Did you know “WWE” has been around longer than the “WWF” was? Time is funny like that. (Here’s another one: Steve Austin has been doing his podcast longer than he was competing in Vince McMahon’s rings.) The premiere of Ruthless Aggression on the WWE Network also revealed shocking news about the name change — it was done only to keep up with the times. There was no lawsuit or an organization trying to help the environment involved. It was all Vince’s brilliant idea, right along with garishly blurring the old logo and bleeping of any mention of “WWF.”
Unsurprisingly, fans were upset at Vince’s attempts to once again rewrite history. The question is, why? Even before he bought WCW, the owner of WWE has had no problems with revisionist history. Whether it’s ignoring the past, changing names, or though outright lies, Vince is quick to tell his version of history. Here are some of the most blatant examples.
Vince has always had a thing about changing names — just ask Skinner and the Bushwhackers. He is still doing it today, even though it’s in less spectacular fashion. Simba is the most infamous, however. From the racist overtones to Roddy Piper screaming “that’s Tony Atlas,” the gimmick was doomed from the start. The rare silly WWF gimmick that is not looked back on fondly.
Ignoring Championships (Part I)
Changing a name is one thing. Refusing to acknowledge a former World Champion is just odd. Harley Race was able to be called the “King of Wrestling” (until Jerry Lawler put a stop to it) but others did not fare so well. Curt Hennig became Mr. Perfect while Kerry Von Erich was the Texas Tornado. It took Ric Flair’s shocking debut to put an end to the nonsense.
Ignoring Championships (Part II)
An argument can be made for not putting over championships won in another promotion. If Vince feels that Race and Von Erich going for the at the time rare NWA/WWF World Title double victory was not a worthwhile story, more power to him. To ignore in-house accomplishments, however, is just foolish. Demolition is the best example. When they eclipsed the Valiants for longest Tag Team Title reign, it was never mentioned. (ironically, they were finally given credit decades later, when the New Day passed their record.) The Demos were on the other end, being given too much credit as the first three time champs when the Wild Samoans and Mr. Fuji and Professor Tanaka had already accomplished the feat.
Look, who I found!
Vince loved making it seem like he had discovered all his talents. Much like today’s NXT has done nothing to create new stars, the WWF in the 1980s raided other promotions for the best talent in the world. “New” superstars like The Rockers and The Undertaker just materialized from nowhere if you were to listen to the WWF’s announcers. When Ricky Steamboat’s Intercontinental Title reign from just four years before is all but ignored, the company has credibility issues. The only thing worse would be if Gorilla Monsoon referred to a 45 year old who had been in the sport for three decades as a “fiery youngster”.
Andre the Giant
This is the biggest one of all. The WrestleMania III match between Hogan and Andre was the peak of the ’80s boom period. There were better matches, better years, and more money to be made, but the match was the epitome of the time. For months, the WWF hyped up that Andre was unbeaten and had never been slammed. The fact that both had already been done in the WWF — by Hogan, no less! — shows how little respect Vince has for his fans.
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