This is Voth22 from the blog, I’ll skip all the ass kissing, because I am not asking for a plug or a link- but I will say that I have been a fan of yours since around 1997, so obviously I think you do a great job.
I am writing with a question that has no real answer, but that I thought might be a good topic for debate/discussion on the blog.
There has been a good amount of conjecture about who Vince McMahon would have ride to the national stage if Hulk Hogan had not been around to strap a rocket to for whatever reason, but what about the opposite? What would have happened to wrestling if there was no Vince McMahon?
I think it is fair to say that, for good or for ill, there has been no one in history that has had the impact and influence on the sport that Vince has.
I think the two easiest answers would be that the status quo would have remained the same or that someone else would simply have changed the sport in his place… but I don’t think it is that easy.
1- With the advent of cable TV and other burdening media (PPV and the internet) I don’t think anyone could argue that wrestling was going to have to be in for some changes.
2- There does not seem to be any prominent promoter at the time who would have had the vision and resources to be the man to drive the change- The WWF probably passes to one of of Vince Senior’s Lieutenants all of whom were Lieutenants for a reason. Crockett has proven that he is not a good business man, Gagne is hopelessly resistant to change, Von Erich would be undercut by circumstances beyond his control (his family tragedy and the economic devastation of his home territory), Watts is too abrasive to forge the relationships necessary to change the game… etc…
Vince was a force in the WWWF/WWF from 1970 on and it is safe to say he had some influence, but realistically, he took full control in 1982 and began his ascent. But what happens to the business from that point if he was never born (or never decided to find his birth father or Linda killed him in his sleep or whatever)? Assuming that the Butterfly effect does not too greatly mess with anything else (EX- Magnum still wrecks his car, and Vern Gagne is still a really bad promoter)? Does the NWA manage to still rule the wresting world, what company/companies go national as competition, what happens to the WWF and how long do we take to get to some semblance of a modern era?
I look forward to reading everyone’s thoughts….
I think that Crockett would have kept expanding and would have taken over the Vince slot, actually. Crockett's main problem was that Vince wouldn't let him get any further north (well, OK, his main problem was Dusty killing towns, but that could have been overcome with a change of booker) and I think that Crockett and Turner together had enough vision to follow through with that plan. The territory system was going to die regardless and whoever had the deepest pockets (ie, Turner) was going to be the one to survive. WWF would have likely stayed regional in the northeast without Vince's hail mary pass in the form of Wrestlemania, and might have actually started expanding a bit once the TV and PPV era got going, but Vince risked a lot of other people's money to make that happen and I don't think the likes of Gorilla Monsoon and Pat Patterson could have pulled it off on their own.
I think ultimately we'd end up with WCW in a mostly monopoly, but with a much smaller universe than we have now. Weird to think of WCW Main Event style, where everything would be skewed to southern wrestling fans with Ric Flair getting endless nostalgia pushes.