Triple H’s celebration of 25 years in WWE was filled with highlights, guest appearances and, of course, mean-spirited humor directed towards “The Game.” While belittling and self-depreciation has been a frequent hallmark of the beloved “Attitude Era,” it remains a relic best left in the past.
A little good-humored ribbing isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Still, Vince McMahon took Triple H’s roasting to the nth degree, calling the whole celebration “boring,” filling it with embarrassing clips, and shutting off the lights while “The King of Kings” was still standing in the ring. This isn’t the first time Vince’s “humor” has been on full display, however. This spiteful form of comedy that was popular in the Attitude Era doesn’t have a place in modern WWE for a multitude of reasons.
One of the more important reasons to bury this denigrating comedy is because it goes against WWE’s “Be A Star” campaign. WWE has pushed hard to nurture its anti-bullying movement, and these jokes, at the expense of others, completely undermines that message. Vince loved poking fun at Mae Young’s age during the Attitude Era and even openly mocked J.R.’s Bell’s Palsy, for the sake of “humor.” These instances contradict WWE’s “Be A Star” campaign in every conceivable way and compromises WWE’s family-friendly image.
Vince McMahon has taken painstaking efforts to improve WWE and turn the company into a global phenomenon, but his humor isn’t taking the company forward. On the contrary, jokes relating to Stephanie McMahon’s constant nagging at her husband push the company several steps backwards. WWE’s portrayal of Stephanie has always been cringy, and her depiction today hasn’t gotten any better from a modern-day viewpoint. In an era where WWE is pushing the Women’s Revolution/Evolution and attempting to promote feminism, Vince’s depiction of his own daughter as a wet blanket undermines the very movement the company hopes to encourage.
While Vince’s dated humor doesn’t mesh with the modern-day business model, to put it plainly, it’s just not at all funny either. Although there was no audience in attendance, Vince’s jokes aimed at Triple H would have received the same amount of dead silence. Vince’s “jokes” on SmackDown completely missed the mark and came off as disjointed ramblings instead. What’s worse is that most of what Mr. McMahon ripped Triple H for applies more towards himself than it does to “The Cerebral Assassin.”
In reality, most of the horrible booking of Triple H was Vince’s own doing. All of the “comedic” segments involving Triple H, or others, were written or approved by The Chairman. Worse still was Vince’s attempt to pin Bayley’s “This Is Your Life” angle, which was universally panned by the WWE Universe and booked, again, by Vince, onto Triple H. In other words, Vince is blaming his own horrible storylines onto his son-in-law and using it as ammunition to roast him. Not only does this perpetuate Vince’s sick sense of humor, but it passes the buck on WWE’s failed segments onto someone else.
However, to Vince’s credit, he can take what he dishes out. Mr. McMahon booked himself to be assaulted with a bedpan, doused in beer and wet his pants for humor. This, at least, shows that Vince isn’t afraid to be the butt of the joke sometimes. Still, these jokes that Vince loves so much, no matter who they’re targeting, just aren’t compatible from a business perspective or the fans’ viewpoint today. Vince needs to let go of the past and get some new material, preferably material that doesn’t hinder social progress and is actually funny. WWE can have roasts and humor added into its program, without constantly degrading its superstars, and the sooner Vince realizes this, the sooner the WWE Universe can be spared from another horrible Vince McMahon comedy hour.
Vince McMahon's mean-spirited roast of Triple H during The Game's 25th anniversary is a staple of the Attitude Era best left in the past.