The two most recent episodes of the JJ Dillon Show have focused on “The Implosion of Crockett Promotions.” As part of that, Dillon described his understanding of the origins of the rivalry between Vince McMahon and Ted Turner:
“Ted Turner, himself, always had this dream of someday being a wrestling, quote-unquote, promoter. When Vince McMahon had his TV on TBS, Turner went to Vince and said ‘Anybody I’ve ever had on my network I’ve also had a partnership with.’ Then Vince shut that down and said ‘I don’t have any partners. I own it all.’ That created a confrontational thing that really never was resolved between… Ego is not the right word, but the persona of Ted Turner as being bigger than life and the persona of Vince McMahon. Ted wanted to be an owner and Vince said ‘I don’t need partners.’ So when Ted saw what was happening, and the ratings were great, now with Crockett, he saw a chance to become a promoter. I think November 1, 1988, is when the contract was actually signed. The story is that Ted Turner called Vince and said ‘Well, I told you I always wanted to be a wrestling promoter and, guess what? Now I’m officially a wrestling promoter,’ and Vince McMahon’s response was ‘Yeah, and I’m still going to kick your ass.’ If you know both people, you can understand that dialogue took place.”
Rush’s Analysis: This story is well-weaved into the fabric of wrestling lore along with Vince’s famous “I’m in the entertainment business” quip, which was also addressed by host Rich Bocchini. What’s interesting about Dillon’s version is the inclusion of the lesser-known aspect of the story – Turner’s spurned overture to become partners with Vince. This ego blow would fuel Ted’s desire to eventually compete with Vince and, thusly launch the Monday Night Wars.
The episode is nearly two hours long and is loaded with similar types of insight. To check it out, visit MLW Radio.