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411 Wrestling Fact or Fiction: Are We Surprised Vince McMahon is Back in WWE?

January 16, 2023 | Posted by Jake Chambers
Vince McMahon Higher Power WWE Image Credit: WWE

Welcome back to the 411mania Wrestling Fact or Fiction. I’m your host Jake Chambers.

Last week saw the return of the (semi) annual Larry Csonka Memorial 411 Wrestling Fact or Fiction Tournament!

All 411 readers loved Larry – the legendary reviewer and ambassador of the site – and we miss his insights, humor, uncompromising perspective and pure love of pro-wrestling – all attributes writers should bring to the this debate column that he hosted for so many years.

For this week’s next first round match up we have the winner of the 2020 tournament, the esteemed Steve Cook. As a long tenured writer at 411, Steve has done it all and still continues to pump out unique, timely and always entertaining Top 7 columns (such as here).

Hoping to knock off the champion is Robert Leighty Jr., the vaunted reviewer of shows on the periphery of WWE, such as Raw Talk and NXT Level Up, including his yearly ranking of all his reviewed Main Event matches.

These guys are ready to do battle in tribute to the great Larry Csonka, so let’s get it on!

Participants were told to expect wrestling-related content, as well as possible statements on quantum physics, homemade pharmaceuticals, the Turtle Total Trip Theorem, pizza and hydroponics.

Statement #1: You were surprised Vince McMahon came back to the WWE.

Steve Cook: FICTION – Vince’s status as a workaholic was among the first things we learned about his persona away from television. “Vacation” was not in his vocabulary. Employees were afraid to take time off because Vince would think less of them. The man never would have left his position on top of WWE except for the circumstances that came up a few months ago. Of course, if you ask Vince he’d tell you he did nothing wrong.

Now, Vince seems to be looking to cash out. Who can blame him? The company has never been more profitable, and never been more valuable to content providers. He doesn’t trust the kids to do it, again it’s tough to blame him. Vince is gonna get his bag, and anybody with an issue better STAND BACK. For all his flaws, I have no doubt that Vince will get the best deal & the most money out of anybody that purchases WWE. I also have no doubt that whoever purchases WWE will welcome Vince’s input on what to do with the entity. Does anybody doubt the idea that Vince can’t wait to get back into creating some wrestling television? It’s his thing. Much like old sports coaches that pass away soon after being forced into retirement since they based their whole lives around coaching and can’t function without the job, Vince would wither away to nothing if he couldn’t do what he’s done most of his life. Hell, Vince’s father passed away not long after selling his enterprise. The rest of the family lived a few more decades on average.

Robert Leighty Jr.: FICTION – It’s Vince McMahon!  There is nothing he can do that will surprise me.  There was hope he would stay busy enough in retirement with whatever he was doing, but unless he was in a coma, dead, or returned back to whatever planet he came there was never a chance you could say he was 100% done with WWE.  This company is his life and it’s not unlike pro athletes retiring and then not knowing what they are going to do.  With Vince we all knew it was a forced retirement and this is pro-wrestling.  We know how much weight a retirement actually carries.  

Statement #2: Sasha Banks / Mercedes Mone will main event an AEW PPV in 2023.

Steve Cook: FICTION – There are two things making me think the idea of Mercedes Mone main eventing an AEW PPV is a bit of a pipe dream. For one thing, she still hasn’t appeared on AEW television. That could change, but the odds are leaning towards it not changing anytime soon.

Perhaps more importantly, in order for Mercedes to main event an AEW PPV, the AEW women’s division would have to have a story worthy of that spot. Sure, we’ve seen a Jamie Hayter title defense in the main event slot on Dynamite very recently. That’s nice and all, but I don’t see it as an indication that Tony Khan will want to main event a PPV with a women’s match. Would it be fun? Sure. But until the AEW women are bigger draws to the hardcore fans than the likes of MJF, Jon Moxley, Kenny Omega and others that we usually see in that slot, I don’t see it happening. Hope I’m wrong!

Robert Leighty Jr.: FICTION – She may end up in AEW, but with only a handful of PPVs a year, I can’t see her getting a Main Event slot.  It’s really as simple as that.  The numbers don’t lie as I can’t see her closing the show at Double or Nothing, All Our, or Full Gear.  They only way this happens is if she joins AEW on the condition they have an all Woman’s PPV and she closes that show.  Now if she does go to AEW she will certainly Main Event Dynamite, Rampage, or any of the specialty themed Dynamite shows.  I say Fiction based on the odds that AEW won’t have an All Woman’s PPV this year.  

Statement #3: The Sami Zayn / Bloodline storyline will end in a very predictable way.

Steve Cook: FACT – One figures that once all is said and done, Sami Zayn won’t be an Honorary Uce. Something will go down where he gets kicked out of the Bloodline, or he stops acknowledging his Tribal Chief. Nobody will be surprised when this happens. If Sami gets kicked out, they might get mad. If Sami doesn’t bend the knee to Roman Reigns, they might be happy. They won’t be surprised, unless they started watching wrestling last week. One of the problems of being an old head like me: everything is “predictable”. I’ve seen it all.

