|WWF Byte This! by E.C. Ostermeyer||
This is a WWE Byte This! Special Report for Friday, 7 June 2002.
This week's report will be different from most, as it details Vince McMahon's visit to the Byte This! show to talk about the "State of the Business" in WWE.
No pyro, no music, not even any
Today's show has a sort of "joined-in-progress" feel about it, as hosts Kevin Kelly and Dr. Tom Prichard are already seated, and are joined live on the Byte This! set by none other than Vince McMahon.
Vince gets in some digs with some barbed comments on Kevin Kelly's obvious weight gain since he, Vince, was last on the show.
Kelly, in obvious distress, nevertheless does the best sh*t-eating grin I've ever seen, because it IS the Boss who is making fun of him, ho ho, and Kelly does want to keep his job, ha ha.
Dr. Tom looks like somebody just upended a box of live tarantulas into the seat next to him.
"Don't let Kevin say anything that might make you leave, sir," says Dr. Tom, giving Kelly a withering glance in the process, and getting one back from Kelly with interest.
"I, uh, know there's been a lot of talk, a lot of conjecture," says Kelly, "so many things have changed, from the company's name to the brand extension. This has been a very turbulent time, and there's been talk that you take a couple of steps back, before you take five or six forward. Where do you see everything right now?"
"Have you gained weight?"
"Uh, thank you for noticing, uh, Sir."
"You have, then?"
"Just checking. The question was?"
"Where does everything stand in your opinion in World Wrestling Entertainment?"
"State of flux," say Vince, "I think, generally speaking you are going to find that's where we are as a company. You know, to change as often as we do, and to have endured for generations, and the way WWE has adapted to the times, we will always be in a state of flux. It is our reason for survival, our always being in a state of flux. That's where we are right now."
"With great prosperity," ventures Kelly, "there often times comes a comfort zone. Do you think the company fell into a comfort zone because of the success we had in the late 90's and first part of the 21st Century?"
"It happens with every company," replies Vince, "you reach a certain plateau, and you look back on where you began, and people say 'well, your business is cyclical,' and I say 'no, it's not!' In our history we've had peaks and valleys, but when you look at it on an on-going basis for the last twenty years, there's been steady growth. We've had peaks and valleys, but generally speaking every time we've had a peak, it's been higher than the last one, and the valleys are not as deep. So, we are going to have some flux. We can't be right 100% of the time; no one is. This is not a science. It's entertainment. The batting average is what's important in entertainment, and we have a very good one."
Kelly and Dr. Tom talk about the prominent use of the name "entertainment" in the business now. Dr. Tom says that entertainment was the reason he began watching professional wrestling back when he was growing up.
"Some of your critics," says Dr. Tom to Vince, "have said that you would like to take the word 'wrestling' out of World Wrestling Entertainment, and I'd like to know if you want to answer those people, and possibly even comment?"
"If I wanted to do that," say Vince, "why would we be 'World WRESTLING Entertainment?' I'm extremely proud of the word 'wrestling' in our name, extraordinarily proud of it. To me, it sets us apart from any other entertainment company. We are competing with ALL other forms of entertainment in our own way. The word 'wrestling' gives us a unique position on a global basis. No one can say that they are 'wrestling;' only World Wrestling Entertainment can say that, so it gives us a very unique position to be in; and allows us to dabble in the music world, and in the film world. It's all entertainment, but still under the guideline of World Wrestling Entertainment."
Kelly brings up the WWF's inter-office turmoil of the mid-90's, and how it spawned the era of "Attitude."
"If you could look ahead, what do you think the next trend will be?" asks Kelly. "Where will WWE find that niche, go over the top once again, and bring back those casual fans that have turned away?"
"I'm sensing a "totsumi" (tsunami?) if you would," says Vince, "coming our way, and it's a good one. I believe there's going to be a tidal wave from a creative direction standpoint that is going to wash away a lot of our ills, and wash up on the shore some brand new stars. We will also be working with stars that otherwise haven't had the opportunity, and stars that have and can go even higher. I'm sensing there is this big change coming in our business."
