UNSUPPORTED BROWSER
More Sports

WWE's feud with NBA just another cheap storyline for McMahon

Vince McMahon has built a wrestling empire on building good guys and bad guys and creating storylines out of thin air that some people might even buy. Well, I'm sorry Vince, I'm not buying it, not this time.

McMahon might want to make himself out to be the good guy after Denver's Pepsi Center double booked his WWE Monday Raw show on Memorial Day with Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals between the Lakers and Nuggets, "forcing him" to move the show to Los Angeles and the home of the Lakers, but the truth is he's the bad guy here.

From the moment that this scheduling conflict arose, which actually isn't that uncommon, McMahon was never looking to keep this event in Denver. He was looking to make the biggest and longest splash he could with this golden ticket he had stumbled upon.

The predicament was better than winning the lottery for McMahon. He already has enough money; the only thing he hasn't been able to buy is mainstream publicity. Oh sure, he's tried. He's spent millions of dollars over the past three years bringing in Donald Trump, Floyd Mayweather and Mickey Rourke to hype up WrestleMania. He faked his own death and gave away $1 million a week in order to spike sagging ratings. He latched onto Rourke and The Wrestler once it received critical praise after initially panning it. He had a fake Rosie O'Donnell fight a fake Donald Trump on Raw when those two were feuding. No one is better at piggybacking off the fame of others in order to get some publicity than McMahon and this, "Denver Debacle," the pay-per-view-like nickname he's given the situation, is a perfect example.

The fact is McMahon could have easily kept this event in Denver by moving Raw to the nearby Denver Coliseum, a solution that would have accommodated all the fans who bought tickets for the event. Instead, he declined to keep the show in Denver, announcing that fans with tickets to Monday's show could exchange them for tickets to a non-televised event at the Coliseum in August. According to Kroenke Sports, he also reneged on the idea of moving Raw to Sunday night at the Pepsi Center, instead saying that it had to be on Monday night and holding a press conference in Times Square Thursday where he continued to bash Stan Kroenke, the owner of the Pepsi Center and the Nuggets.

As much as McMahon would like you to believe that it's imperative that Raw be live on Monday, it really isn't a necessity. Smackdown, the WWE's other signature show, is taped Tuesday and shown Friday nights. In fact for five years when Raw was garnering its highest ratings in the late 1990s, it was taped Tuesday every other week.

The problem is McMahon doesn't care about accommodating his fans in Colorado, which were suddenly left high and dry. It's all about keeping this publicity train rolling for as long as possible and milking every last possible headline. Why else would McMahon move Raw to the Staples Center on Monday night? Does he really think the home of the Lakers will give him the best chance to sell out his event on short notice given that it will be going head-to-head against Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals between the Lakers and Nuggets?

This isn't about McMahon appeasing his core fan base; it's about McMahon appealing to the mainstream fan base that he craves. That's why he said he's going to have five wrestlers in Lakers uniforms facing off against five wrestlers in Nuggets uniforms on Monday's show as well as having confrontation between his character, "Mr. McMahon" and some mustached Stan Kroenke imposter. McMahon isn't doing this to put on the best show for his fans; he's doing this to get one last ESPN highlight.

Fans in Colorado holding tickets for cancelled events that could have been salvaged by McMahon must have realized they had become nothing more than victims of a bad wrestling storyline with every bombastic interview McMahon did as he discussed this so-called "Denver Debacle."

In reality, the only real debacle here after the Pepsi Center's double booking has been McMahon's treatment of his fans in Colorado, quickly turning on them in order to get a few more seconds in the national spotlight. Then again, it shouldn't be such a surprise that McMahon went from being the good guy to the bad guy in the blink of an eye; he's made a living off doing just that his entire career.

SI.com

Drag this icon to your bookmark bar.
Then delete your old SI.com bookmark.

SI.com

Click the share icon to bookmark us.