The final product may not always live up to the hype, but the crown jewel of Vince McMahon’s promotion is still as popular at the Daytona 500 or in some cases, the Super Bowl.
While SummerSlam is considered the second in line of Vince’s masterful creations, he has taken a decidedly left-coast approach to the event. The Staples Center in Los Angeles has become the specific locale, bringing in celebrities and a cross section of media coverage that may not be afforded McMahon had he not extended his brand into movie making ventures.
This is sports entertainment, but I have to wonder which part of “sports” and which part of “entertainment” is more important to McMahon right now? And with that statement, does being on the west coast of the country hinder the selling of an event I think should be promoted like WWE WrestleMania in a summer venue.
When wrestling had other major promotions like the AWA and the NWA, the summer time was about big promotional events. Super Brawl and the Great American Bash were masterful events bring in wrestlers from all over to compete or be on display in cities that would not normally gain such recognition with the business.
While I am not as familiar with Verne Gagne and his AWA company, I do know wrestlers we are familiar with like Ken Patera, Ric Flair, Rick Steamboat, Hulk Hogan and The Road Warriors all got their start in Minnesota.
The NWA would have huge outdoor events, music (mainly country) and promotions that would bring out diehard fans and give unsuspecting wrestlers who would not normally wrestle for the NWA Title a chance to work with Ric Flair or Dusty Rhodes or Harley Race.
This is how we learned about how great Ricky Morton was a singles wrestler and witnessed an “I Quit Match” between Tully Blanchard and Magnum TA.
Vince is missing the boat here, in my opinion. This is like two great tastes that go great together.
This year’s SummerSlam could be the best ever in terms of main event potential with John Cena and Daniel Bryan working the show. While Los Angeles is a good spot for it, given movies that have come out recently been on the big screen and the premiere of the new Divas program on E!, McMahon knows where he should spend his dollars.
But what if the WWE took SummerSlam on the road again? And not the venues like Staples but the Rose Bowl, Cowboys Stadium, The Big House, and yes EverBank Field? The WWE would have another gold mine here. Cities competing every summer for the venue and the capital that is gained by such an event would mean millions to economies.
And the platform is something everyone in the WWE Universe could get geeked about.
As a wrestling writer, I spend hours watching shows and working on ideas to better the product. I think the companies involved have gotten away from what the marquee used to say – that being wrestling.
The stories being told are not solid foundations like they used to be and the work of McMahon’s father, Vince Sr., along with the likes of Gagne, Fritz Von Erich, Eddie Graham and Joe Blanchard are lost on the fans of today.
The Attitude Era has something to do with that.
Giving SummerSlam the attention of a WrestleMania may also allow the WWE to cut back a few of its PPV events and concentrate more on story telling rather than throwing something together and hoping it will stick to a wall. And that would also mean we won’t see return matches two and three times.
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