Here’s the thing that I think a lot of people don’t realize: “predictable” doesn’t always equal “bad”. Too often, we see wrestling writers take stupid left turns to present an “unpredictable” scenario to swerve the people. Unpredictable is overrated. Do what makes sense. The Bloodline story has worked so far, and Sami’s involvement has kicked it up another notch. Maybe the ending will be predictable, but I have some faith in them to play it out in a way that generates interest.

Robert Leighty Jr.: FACT – It’s going to end with Sami Zayn being turfed out of the group as most predict and that isn’t a bad thing.  From there they can take it different directions and at some point Sami has to get one over on The Bloodline to give the fans something to cheer.  Everyone wants to yell about predictability, but there is nothing wrong with that as long as it is done right and makes sense.  Some the greatest stories in wrestling history were predictable.  A swerve for the sake of a swerve is not needed and only weakens the story.  Sami getting turfed from The Bloodline will be epic with the fan reaction as we will see hearts break in the crowd and it will make him a massive babyface.  That is the ending and while predictable it makes the most sense and it will make the payoff sweeter when Sami and KO team up to take the Tag Titles off The Usos.  


Statement #4: Wrestling matches on TV should take a time out during commercial breaks like all other televised sports.

Robert Leighty Jr.: FICTION – NO! NO! NO!  I have been a wrestling fan for as long as I can remember (I am 41 now) and I shudder to think about wrestling taking a TV time-out.  That would absolutely kill the flow of a match and just be awful.  Wrestling doesn’t have rounds like boxing or MMA and the idea of a TV time-out would crush my soul.  Perhaps I am old, but I just don’t see how that would ever work.  They are creative enough to work around commercial breaks while keeping things entertaining for the crowd.  Picture in picture during commercials works fine and if I miss something oh well, as the cameras are rolling and they will let us know when we come back from break.  

Steve Cook: FICTION – I get Jake’s idea here. We all love it when wrestling tries to be a sport. There’s no way I would ever recommend TV timeouts like you see in basketball. Have you been to a  WWE TV taping before? Those things can get pretty long and monotonous with all the breaks in the action for interviews and commercials. Now you want the wrestlers to get a time out and sit in their corners during the long commercial break? I wouldn’t wish that on my fellow wrestling fans that would have even more time to sit on their hands.

Then you have AEW TV tapings. A good chunk of their matches take place during commercials, and are featured in picture by picture. I think this is better than nothing, though I’ll admit to not paying as much attention to the match during the commercials. If AEW had wrestlers pause for commercials, they’d barely have matches. That doesn’t sound like great TV to me. 

Plus, it’d get rid of the classic announcer line “There’s no timeouts in wrestling!”. We can’t have that.

Statement #5: If the WWE is for sale you care who buys it.

Robert Leighty Jr.: FACT – This is interesting as I never thought the day would come when the WWE would be sold.  Then the fake news report leaked Tuesday night about Saudi Arabia buying WWE and it had me up most of the night checking my phone to see if it really happened.  I didn’t think it would affect me in that way, but it made think back on nearly 40 years of being a wrestling fan.  I care what happens to the legacy of the WWE because a massive part of my life is tied to our pseudo-sport and while it sounds crazy, that video library is a part of my childhood.  That is where my first thoughts went as I wondered what would happen to WWE Network.  I started being grateful I still kept my 300 plus DVDs/VHS tapes.  I then was concerned about what a WWE run by The Saudis would mean for the talent there and what it would mean for the future of pro-wresting.   I have a 2 year old son and 5 year old son at home and I thought about that and how I wanted to pass my love of wrestling down to them.  My 5 year old has started to get into a bit and just likes having it on in the background.  If the WWE is sold I hope it ends up in good hands and it’s something that can be enjoyed for generations to come.  

Steve Cook: FACT – Of course it matters who purchases WWE from the McMahons. I’d expect the product to largely be the same no matter what happens, but there are important questions that will need to be answered. We need to know which streaming service is going to carry their Premium Live Events. We need to know what TV channels will air Raw & SmackDown. These answers will vary based upon which media conglomerate ends up purchasing WWE. 

Oh, and if it ends up being Saudi Arabia, I’m going to need to purge my 411 writing history & social media accounts of any less than wildly positive references to the Kingdom. I’ve seen how the regime reacts to criticism, and I’d prefer not to be on the business end of a bonesaw anytime soon. 

Now it’s up to you, 411 readers, who do you think deserves the win this week and a spot in the tournament finals in a few weeks? Please vote!

Thanks to Steve Cook! Be sure to check out his social media: https://twitter.com/stevecook84

Thanks as well to Robert Leighty Jr. for joining us – definitely follow him on Twitter as well: https://twitter.com/RobertLeightyJr

And we will see you next time for another first round match up in the Larry Csonka Memorial 411 Wrestling Fact or Fiction Tournament!

As well, I want to remind everyone reading this that the Go Fund Me set up for Larry’s daughters is still active: https://www.gofundme.com/f/larrymania-living-on-in-his-girls