Vince McMahon is truly an enigma. According to legend, the man has four hours of sleep per night, treats eating food like some kind of unpleasant chore and hates people sneezing as it suggests you have no control over your body. These are just some of the stories that have made the rounds.
Thanks to a leaked document from 2008, we get confirmation of McMahon’s dislike for certain words.
Belt and/or Strap
“IT’S NOT A FUCKING BELT!”. Allegedly words which McMahon screamed through the headset at the commentary team when they dared called a Championship a ‘belt’. He famously prefered “Championship” or “Title” as it represents hard work and accomplishment, which to an extent I understand. Screaming at them for saying belt though? Not so much…
The Business & Our Industry
Hate to break it to you Vince, but it IS your industry and it IS a business. Granted, ‘the business’ is a phrase used a hell of a lot, so maybe he is just sick of hearing it?
The word Feud dates back to Shakespearean times a la Romeo and Juliet, where the two families would be described as having ‘long standing feuds.’ In wrestling, storylines tend to be long lasting, so that makes them feuds…? Maybe Vince hates Shakespeare or something and will not use any words by such peasants?
Okay, so this one I can understand at least. The United States at the time this was written was still at war in the Middle East and using the word ‘War’ is potentially insulting and treading dangerous water by comparing wrestling to something as serious as this.
Professional wrestlers are performers and fights are choreographed, but do not tell Vince that! Wrestling is about suspending disbelief, so saying its choreographed would kill (surprisingly that word is not on the list) the illusion. But ‘performer’? In the ring they are performing, it is no different to sports such as football and basketball, the players PERFORM.
He prefers ‘Live Event’, which for me the phrase live event sounds more natural to say anyway. Traditionally, they are called House Shows which a very old school wrestling term. Despite being in the wrestling business (sorry, I used THAT word Vince!), he really does not like wrestling traditions, does he
When a wrestler departs the ring and goes behind the curtain, they are at the BACK of the STAGE. Saying ‘backstage’ makes sense because that’s what it is. However, he will accept ‘in the back’, which is not too ridiculous as it sounds pretty natural. However, he also suggests using ‘in the locker room area’ which does not sound natural really, does it? Imagine a footballer being sent off and the commentator then says, ‘he’s heading back to the locker room area now!’, sounds pretty dumb does it not?
Pro Wrestling/Pro Wrestler
McMahon really doesn’t like wrestling, does he? Why does he own a wrestling business anyway? God forbid that the commentators will call a professional wrestler, a WRESTLER. Call them ‘Superstars’ he says. How about we stop hiding from the fact they are wrestlers and embrace it eh, Vince?
International (use ‘Global’)
Why does this matter, really?
Okay, so similarly to ‘war’, the word ‘shot’ probably raises a sensitive subject given that the word shot usually refers to guns and violence. I understand this one, however ‘title shot’ sounds far more natural than ‘cHaMpiONsHiP OpPorTunITy’.
In my time watching wrestling, I do not think I have ever heard the commentary team use the word ‘Acrobat’ or ‘Acrobatics’. Now I know why!
Hard to use this word when the storylines are anything but interesting, eh?
Seriously though, I do not understand the issue here, but it is a word which people use a huge amount as its a word which is easy to use when describing something unusual. I am pretty sure I have heard commentary say interesting many times though…
In the MLS I have noticed that they refer to a penalty as a ‘PK’, and it really bothers me. Just say penalty. Similar to ‘DQ’, it sounds lazy by shortening it like that and saying disqualification does sound a lot more professional in fairness.
Use the word ‘star’ or ‘superstar’. The only franchise on the planet where you cannot call athletes ‘talents.’ Superstar is a word used far too often, superstars are people like Dwayne Johnson, not Bo Dallas. (Sorry, Bo.) Apparently, in the McMcahon world, it would suggest that everyone on the roster has the same star power. (SPOILER: They don’t).
Its sort of expected for commentators not to talk about themselves, unless they are in a major storyline themselves. So, I understand this, but surely this is just common sense?
Inside terms like heel, babyface, blown up, shoot, rib, mark ETC.
To a casual viewer, they might not have any idea what these words even mean. They have to play to the casual fan, not the diehard fans who are there no matter what. So, I understand this. I daresay ‘mark’ has almost become a derogatory term these days anyway.
There are not many people who are considered as patriotic as McMahon. Using the term ‘U.S.’ doesn’t have the same patriotic effect as ‘United States’ and he will want to name drop the country he so proudly represents as often as possible.
Now, this is dumb. People who attend wrestling shows are fans of the show. Fans who attend a rock concert are fans of the band. People attending football matches are FANS of the team. The phrase ‘WWE Universe’ is too much of a mouthful for me, just embrace them as what they are. FANS.
Again, why? When you go to have surgery do you say you’re going to a medical centre or hospital? If you’re a mother going into labour, do you say we are going to the medical centre or hospital? You have to sound natural, saying local medical centre/facility is just not something people say. It’s almost as if McMahon does not like saying the normal words, and has to be different because he is who he is.
‘Use group’. A large gathering of people you would usually call a group or a faction anyway. Faction is similar to the banned inside terms, in my opinion, using faction does not sound natural. For once, this is a word that doesn’t sound natural and Vince agrees!
Now Available, not On Sale.
This is just pedantic. I get that the word NOW will grab people’s attention more than ‘ON’, but the point they are trying to make about something being available to purchase still stands. I don’t think a huge fuss needs to be made about how the commentator says it.
Never say ‘Title is on the line’
Use more creative terms like, ‘the title will be defended.’ Again, do you naturally say ‘Title is on the line’? Yes? Well, all the more reason not to say it then, eh?
In addition, McMahon also added these notes:
Vince also added that ‘Less is more’ and ‘ask rhetorical questions then layout’. So, do not say much, but also never shut up? Okay, got it.
Finally, he asked them not to say ‘Sports Entertainment’, but say ‘Entertainment’ going forward.
It is widely rumoured that McMahon wears an earpiece to give instruction to the commentary team, Micheal Cole has supported him on this and rightly so, click here for the full quote.