"Droz has said on occasion that he feels the Smackdown brand may be a stronger product overall than the Raw brand," says Kelly, " Do you think that is the case?"
"I don't know if it's the second tape thing, or you settle down with the writing or what," says Vince, "I would suggest that's a pretty accurate description. Sometimes Raw will go off the chart because it's live, and we don't get a second chance like we do in taping the Smackdown show. The taping gives us more consistency with Smackdown, but as for the comparison, I don't know why that is."
"Given the fact that talent we have here in WWE," says Dr. Tom, "is given a vignette, a promo to do on Smackdown or Raw, is it up to the talent to get it over with what they have inside them to make it that good? Or, if they are given a piece of paper (a script?) that isn't that good, will that come across the same way?"
"Who does the onus go to?" asks Kelly, "the talent? Or the support staff? The writing, the producing?"
"Well," says Vince "I think that everyone shares the glory, but also the blame when things don't go well. Take Stone Cold, for argument's sake. He's probably the most demanding superstar that I can ever recall working with. The writing team through the years has written some off-the-chart record-breaking singles and doubles, to use the music business analogy. So, on the one hand, there's that stack of records Austin's garnered through his own efforts, and also through the efforts of the support staff and writers. I understand, the other day, he was complaining about not having good material to work with. So, that's Stone Cold. As I said, he's the most demanding of anyone I've ever worked with. Sometimes, rightfully so. At the same time, he's reduced to producing gold albums rather than platinum ones at the moment. He has the ability to take something that's good, and make it into something outstanding. He does need some decent material to work with, too. It's a combination of things, bur it's important that everyone work together to try and better the product all for the right reasons for our fans, and that's why we do everything that we do."
"Do you foresee making any structural changes in the writing teams?" asks Kelly.
"Structural changes?" says Vince, pausing to reflect, "there may well be some structural changes coming. I don't know whether it will be from a corporate standpoint, from the writing, or from an all-around creative standpoint. There's this huge tidal wave coming our way at the moment, and I can't articulate to you what will happen. I just know it's on its way."
"Do you think that some of the talent, some of the producers, some of the writers," hazards Kelly, "do you think that they are perhaps trying too hard?"
"Oh, sure..." begins Vince,
"It's not for lack of effort, I know," says Kelly, "but can a situation come about where someone is trying too hard?"
"Without a doubt," says Vince, "and I think you will see that more on Raw than you will on Smackdown. Many times there is a tendency when business is not as good as it has been, you begin to "oversell," and wind up doing the old "Hard-Sell" type situation which is going to turn more people off than really turning them on. We need to concentrate on not over-selling, concentrate on better stories, action and all-around execution. If we do that, then we will begin to sell something again."
"Do you pay any attention to the feedback that you get from the Internet?" asks Kelly.
"I pay no attention to the Internet," says Vince...
"Really?" Kelly is alarmed at this revelation, and shoots a worried glance at Byte This! producer Big Country.
"No," says Vince, "but then again, you are losing weight, right, Kevin? But that's another story..."
"Hey, uhh," says Kelly, "that's...great...I... uhh, understand that the Internet fans make up a portion of our fan base. Some say more, some say less..."
"They are very vocal, nonetheless," adds Vince.
"Yes, they are," continues Kelly, "and some of the areas where they have been the most vociferous since the brand extension and the beginning of the year, and involve several areas I'd like to bring up."
"Go ahead," says Vince.
"Storylines that haven't materialized or are doing as well," begins Kelly, "such as the Invasion, or the NWO. The fans are saying that we'd had such high hopes for these storylines, but they haven't met expectations for some reason."
