WWE Hall of Famer Kane has recalled thinking Vince McMahon was “crazy” for launching the WWE Network as pay-per-view sales made up around 50% of the company’s revenue.
While he might now be known as the Mayor of Knox County, Glenn Jacobs will forever be synonymous with WWE. From the moment that he emerged as Kane at Bad Blood in 1997, Jacobs became one of the biggest stars in the company, remaining popular with fans for more than two decades.
However, despite WWE and Vince McMahon helping make him one of the most recognisable wrestling characters of the last 20 years, that doesn’t mean he’s averse to questioning the WWE Chairman’s logic.
During an appearance on the The Doug Collins Podcast, Kane recalled thinking that McMahon was crazy to set up the WWE Network. He initially praised McMahon for his forward thinking, before revealing that he had major reservations over getting rid of the traditional pay-per-view model as PPV sales made up around half of the company’s revenue.
“I think Vince’s real genius, when it comes to his entrepreneurship, was determining where entertainment technology was going and getting to the cutting edge. When he launched the WWE Network, we all thought he was crazy. You have a subscription-based network, wonderful,” he said. “But he moved all of the PPVs over to the Network and we were getting $50 a pop or whatever it was for PPVs.
When you go into subscription base, and you get all the PPVs $9.99 a month, so you get them for free, or not for free, but you know, that includes the PPVs. So, the PPVs at the time, were about 50% of the company’s revenue was coming off of the PPV. So you eliminate that whole revenue stream and move it to a different platform. Who in their right mind would do that?
Expanding further, Kane laid out the path he would have taken in the same situation.
“That is exactly what he did, I thought he was crazy,” Kane admitted. “What I thought he should do is, you keep the major PPVs like WrestleMania, Royal Rumble, SummerSlam, and Survivor Series. You keep those on your PPV platforms and you move everything else. Because those were the big revenue generators anyway. But that’s not how he saw it, and I was wrong. Now you look at the Network and the revenue is bigger than it ever has been. They’ve now exceeded on the Network the revenue that’s coming off the PPV. He’s not afraid to take risks.”
In recent years Kane’s WWE appearances have become less and less frequent as he moved into the political arena. His most recent appearance came in September where he presented home-town hero Bianca Belair with the key to the county on an episode of SmackDown.
H/t to Wrestling Inc for the transcription.