For all Canadians on the board: Vince McMahon is a very special guest on Michael Landsberg's OFF THE RECORD program on Tuesday and Wednesday. I'm looking forward to it, but I will admit that I don't care too much for Landsberg's interview style.
I hope I'll be able to get the show taped, because I'll be working, dammit :-)
Just a reminder - the TSN / wrestling website has complete transcripts (along with streaming video F'N Shapiro!), usually posted a day or two after the show (if not sooner). Always good stuff, especially if you ain't Canadian...
Personally, I thought Landsberg's last interview with Vince was one of the best I've heard McMahon give ever.
Landsberg certainly has that 'obnoxious' air about him, but he certainly prepares for his interviews. If there's a Net criticism or whatever about his interview subject, he definitely gets that across... and rarely sugarcoats it.
The most interesting part for me is Landsberg asking Vince about the Canadian wrestlers changing to U.S introduction. Vince tried the old "Benoit been living in the Atlanta" (of course that doesn't fly as most wrestlers moved to Florida yet are still being called from their original home town. Mike missed that point)... Lansberg asked "Christian is said to be from Toronto", Vince simply said "Because he's a heel". Vince finally goes into detail that he feels Americans aren't going to be as responsive to Canadian babyfaces. (I'd like Michael to ask, so how did Canadian Trish became the top face woman for a couple of years? Sure you can't portray Trish as an all-American girl like you can Torrie but who cares. Is Y2J or Benoit going to be All-American boys? You give them strong characters they're get over)
They talk about Bret Hart, Vince had a meeting with Bret who came late. Bret blamed traffic but Vince knows Bret was watching the Flames game. Vince is alot more complimentary to Bret even calling him a "Canadian Hero" which he refused to call him that during a previous interview. Vince said the whole Montreal thing was very unfortunate but admits under the same circumstances he'd probably do the same thing... He talked to Bret about a possible DVD or coming back for a one time deal.
Vince says he feels great and healthy and doesn't plan on retiring but when he does the Shane, Steph and HHH will be in charge... Steph is doing a great job as lead of the writers says Vince. Triple H has a great mind and would have a role in the wrestling department
Hogan left a message on his machine saying he's healthy and in great shape brother.
Austin biggest problem in leaving is that he wanted full rights to the Stone Cold name to do outside projects. Michael wonders why "The Rock" has the rights to use his WWE name, Vince corrects him and says the Rock name is only licensed to him... Vince says there wasn't much you can do with the Stone Cold character as he can't wrestle anymore or work a full time schedule. Vince said he gave Austin a fair offer especially considering he walked out of the company twice and was brought back even with Austin's troubles physically and personally and Austin declined this latest offer. Austin can come back, the door is open.
Most interesting part of this in Part 2 is when McMahon is asked if not having WCW competition hurt wrestling in the long run. He can't bring in guys like Benoit and Guerrero to freshen his show up with new stars like he once did. Part of Vince wishes there still was a WCW (I agree with that alot, that really hurts WWE that they can not get that instant jolt with bringing in an established WCW star)... Landsberg asks if Vince thinks Ted Turner will get back into wrestling. Vince was really surprised Ted left wrestling but he doesn’t think he's coming back with the huge start up costs to do it right. Oh and Vince doesn't have much respect for NWATNA as he calls it "TNA, I think that's what it's called" LoL. He says he doesn't see much potential in it.
Michael asks why did Vince allow Kurt to wrestle on WM 19 with a damaged neck. Kurt was very persistent in wanting to wrestle, they went to the doctors and even though it's a risk they felt they get by one match okay. Michael gets on Vince's case on not caring for the well being of workers... Vince said he wouldn't risk someone like Kurt if he thought he'd be seriously more injured wrestling in that one match, because he cares for his workers as Vince feels like a father figure and Kurt is so important as an long term investment he wouldn't risk that either.
They talk about Lesner, Michael says if Vince constructed a wrestler in a lab it would be Brock Lesner. Vince said he was totally blindsided by Lesner wanting to play football. Vince says Lesner biggest problem is that he just didn't feel part of the WWE family and didn't enjoy his time on the road... Vince is disappointed as Brock was just getting to be a box office draw of people wanting to see him and establishing his character as he took off. Lesner leaving might have something to do with him not necessary growing up loving professional wrestling and getting into just because he's talented enough to be in it and not necessary him loving the industry to work to get to it. (Very good point, which I think has alot of truth to it).
They talk about steroids, Vince thinks baseball should uphold Barry Bonds and all it's athletes to a code of not cheating. Of course why does Vince not do the same, Vince replies that wrestling is not a sport, it's entertainment so there's no real cheating in competition using steroids. Michael asks "But think of the children!". Vince says steroids is used to heal injuries faster and there's no juice heads in the lockerroom quietly adds "At least I hope not"(Instead of the lame Think of the Kids line I wish Michael would have gone with the domino effect with the actual wrestlers having to keep up with others who are on the juice, Michael miss the point there).
Another big Lansberg miss was talking about Hogan. Vince really came out honestly saying Hogan wasn't happy with his WM 19 payoff so he left shortly. Also Vince wants to look at the future and having a part timer like Hogan getting all the TV time a star like Hogan would need, it's just not worth it. Mike brings up Hogan refusing to job to BigShow. Vince doesn't recall that but at times Hogan reputation is deserved. For whatever reason Mike stays on the BigShow/ Hogan thing (Who cares. Hogan jobbed to both Kurt & Brock who cares about this alleged Big Show non-job. This is when Landsberg wrestling interviews becomes poor, when he makes a big deal over stupid & irrelevant internet insider smarky stuff)... Vince says he'd like to bring Hogan for the Hall of fame next year & maybe a quick pop in an arena but not full time. Michael asks maybe SD needs Hogan. Vince says SD is rebuilding with guys like Gurerrero and Cena.
Michael asks as the FCC isn't on WWE case does that concern Vince. Vince said WCW and WWF both were burning the candle on both ends and couldn't keep up that pace, he's happy WCW burned out first. He's happy with the WWE is now and doesn't desire to go backwards. That era was fine, but this era is good as well and he likes having decent people working for him (Michael sounds kind of naive thinking that controversy was what made WWE back then)... We leave with some name association. Nash: Good guy, funny. Hall: Unfortunately drugs. Luger: Egotistic. Sting: Don't know him, doubt he'd come to WWE because of his age and schedule demands. Heyman: Clever (Mike asks "really clever") Vince answers "Naa just clever" LoL
smark/net attack wienerville advisory stays at BLUE alert - Guarded (With Benoit & Eddie being World & WWE champions you'd expect all's be right but couldn't do it due to Trish/Y2J character switches & whats the deal with JBL PPV main event)- 5/6
Landsberg is usually very solid in these interviews and did ask Vince some interesting things, but I really wish he'd scaled down the "look at me, I'm Vince's buddy" routine. Way too much kidding around in the interviews, especially since it was clear start to finish that Vince really wasn't into it and would just rather answer the questions.
The Toronto Maple Leafs: Hockey's equivalent of the Chicago Cubs, but easier to hate.