"The way I read the Internet," says Vince, "is that it seems everyone over there fancies themselves a writer, a 'booker' as we used to call them in our business. And, just like everyone's got an anus, everyone has an opinion. It is our world. We live in it, and we accept all criticisms that come our way, be they negative, or positive. I think that a little bit of knowledge is the world's worst thing. The anticipation of events can sometimes overshadow the reality, and there is no way you can live up to that anticipation. Sometimes you go into situations where there are contractual obligations that you didn't see but should have. And then it's "Oh my God, we are not going to live up to the public expectations in this. Then you bite the bullet. A lot of times, they are on the money with their criticism. But at the same time, not always."
"They don't have all the facts?" chimes in Kelly.
"No they don't," says Vince, "and you can't expect them to. They are given, strictly...well, it is quite frankly why we really care, because you care about someone's viewing habits and why they watch us. That's why we care. If they say we aren't doing something very well, then we probably aren't."
"Whether it's Raw or Smackdown," says Dr. Tom, "when you come back and you are completely satisfied...even if you had ten segments that were great the one you remember is the one bad segment?"
"I am never totally happy with anything," says Vince, "I have said this before, and most people think it's a "work," when I say it, but we can never do enough for our fans. If we do something well, then you'll see the performers coming back from the ring, and get a compliment from the fans. They don't want that compliment. The reason why is because it starts them thinking 'did I leave something out that I could have used to make the match better than what I gave the audience?' They are thrilled with what they got, but the true performer, the true professional says 'yeah, I know they were thrilled, but what didn't I do to take it to the next level?" That's what we feel on a consistent basis every night we go to work."
"One of the other areas that the fans have spoken about," says Kelly, " especially on last week's show where they were very vocal about it, is the amount of gross humor on Raw and Smackdown. Like what happened on Raw, with Stone Cold peeing on Arn Anderson, and then the Tommy Dreamer/Undertaker bit with the vomit. Where do you draw the line on doing something like that? And what causes us to sometimes step over the line?"
"Was it humor?" asks Vince.
"Shock humor," offers Dr. Tom.
"Yeah," says Kelly, "Austin's thing was funny, but Tommy Dreamer's been completely shocking audiences lately. You put what we saw early on with Austin and Arn Anderson, and then put it with Tommy Dreamer, and you got a theme for the night."
"As a cumulative effort," says Vince, I think it was way too much. If you had done one or the other, that would have been the right thing to do. The cumulative effort is what you look back on, and sometimes you think, 'how could I not see that this was going to be way too much?' Many times you have someone looking, not at the larger picture, but at one segment, and we have eleven segments per show. The accumulation of those segments is what the audience is looking at through the night. I hope that we can always make a show that's off the chart, but that is not to say that we won't cross the line on occasion. But we come back and hopefully draw some experience form that incident and maybe make the next week's show better because of it."
Kelly brings up the topic of the return of Shawn Michaels to WWE. Kelly says that it was a big surprise, given that Michaels had all but consigned his "Heartbreak Kid" persona to the flames recently on the WWE "Confidential" show.
"Where is Shawn Michaels going to fit into WWE?" asks Kelly.
|I'm gonna find that out from Shawn himself this Monday," says Vince, "I think "HBK" IS dead, and I think Shawn really meant that. But there is nothing wrong with Shawn Michaels. The Shawn Michaels I saw last Monday was a very focused Shawn Michaels, obviously in great condition, and firmly has his feet in solid concrete now. He knows what he wants out of life, and more important, what he doesn't want. I was thrilled to see him in that manner. With the attitude he showed last Monday, whatever he wants to do, he has the capacity to do just that, although I don't think "HBK" as we once knew him, is dead. We are going to see a different Shawn Michaels, a more entertaining Shawn Michaels."
Kelly opines that, while some people never grow up, maybe this is a case of Shawn Michaels finally growing up. "We've had this discussion before about being able to get beyond certain things," says Kelly, "we've seen some changes in the roster lately. Notably, we saw the release of Curt Hennig and Scott Hall, where it seems like men in their forties for some reason want to act like juvenile delinquents. Shawn is older, wiser, he has a child, he's finally matured."
