December 17, 2008

I’ve been trying to make sense out of the JBL – HBK angle and for the life of me I just can’t. I understand what they are trying to do but unless I’m missing something, there are several monumental plot holes in this angle. Now from what I understand this angel is a bit of an attempt to play off of Mickey Rourke’s character in the movie The Wrestler, but I just don’t see how this can work inside the constructs of the WWE.

The gist this angle so far is that Shawn has blown all his money and is broke. He lived large, had a lot of expenses, gave money to his church, to charities, and to family members, and has on top of all of that; lost every dime he invested in the stock market. Because of his newfound level of poverty he has been forced to swallow his pride, go against everything he believes in and has agreed to work for JBL for the financial security employment by JBL provides.

Let me start with some of the smaller issues I have with this angle before getting into the fun part… the math. How can the math be the fun part you ask? Well I’ve been told on several occasions this week that I am very left brained, and to us left brained people Math is not only important but can also be fun. How could anyone have ever considered me boring?

Enough about my left brainedness (wow there’s a word for you) Let’s get back to this angle. While the economy and current state of the stock market does tie this angle into reality well, it does raise a very important question: Why is no one else in WWE in financial peril? Did no one else in the company invest in the stock market? I could have sworn MVP just recently had to pay back a “multi-million dollar signing bonus” yet he doesn’t seem to be too impoverished at the end of it all. I also though it funny that in Shawn’s promo at the PPV (which was exceptionally well delivered BTW) if you read between the lines he basically cautioned everyone against donating to charity or contributing financially to their church, because he did both things and is now broke and needs the money. The Irony of a born again Christian telling fans not to give to their church, amused me.

Okay that’s pretty much just nit picking, but what can I say I love nit picking. Just ask TNA fans, provided you can find any that is. Okay that was just mean, sorry… I need to get back on topic.

Here is where this angle falls apart for me and my left-brain. Shawn Michaels is still a WWE Main Event Superstar, which means he is still making millions of dollars per year. Now they have never actually said what top WWE Superstars makes on the show, but we are definitely led to believe that it’s in the millions of dollars range. In reality, I think his down side base pay is about 1.5 million and from a story line perspective MVP got more than that just as a signing bonus, so fans are to believe HBK is making at least $2 million a year as a top level WWE Superstar.

If we use that figure as his base pay, Shawn would be making approx. $40,000 per week at his current job. Even if he lost every dime he had put away, he is still way better off financially than pretty much every fan watching this show. Why would any one of these people feel sorry for him? I would hazard to guess that the vast majority of the audience makes less in a year than Shawn Michaels makes in a month possibly even a week. Shawn did cover that he didn’t know how much longer he had left as a performer but unless they do the career ending injury or have WWE fire him immediately; he’s still in far better financial shape than likely the entire WWE Universe (yah I hate that term too).

In addition to his substantial income, realistically (I realize it’s wrestling and “realistically” may not be the standard we should be using, but still), how much money could JBL really be paying him? John is a brilliant businessman, but with the state of the economy how much money would a smart businessman really be willing to spend on a rib? He isn’t doing this to be nice to Shawn, he is doing this simply to be mean and get Shawn to do what he wants. Even if JBL is spending $250,000 a year on this rib it would still only amount to a 12.5% pay increase to Shawn’s total income. Are we to believe that Shawn Michaels is selling out and becoming beholden to JBL for a 12.5% pay increase? Or worse yet, are we to believe that Shawn Michaels thinks a temporary (JBL isn’t going to employ him for ever) 12.5% pay increase is going to provide him with substantial financial security.

I get what they are trying to do and both guys do excellent promos trying to sell this angle, but at the core this thing just isn’t plausible. Unless Shawn suffers a career ending injury and can no longer wrestle and earn an income in WWE or JBL is a Multi-Multi-Billionaire who can afford to pay HBK in excess of a million dollars a year, to make him his lackey, this story just doesn’t add up mathematically. Actually that last scenario doesn’t even work because if JBL was paying him that kind of money to do so little, I wouldn’t feel sorry for Shawn, I’d be jealous and want his lackey job.

That’s my take,
Lance Storm