Last Monday, WWE Chairman Vince McMahon was a special guest on a live edition of the Stone Cold Steve Austin Show podcast that aired on the WWE Network. His opinion on a number of topics raised a lot of eyebrows, but none more so than his criticism of the current roster.
He accused these millennials for not having the desire to reach for the brass ring.
Think about that for a second.
McMahon basically admitted that he does not have faith in anyone on the roster outside of the established headliners, and relative newcomers such as Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, and Bray Wyatt. When asked about Cesaro, he cited his Swiss heritage as being a possible reason as to why he’s failed to connect with the audience.
Vince’s brass ring analogy is a nice way of saying what he could never say publicly: the brass ring exists only for those he personally handpicks for success.
For proof of this theory we can look no further than Zack Ryder. It was a few years ago when he created his own unique path toward obtaining the brass ring.
In 2011, Ryder debuted his You Tube series, Z! True Long Island Story. The videos were a humorous look into Ryder’s life outside of the ring. The videos increased in popularity to the point that Ryder actually started getting over at live events and on television. Ryder got so hot that his run-in on Dolph Ziggler at that year’s Survivor Series received the second biggest reaction of the night next to Rock.
WWE initially listened to the fans and gave Ryder a brief United States Championship run before promptly burying him at every turn, thus squandering the momentum he worked so hard to achieve. Today, he is rarely seen on television.
Truthfully, the current version of WWE makes it virtually impossible for anyone to get over to a significant degree. McMahon encourages his performers to go out there and be themselves while actively discouraging them from doing any such thing. Speaking up to management and standing up for yourself is seen as a one-way ticket to midcard obscurity. It’s for this reason that so many former WWE stars feel liberated upon being released from the company.
I’m sure that many of the boys look at Ryder’s career as a cautionary tale of what not to do in WWE. It’s for this reason that WWE continually fails to produce the kind of enduring figures they did in years past.
Could you imagine if Hulk Hogan, Roddy Piper, Austin, Rock, Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Chris Jericho, C.M. Punk, John Cena, Brock Lesnar, Bret Hart, Undertaker, Mick Foley, or Randy Savage never voiced their opinion to management on things that they felt were right or wrong for their character. Each of them would have never reached the level of success they did. They would have ended up forever chasing the elusive brass ring.
Much like the current roster.