VINCE MCMAHON’S FAILED ATTEMPT TO TAKE OVER THE WORLD OF BODYBUILDING
In the pre-internet age of April 1990, whispers began to circulate that Vince McMahon, head of the World Wrestling Federation (now WWE), become about to launch a bodybuilding magazine. The phrase turned into that it would act as a precursor to establishing a bodybuilding federation that would usurp the preeminence then loved with the aid of the International Federation of Bodybuilders Opens a New Window. (IFBB). The WWF refuted claims of a brand new federation being released, pronouncing they most effective had plans to provide a magazine. As a part of their publishing crew, they employed Tom Platz Opens a New Window. , just about the most popular bodybuilder of that generation.
The new magazine changed into Bodybuilding Lifestyles. To sell its December 1990 release, McMahon hired a sales space area at that year’s Mr. Olympia contest, which became staged in Chicago. So it becomes on September 15 on the Windy City’s Arie Crown Theater, just as Lee Haney Opens a New Window. Became provided his seventh Sandow, a clutch of Bodybuilding Lifestyles personnel in Trojan horse fashion went across the target audience handing out a press release announcing the launch of the World Bodybuilding Federation (WBF). The launch stated that the WBF could “Revamp expert bodybuilding with dramatic new events and the richest prize money inside the history of the game.”
THE WBF TEAM
Throughout the autumn and winter of 1990, the WBF went on a recruiting power, flying top-elegance bodybuilders to their Stamford, CT headquarters to seal their individual deals. The end result of their labors was subsequently provided at a lavish press conference staged at New York’s Plaza Hotel on January thirteen, 1991. There, McMahon delivered his WBF stable of thirteen athletes. They have been: Aaron Baker, Mike Christian, Vince Comerford, David Dearth, Berry Dewey, Johnnie Morant, Danny Padilla, Tony Pearson, Jim Quinn, Mike Quinn, Eddie Robinson, Gary Strydom, and Troy Zuccolotto.
The intensity and high quality of the WBF squad brought on Joe Weider to signal greater athletes at higher rates than have been the norm to maintain them within the IFBB. McMahon had splurged megabucks to collect his team, with Gary Strydom Opens a New Window. Reportedly inking a three-yr contract worth $four hundred 000 in step with 12 months. At the click conference, they announced their first World Championships could be held in Atlantic City on June 15, 1991, on the now-defunct Taj Mahal Casino, which was owned via Donald Trump at the time. They promised they would be making in addition signings; however, no extra have been ever made, even though there has been a fantastically publicized to-and-fro over acquiring Lou Ferrigno’s offerings before he decided to stay with the IFBB.
The Atlantic City contest on June 15 become closely promoted via WWF’s mainstream TV programming, and it turned into a pay-in line with-view occasion. It became clean the WBF’s approach to bodybuilding from the get-cross was focused more on showbiz than show-me-the-muscle. Before every competitor got here onstage, there was a -minute video of every, highlighting the personality the WBF had attached to them. Thus, we had Troy Zuccolotto Opens a New Window. Performing as a California beach boy, entire with a surfboard and four bikini-clad women; Berry DeMey re-invented as a Dutch James Bond; Gary Strydom supplied as a man-approximately city whole with top hat and cane. There were no direct muscle-organization-to-muscle-institution comparisons. The guys simply posed, after which the effects were announced: Strydom, first; Mike Christian, second; Berry DeMey, third. To seasoned bodybuilding enthusiasts, it becomes a farce. Despite the nearly ordinary complaints, the WBF pressed in advance and announced the 1992 World Championships might be held in Long Beach, CA.
THE SMOKING GUN
But even as the 1991 contest concluded, the WWF had grown to be embroiled in an ever-widening drug scandal. It concerned Dr. George Zahorian from Hershey, PA, who had been indicted for imparting overall performance-enhancing tablets Opens a New Window. To positive individuals. Among them have been wrestlers Hulk Hogan, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, and a succession of different grapplers affiliated with the WWF. When the names of those wrestlers have been made public in June 1991, it has become mainstream news, with USA Today going for walks a front-web page story asking, “Hulk: Bulk from a Bottle?” On June 25, Zahorian became determined responsible on more than one counts and sentenced to 3 years in prison.
Three weeks later, McMahon introduced he would be invoking drug checking out for his wrestlers. The WBF had avoided mainstream scrutiny; however, such is the steroid stereotype attached to bodybuilding that the closing factor the WWF wanted to be changed into to be related with a sport infamous for drug use. It might be like Charlie Sheen claiming sobriety whilst buying a whisky distillery.
Against that background, the 1992 WBF Championships nevertheless passed off in Long Beach on June 13. Three months previous to the occasion, it turned into announced the WBF competition could be drug examined. Sad to mention, most of those that competed were a long way from their fine as Strydom won once more with Jim Quinn 2nd and Aaron Baker third. It changed into the WBF’s demise knell. On July 15, McMahon positioned a convention call to Joe and Ben Weider, calling them the fathers of bodybuilding and knowledgeable them. He became ceasing manufacturing of the bodybuilding mag and remaining down the WBF. It became mentioned that McMahon had misplaced $15 million due to his foray into bodybuilding.
In 1990, after the release of the WBF, the IFBB introduced that those joining the brand new enterprise might never be allowed to return to the IFBB. By February 1993, that ruling become rescinded but most effective at the condition that the former renegades pay a first-rate, which became 10 percent of whatever their WBF salaries had been. Of the 13 WBF athletes, Mike Christian and Vince Comerford by no means competed again. And of these 11 who did renew their IFBB profession, handiest Aaron Baker and Mike Quinn ever certified for an Olympia.