"I think that guys in their early forties," says Vince, "who were once with us for a time sometimes fall back on the way things were, and they are not in tune with the way business is today. Our talents today are by in large more professional than their forbears in this business. Let's face it, at one time, when our business was over for the evening, you go to the bar, have a couple of drinks and relax. That's not where you find most of our guys now. Most of our guys are on the Internet, they're reading a book if you can imagine such a thing, or they are playing a video game. Or they are siting down, having an intelligent discussion. It is a welcome point of view in terms of professionalism. Today's wrestlers are more professional than they have ever been."
Dr. Tom says that maybe Shawn has grown up, but he still has the passion, like when he and Vince used to get into it.
"Do you relish that creative juice that Shawn has?" asks Dr. Tom.
"Oh yes, says Vince, "without a doubt..."
"You still like some of those arguments, those 'discussions' you and Shawn used to have?"
'Those 'discussions' got a little heated from time to time," says Vince, " I always look forward to being challenged and pushed. You can say certain things that you don't know if you really believe them. But with Shawn, he really shoves you up against the wall, and makes you wonder if you really believe it inside. It is easy to say "What Would You Do?" about this and that, but reality sometimes changes your mind."
Kelly shills for the Shawn Michaels interview on WWE.com, so the fans can find out more on Shawn Michaels' plans for the future.
Kelly moves on to the decline in live event business, and asks Vince's opinion on why live business is down?
"Is it a by-product of the economy?" Kelly asks, "do you see it as a result of the brand extension?"
"I think it's a combination of a lot of things," says Vince, "not just one thing. Our TV ratings and our business show that we are not really sick. We have a cold, not pneumonia. The economy is part of it, but I don't lay the blame on the economy, because I don't make excuses. It's like the "Gas Station" bit that Bobo Brazil used to talk about. If we had a slow night at a house show, with a small turnout, Bobo used to say that 'there was an All-Night Gas Station open," and that was the reason for the small turnout. He never made an excuse for a poor house. Meaning that there ARE no excuses. People who want to see us will somehow save their money and go to the show. I think as far as entertainment in our house shows is concerned, we are entertaining our patrons better than we ever have. The work-rate, a term used a lot on the Internet, is excellent at house shows, so I think we've got that going for us. But the TV ratings aren't as high as they were before, so less people are watching, and less people are aware that we are coming to town. That relates directly to attendance at the house shows. The Promotional Department is doing a great job supporting our events. Just from a creative standpoint, we haven't put the right combinations together that people want to see go off the chart. They want to see it at a certain price, and at a certain number of times per year. Just not quite as much as they did before."
Dr. Tom points out that when superstar fan favorites like Edge get injured, it must be hard to put another superstar in his spot.
"Do you feel for Edge?" asks Dr. Tom, "and for that guy who has to fill his spot?"
"I do feel for them," says Vince, "We get close to all of our superstars, personally and professionally. You feel badly for someone like that, no doubt about it, but again, in the career he will have, it is a matter of just "stubbing his toe." Being out "X" number of weeks is a bummer, for the company, for the fans, for Edge himself. But when you look at where he is going in his career, and how committed he is to excelling, this, in the long run, is stubbing his toe. So yes, it is difficult to deal with, but in the long run, he will succeed because of the professionalism of everyone involved. It's just a bummer on a short-term basis, and there is no way you can plug somebody into a spot. We found that out, although it seems sometimes that we are hell-bent on making the same mistakes over and over. Years ago, in the Garden (Madison Square Garden), we played this jungle-type music, and the announcer said "From the Fiji Islands..."
"Well, the crowd went nuts thinking it was Jimmy Snuka returning to the ring.
We brought out Sivi Affi, (sp?) who was every bit the athlete that Snuka was, though he didn't have the charisma necessarily. Affi had torches he was twirling around, swords and whatever. The poor bastard, they booed him, literally booed him out of the arena! I felt so badly for Sivi Affi. This was my idea. That's how I learned you can't plug somebody into a spot. That doesn't work."
