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EX-WWE Creative Team Member Opens Up On How Vince McMahon Viewed Women & Evolution Being Economically Driven

EX-WWE Creative Team Member Opens Up On How Vince McMahon Viewed Women & Evolution Being Economically Driven
(Photo credit: CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP/Getty Images)

Wade Keller recently interviewed ex-WWE Creative Team member John Piermarini for the Wade Keller Pro Wrestling Podcast. Piermarini pulled no punches and opened up about the WWE being slow to the women’s movement in professional wrestling, how Vince McMahon actually viewed women during his employ, why he believes Evolution was purely economically driven, and more.

On Vince McMahon Being Slow To Feature Diverse Body Types:


The problem is when you have one person making the decisions and that one person treats it like it’s his own personal action figures that he can play with and those are the ones that he wants to play with, then you’ve got to tell him, ‘Alright, you can only do this once and you’ve got five minutes. How are you going to use that five minutes?’ That’s [certain body types] what he’s gonna go for. We can look back on how it was, whatever the reason is it’s good that somebody was – the culture as a whole was able to change the way they thought about it, even if it’s them being forced to do it and probably going in. You look at some of those female wrestlers that are there now, I can guarantee you that there’s no way that Vince is a fan of them, but maybe he feels like he’s just stepped away from it and said, ‘Hey look, if this is what you guys are gonna do, it’s your thing. You do it.’ When you bring up a guy….that was maybe seen as a big star in NXT or else where and then when he was in charge of them, it kind of wasn’t the same thing. Maybe, like a Finn Balor or even on the opposite end like an Elias where he goes, ‘That’s the kind of guy I want to get behind,’ where someone like Triple H didn’t, I think he’s just kinda stepping away from it, is my guess, and saying, ‘Do what you want and I may not like it, but you’re in charge of it. You’re gonna make it work.’

On How Vince McMahon Once Saw Women On The Roster:

I don’t recall any specific comments made about objectifying women, so I can’t really speak on that per se, but the philosophy and the culture definitely was that it was about sex appeal. I don’t think anybody really hid that. I don’t think Vince McMahon was really hiding that at the time, but also it was a time where you could say that and it wasn’t like too many people were gonna get on you for it. [I’m not] saying it was right. I don’t think it was hidden that that’s the way he saw the women.

On WWE Evolution Being More About Economics Than Anything Else:

Wade Keller: Does this seem like with Evolution on Sunday and with what’s going on with Ronda Rousey that it’s purely economic?

John: Yep

Wade Keller: Or is there some semblance that we’re a maturing corporation?

John: No. I’m not there to tell you if that’s the case, but sometimes you just have to look at the writing on the wall and you have to look at the timing. They want to say that, you know, whatever the promo was that Stephanie [McMahon] cut where it’s all about timing and all about kicking down doors. WWE did none of that. This was all happening outside their world and then they saw a way to capitalize on it. It’s how they do all of their business. For them to take any credit for it, it’s them lying to themselves and maybe they do feel like they should get credit for it and maybe because they’re the ones trying as hard as they can to be out there and pushing that like they do with everything else that charity and all that. There’s probably people that do a lot more with some of the things they’re involved with, but WWE is not pushing it, but WWE will get credit for it because they’re the ones every week that say, ‘Hey, look what we’re doing.’ I think that it’s all because they saw an opportunity and they’re capitalizing on it. I don’t think there was ever a conversation, don’t get me wrong – I’m sure someone like Stephanie or maybe even Triple H, it’s no different than when we were there and some of us were pushing for the women. You just had to get that right person there to do it, but I think that even if Stephanie was a big proponent for it all this time, they weren’t – they were giving up the fight against Vince and I think at some point Vince thought, ‘Hey look at all these things happening.’ I’m sure he had no idea of who Ronda Rousey was at the time she was doing all that and I think he finally saw that as a way to – and maybe it was the way they convinced him – but, a way for us to make money and he finally said, ‘OK, let’s go with it.’ And to be honest, it was sorta slow. It’s not like they just went all in and said, ‘Hey, we’re giving them a pay-per-view and have them headline.’ It was all very very slow. They definitely tested it before they went all in on it.

On Who He Believes Wouldn’t Be In Their Current Spot, If Left Entirely Up To Vince McMahon:

In looking at the roster, if you had Ronda Rousey come into WWE with zero background, that’s someone that he would definitely not get behind. I’m actually surprised that he didn’t see a lot more in Becky Lynch prior to her sorta forcing her way, especially with this new character really showing what she has. Shayna Baszler, but I know he’s not necessarily involved with her. Ruby Riott, that’s definitely one. Asuka is still fighting that, I think right now. I don’t know if it’s her look he doesn’t get, her English, but that’s one. I’m just looking at them and I could give you an argument for all of them. Bayley, I think someone like a Billie Kay is someone he would be very very in to, but that also leads me to believe he’s sort of not as hands on with that division as other people might [believe]. Bellas, I always know that he’s liked and wanted to find things for. Charlotte fits that mold. Ember Moon, as I’m saying some of these I do see some of the influence of him or maybe them going, ‘Alright, so we’re gonna bring in Ember Moon and we’ll have her work this with Ronda,’ and you kind of hear that [groan]. ‘Alright, well we want to be able to have the proper time for them or be able to give them a storyline or multiple segments.’ Maybe, they pull back knowing that he’s not super into someone so then they put in the people…I think he still has an influence on who’s getting that push now that I look at some of the names that are and aren’t. A Mandy Rose, she would have been a Superstar when I was there and there’s no reason to believe she can’t now. I’m not taking anything away from her, but I think she’s definitely not on the level with in-ring style as some of these other girls that are above her. Nia Jax even. I think Nia Jax could be…I look at Nia Jax and I say Superstar. If WWE were pushing female empowerment and don’t be a bully, there’s so much you could do with her. Number one she’s a beautiful person, but there’s no reason she couldn’t go on Good Morning America and all these shows being an advocate for some of the things she had gone through and to say, ‘Hey look, if you go through that, look at me. I made it. Ignore those people.’ I know they kind of did it with her promos and all that, but that’s something that’s forgotten a minute later. I look at her and I think she is a star. I think Natalya has probably been fighting what we’re talking about since before I was there.

On Whether Ronda Rousey Will Ever Be The Face Of The Company:

They are gonna put her on the shows and they’re always gonna attach a male Superstar to her. At the time, it could have been Roman Reigns. ‘Hey, we’re gonna have Ronda Rousey on Good Morning America.’ ‘Joining us on Good Morning America will be Ronda Rousey and WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns.’ I think Vince will always want to do that.

(Transcription Credit: Michael McClead, WrestleZone)

John Piermarini also expounds on Vince McMahon’s long-time professional interest in The Bella Twins, as well some of the recent booking decisions with Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch. Readers can listen to Wade Keller’s interview with Piermarini in its entirety HERE.

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