and it never would have happened under Vince McMahon Sr.

While several unpopular decisions have led to negative consequences, there were some that ended up helping WWE in the long run. Here are some of those decisions:

#5. Defying Vince McMahon Sr.'s suggestion

Vince McMahon Sr. and Jr.
Vince McMahon Sr. and Jr.

Vince McMahon may have made WWE a global brand before the 21st century, but the groundwork was laid by his father Vince McMahon Sr. It's well known that McMahon Sr. never wanted to compete with other promotions.

His reign was during the territorial days and had he known that his son would create a monopoly in the wrestling business for years, the chances of him handing over the company would have been slim.

Regardless of what your opinion is of how Vince McMahon has handled things, wrestling would never have enjoyed mainstream success without him. One big change Vince McMahon made was the introduction of entrance music for wrestlers.

It's hard to imagine pro wrestling without entrance music, especially since several iconic moments are associated with it. Jim Johnston, the man behind several iconic WWE theme songs, told Chris Van Vliet in an interview that Vince McMahon made an unpopular decision in the eyes of his father - introducing entrance music for wrestlers:

"Matter of fact, one of my favorite stories was Vince’s father, when Vince bought the company from his dad and he wanted to put music in and his father told him, β€˜If you put music to this program, you will completely kill this business.’ So, big miss by dad right there," said Johnston.

This turned out to be one of the best decisions that Vince McMahon could have made, as it helped give several superstars a larger-than-life feeling. If you think about the biggest stars over the years such as Hulk Hogan, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin, The Rock, The Undertaker, and more, their theme songs helped establish their persona and presence.

#4. Vince McMahon refusing to turn John Cena heel

John Cena was WWE's Golden Boy for 10 years
John Cena was WWE's Golden Boy for 10 years

For several years, Vince McMahon shot down the idea of a John Cena heel turn. In 2005, John Cena and Batista were the two superstars that received World Championship coronations.

While Batista went on to have a Hall of Fame career in his own right, it was Cena who was chosen to be the franchise player - the face of WWE. It was an important role to have, and for most of that time, he was a polarizing superstar that was largely hated by the hardcore fanbase while remaining popular with the larger, more casual audience.

There were reportedly ideas to turn John Cena heel, but Vince McMahon stuck to his guns. Not only did Cena have an unprecedented decade-long run as the face of the company, but he became the biggest merchandise seller in WWE history.

Setting a record for the most wishes granted for "Make A Wish", John Cena was nothing short of a superhero to several children. This decision paid off for Vince McMahon as he eventually labeled Cena as the "Babe Ruth of WWE".

Even when John Cena was booed out of the building at Madison Square Garden at Survivor Series 2011, he was the highest merchandise seller on a night that featured The Rock's in-ring return. That says everything you need to know about Vince McMahon's decision.

#3. Vince McMahon booking "Once in a Lifetime" twice

The Rock and John Cena at WrestleMania 29
The Rock and John Cena at WrestleMania 29

WrestleMania 28 was the first and only time that a main event was announced a full year in advance. When The Rock was announced as the host of WrestleMania 27, nobody outside of a small circle knew that his contract was for three WrestleMania appearances.

Despite this, Vince McMahon used the opportunity to market the WrestleMania 28 main event between The Rock and John Cena as "Once in a Lifetime" knowing that they would have a rematch a year later.

WrestleMania 28 was a massive success, and Vince McMahon's marketing paid off as the pay-per-view garnered 1.217 million buys - the highest in WWE history. They faced off a year later at WrestleMania 29.

Given that CM Punk's 434-day WWE Title reign ended for this main event to be set up, it was an unpopular decision that Vince McMahon made. Thankfully for him, he stuck to his guns and didn't add CM Punk to the match. This resulted in WrestleMania 29 getting 1 million pay-per-view buys - down by 200,000, but still a huge number regardless.

#2. Vince McMahon and The Montreal Screwjob

A messy situation
A messy situation

Bret Hart spat on Vince McMahon's face after the main event of Survivor Series 1997 while the face of the company wrote "WCW" in the air to indicate his move. There's not much that we can say that already hasn't been said about The Montreal Screwjob, but the fallout from it was perhaps the best thing that could have happened to McMahon and WWE.

Bret Hart was leaving WWE after Vince McMahon couldn't honor his lucrative long-term contract. WCW, who was splashing big money on the biggest names was willing to pay Hart what he wanted, so McMahon allowed his biggest star at the time to leave.

The controversy of the finish and Vince McMahon's interview justifying it made him the biggest heel in all of wrestling, and it helped create the "Mr. McMahon" character. Had there been no Mr. McMahon character, 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin and The Rock would never have reached the heights that they did in the Attitude Era.

It remains one of the most controversial moments in WWE history, but the decision that Vince McMahon made ended up benefiting him in the long run.

#1. Vince McMahon's decision to make WWE PG

Was Linda McMahon behind WWE's move to PG ratings?
Was Linda McMahon behind WWE's move to PG ratings?

Vince McMahon's decision to turn WWE into a PG product again paid off big. The PG Era began in 2008 and has surpassed the length of the Attitude Era (1997-2002) and the Ruthless Aggression Era (2002-2008) combined. WWE's decision to move to an edgier, adult product was made out of desperation as the company was falling behind their biggest competitors WCW.

Tied in with the timing of The Montreal Screwjob, the Attitude Era took WWE to new heights, with record-breaking ratings and incredible success on an international mainstream level.

The timing of WWE's move to PG was an interesting one. It was in 2009 that Linda McMahon began her campaign to run for U.S. Senator. Some believe that the move to PG coincided with her eventual political campaign.

WWE made a big shift by banning chair shots, bleeding, and excessive violence. Vince McMahon and Linda McMahon justified the move as one to establish a younger audience - something that WWE was always looking for.

From a financial perspective, the gamble paid off. WWE may not be an edgy product anymore, but it's made them more profitable than ever - even during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Edited by Kaushik Das
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