Kelly asks if Vince has any regrets allowing the Rock to venture into Hollywood?
"Certainly not," says Vince, " it's been tremendously successful for the Rock. It has opened up what will be a tremendous film division for us. It is a logical extension of our business as long as we don't do something stupid. You know, like making a hundred million dollar movie. Which we are not."
"Where do you see the film division going?" asks Kelly.
"Again," says Vince, "we are to make an announcement about that shortly, about a big event. We will use a lot of our talent, of course, and we will combine with other studios in certain areas not WWE exclusive. I think the easy way to go is to start with some of our talents. We have an abundance of them. Put them in the right story, and it is going to be highly entertaining."
A question from the Chatroom asks if Vince conceded defeat in the court case with the World Wildlife Fund, and does Vince think that the WWE name is better than WWF?
Vince likes the "WWF" moniker.
"It's who we were," he says, " and even before, when we were the WWWF. We haven't conceded defeat yet, because it is still under appeal. This was just a way we could move on very quickly and be done with it. We've been battling these people for such a long time; maybe we will ultimately win. I hope so. But, nonetheless we had to move on."
Dr. Tom wants to know which Vince prefers: Reverend D-Von, or Brother Love?
"Uh, neither," says Vince, "do I have to make a choice? They both have a similar irritating delivery. By the time Brother Love got done saying that he l-o-o-o-ved me, the word "love" has about eighteen syllables in it. Reverend D-Von has a similar problem, that he has to get beyond."
"Then there is Deacon Bautista by his side," asks Dr. Tom, " is there anything at all that suggests that there is breakout potential from the Deacon?"
"You never can tell, " says Vince, "it is all about opportunity. I don't see the Deacon staying with D'Von all that long. Backstage, that young man has a hungry look in his eye, and if he ever gets a chance to prove himself individually, he's gonna do it."
Kelly asks about the return of the legacy talent like Goldust and Hulk Hogan, great names from the past, and contrasts them with the developmental talent that has been brought up, like Brock Lesnar and Randy Orton.
"In building the company forward," says Kelly, "is the emphasis going to be on bringing back some veteran talent to provide leadership for the young talent? Or, is it to have the young talent take the lead and go forward with you as the way to move the company into the 21st Century?
"It 's a combination of the two, " says Vince, "individuals such as Hogan, there's a name known across different generations. Hogan is typical of the veterans in that he wants to compete on a weekly basis. Hogan as Babe Ruth makes all the sense in the world. It is great to be able to come back in when the timing is right, and to not have a steady pounding on their bodies. Responsibility goes with carrying a load, in making more opportunity for the younger superstars. Guys like Hogan are anxious to pass the torch. It's our job to see they have someone to pass the torch to. They know they still got something. Maybe not as much as they had long ago, but they have something to give the public, and the public wants that, too."
Kelly asks where Vince would look for the next WWE superstar?
"Would you look to backyards, or the independent ranks, or look to another field of athletic endeavor?" asks Kelly.
"I can't say I'd look in one particular area over another," says Vince, "it is not fair to categorize it. Quite frankly, I am really down on the backyard stuff, and particularly perplexed as to why it would be glorified? Why something like that would be on PPV in the first place? And why someone would tape that? Are they that desperate?"
"Shameful profiteering," says Kelly, shaking his head in disgust.
"I can't throw rocks, and won't," says Vince, "but from a personal standpoint, I am concerned with it, that people will get the wrong idea from it. That they will see this on a wholesale basis on A&E, and they probably will, then what is going to happen is that there will be more and more of this. And to the parents...I don't know if I can fault the kids who want to do this sort of thing, because it is the Next Step for them. We all have played "wrestling" in the living room or whatever, with sisters or brothers or next-door neighbors, as kids. It's a natural thing to do to a certain extent. But this backyard stuff is can glorify that to the extent that somebody is really going to get hurt. It gets back to parents. Why do they permit the kids to put up a ring? A ring... well, it's not one of OUR rings, to our standards. If it's not standard, why would they allow their kids...don't they understand that our performers get hurt, and badly? Why would you let your kid go out there and do something like this?
