SANTA MONICA, Calif.-- Today, the World Surf League shocked fans with the announcement that former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO, Vince McMahon, would join their ranks in the a newly-created position of Global Director of Drama and Hype. McMahon is the latest in a series of hires that have shaken up the organization, from the appointment of former NBA and WTA executive Sophie Goldschmidt as WSL CEO to the recruitment of former UFC exec Joseph Carr as Chief Strategy Officer.
“The addition of Vince to the team is the right step for the WSL, and for the sport of surfing as a whole,” says Goldschmidt. “If we want to develop a dedicated, global audience, we need to look at surfing through a new lens, and Vince can help us do that.”
According to McMahon, whose highly-successful sports entertainment company enjoyed over $700 million in revenue and 36 million viewers in 2016, he plans on using many of the same tactics used in the wrestling world to help grow the WSL’s fanbase. His main focus, however, will be on capturing the attention of sports fans in Middle America who may not understand, or even be aware of competitive surfing. This strategy includes creating characters and stage names for WSL athletes, drafting storylines for each Tour stop and ending the season with a special, pay-per-view championship event called “Surfmania.”
“When I heard their old slogan, ‘You can’t script this,’ I nearly spat out my Mountain Dew,” says McMahon. “I knew it would never work. But now, with my help, and a crack team of script writers, the WSL is going to have a bright future ahead of it. Because you can script the hell out of this, believe me.”
McMahon says that he “doesn’t want to give too much away,” but that next season will feature colorful costumes, more confrontations in the water, faked deaths, paternity disputes, at least one folding-chair fight in the competitors’ area and “a rematch between Mick Fanning and that sea creature in Africa.” When asked if McMahon would participate in the contests and the storylines, as he has in the past with the WWE, often grappling with wrestlers in the ring himself, he gave a sly smile.
“Let’s just say you won’t want to miss Surfmania.”
[Editor's note: "Corndogging" is a satirical column in which we take serious surf issues, dunk 'em in the ocean, and roll them around in the sand for awhile.]