"It's 'We didn't know little Johnny was out there doing this,'" says Kelly, mimicking the parents.
"Well, what about that ring back there, folks?" asks Vince, going along with the tableau.
"I, we were, uh, down at the store," says Kelly, "yeah, down at the store."
"Maybe they were at the All-Night Gas Station?" offers Dr. Tom helpfully.
Dr. Tom asks Vince how someone who wants to be a wrestler would find the proper way to enter the business, to make that first step the right way?
"We are seeing that the talent developed in places like "Tough Enough" is very good," says Vince, "anyone who really wants to be in this business, who will make the appropriate sacrifice, they will make their way here for the tryout. And they will keep knocking on your door until they get that tryout. It is difficult to get into the business, as you can attest, Tom, from what you saw down in Cincinnati last week. It is a close-knit fraternity, as you well know. But, the guy who just won't let up will get his shot. It is that kind of business."
Kelly talks about the TV ratings, and asks Vince to compare how things are on TNN versus how they were when they were on the (higher rated) USA Network?
"Have you been satisfied with the ability of TNN to properly market your product? Do you wish you could go back and be on USA?"
"This isn't just a USA vs. TNN situation," says Vince, "it is important to realize that our company made an overall umbrella deal with Viacom, and it is not just TNN; it's TNN, MTV, now UPN, and even beyond that in terms of CBS. There's a lot more: with our publishing outfit, we just made a great deal with them. There are a lot of ties that we haven't even done yet within the overall Viacom umbrella. You can't just look at it and say, "TNN or USA, Vince, Which would you prefer?"
Kelly recalls the "Mission Statement" Vince made back in 1997, where he said that "Good vs. Evil" storylines were basically out of style; that everyone was a shade of gray.
"Now in 2002," says Kelly, "with the resurgence of Hulkamania, do you think the fans now want more of that return to good vs. evil as before, or are their tastes still varied?"
"I think our audience is more sophisticated than that," says Vince, "I think the Hulkamania resurgence is one of nostalgia more than anything else, although a lot of young people are enjoying it. If you look at Hogan, he is very charismatic, and in the right circumstances can appeal to almost any demographic. But I think that from a morality-based standpoint, you have to always come back to "Look, where are you going with this?" I think our characters share a lot of our fans' traits. No one in life is either totally good, or totally bad. On that analogy, there are shades of gray, more than most people probably think. You can say, "you know, you're not quite as good as you think you are." We in life are all shades of gray. Sometimes we do things as human beings that we regret. You say, "Dammit, I shouldn't have done that! I'm a better person than that!" Hopefully, you learn from your mistakes and you go forward. Other times, you are very proud of yourself because you did the right thing, and you feel good about yourself. All of us as human beings run the gamut from black to white, and there's a lot of gray in there, in between. That's the way our television needs to be, to portray our characters as the human beings they really are."
Kelly asks, in light of the rise of international terrorism, that there will be a decline in international touring?
"Will we continue to increase our international exposure, despite the changing world situation?"
Vince says they won't let the global situation dictate the company's move towards greater international exposure. "We are scheduled to go to Australia soon, and that's a sold-out show, too. Maybe there's a place for us where we could get Arabs and Jews together as a World Wrestling Entertainment event? Now I can hear folks saying "Oh my God, did he just SAY that?" Yes! Anything is possible. People from all walks of life and all nationalities enjoy what we do. I do know that we will take every precaution to assure the safety of our performers wherever they go."
Kelly remarks on the increased wrestling content in the shows of late, and wants to know if Vince sees the in-ring content increasing at the expense of what goes on backstage?
"Hopefully," says Vince "the direction you are moving in is towards "good!" "Good backstage stuff is sometimes more compelling than what goes on in the ring. Sometimes a great match is far more compelling than what goes on backstage. The fans want everything we do to be better. We don't subscribe to the formulaic way of booking a show, say thirty percent backstage versus seventy percent in-ring. Each show, like each week, is different. Listen to our audience first, and try to make it better."
Kelly tosses out the Fish-hook Question by asking if Vince has had thoughts of bringing Vince Russo back to WWE?
"I haven't given it much thought," says Vince, "although we do have an open door policy; I think Hulk Hogan proves that. I would never say never to any situation that comes up."
In a similar vein, Dr. Tom asks Vince about the fracas that occurred last week between OVW's Jim Cornette and NWA:TNA's Ed Ferrara?
"Do you feel the same animosity towards Ed Ferrara that Cornette does, "asks Dr. Tom, "or would Ferrara be welcomed back as well? Ferrara made fun of Jim Ross, and Cornette basically stood up and told Ferrara to go to hell."
"Everyone is entitled to their opinion," says Vince, "when that opinion goes beyond opinion and results in physical contact, like Cornette spitting in Ferrara's face; that goes beyond professionalism. No one appreciates Cornette's passion for the business more than I do, but I thought it was very unprofessional of Jim."
"Do you harbor any regrets about having Russo and Ferrara here during that period in the company's history?" asks Kelly.
"No," says Vince, "they thought they could have the same impact working with our team. And this is a team effort, it is not one man's to dictate. No one individual makes the difference here. That's what Russo and Ferrara found out when they went down to Turner. They had no structure to work with down there."
Dr. Tom asks Vince if he has any opinion about the NWA:TNA promotion?
"I have no opinion, because I haven't seen in yet," says Vince. "It is an unusual approach, a novel approach; I don't know how they are going to promote it properly. They have no promotional vehicle, so how do they promote? They're selling tickets in Huntsville, (Alabama) right? And if they aren't selling tickets in Huntsville...Eeewwwrrr! Things get tough. If you are promoting to that narrow-casted PPV audience, that's difficult to do. It's a two-hour show for $9.95, and for that you can compare the quality and production values of one of their shows to one of ours. It is difficult to see how paying $9.95 to see a two hour show compares to seeing a two hour show on Monday night, and again on Thursday night, and not pay a thing. Unless they are so unique that you won't see anything like that on our show. I don't know, I haven't seen their show yet, so I can't say."
Kelly asks if Tommy Dreamer's skits are getting one Mr. Gerald Briscoe riled up, since Briscoe used to do Dreamer's schtick back in his day.
"Gerald DOES have a weak stomach," says Vince with a chuckle, "but he doesn't have a weak heart."
"I'm sure Mr. Briscoe enjoyed it," says Dr. Tom, "when Tommy Dreamer walked back through the curtains and the vomit smell followed along behind him!"
Kelly and Dr. Tom both thank Mr. McMahon for coming on the show. Vince is still unconvinced that Kelly was properly enthused about his presence at the top of the show.
"What's the name of that program you're on?" asks Vince, "Weight Watchers?"
"No, it's uhh, it's a "seafood diet," says Kelly, a trifle uneasily.
"Ahhh," say Vince with a smile, "Seafood..."
"Shellfish...steak...uhh, chicken," says Kelly who looks like he'd rather be anywhere but right there right now," I'm really on the diet. Just like Howard! I know it will work with me!"
"Uh huh..." says Vince, still unconvinced. Dr. Tom is snickering fit to bust.
Kelly closes the show with a video from way back when of Vince McMahon being introduced as the "Higher Power" by the Undertaker.
Good ol' Jim Ross thinks it's Shane McMahon at first.
Jerry Lawler wonders who could have more power than the Corporate Ministry?
(Jeez, remember THAT angle?)
"I'm back to Square One, JR," says Lawler.
(No kidding, Jerry!)
Next week's guest is scheduled to be Chris Benoit.
See you then.
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