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Vince McMahon's failed attempt to take over the world of bodybuilding




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<div class= Leon Halip / Getty

In the wake of the Internet in April 1

990, the whispering began that Vince McMahon, head of the World Wrestling Federation (now WWE), wanted to launch a bodybuilding magazine. The word was that it would serve as a precursor to the creation of a bodybuilding federation that took advantage of the supremacy of the International Federation of Bodybuilders (IFBB). The WWF rejected the claims of a new federation and said they had only the intention of producing a journal, and as part of their publishing team, they hired Tom, one of the most popular bodybuilders of the time.

The new magazine should be called Bodybuilding Lifestyles, and to promote publication for December 1990, McMahon rented a stand at Mr. Olympia, a contest that took place in Chicago that year. So it was on Sept. 15 at the Arie Crown Theater in Windy City when Lee Haney gave his seventh Sandow, a clutch of Bodybuilding Lifestyles that was in Trojan horse fashion and the audience announced with a press release the start of the World Bodybuilding Federation (WBF). The publication states that the WBF will revise "professional bodybuilding with dramatic new events and the richest prize money in the history of the sport."

THE WBF TEAM

Throughout the fall and winter of 1990, the WBF continued to recruit high-profile bodybuilders to their headquarters in Stamford, CT, to complete their individual businesses. The fruits of her work were finally presented at a lavish press conference on January 13, 1991 at the New York Plaza Hotel. There, McMahon introduced his WBF stable with 13 athletes. They were: Aaron Baker, Mike Christian, Vince Comerford, David Dearth, Berry DeMey, Johnnie Morant, Danny Padilla, Tony Pearson, Jim Quinn, Mike Quinn, Eddie Robinson, Gary Strydom and Troy Zuccolotto.

Due to the depth and quality of the WBF squad, Joe Weider signed more athletes at higher rates than usual to keep them within the IFBB. McMahon had put together Megabucks for his team. Gary Strydom allegedly signed a three-year contract worth $ 400,000 a year. At the press conference, they announced that their first World Championships would take place on 15 June 1991 in Atlantic City at the now-defunct Taj Mahal Casino, then owned by Donald Trump. They promised that they would make more signatures, but it was never done again, although it caused quite a stir to claim Lou Ferrigno's services before deciding to stay with the IFBB.

The June 15 Atlantic City Contest was heavily promoted on the WWF mainstream television program and was a pay-per-view event. From the beginning it was clear that the bodybuilding WBF approach was more focused on showbiz than show-me-the-muscle. Before each participant came on stage, there was a two-minute video in which the persona of the WBF was highlighted. So Troy Zuccolotto appeared as California Beach Boy, complete with surfboard and four bikini-clad girls; Reinventing Berry DeMey as Dutch James Bond; Gary Strydom presented himself as a man-over-town with a top hat and cane. There were no direct comparisons of muscle groups to muscle groups. The guys just posed and then the results were announced: first Strydom; Mike Christian, second; Berry DeMey, third. For experienced bodybuilding fans it was a farce. Despite almost general criticism, the WBF pushed ahead, announcing that the 1992 World Cup would take place in Long Beach, California.

THE SMOKING GUN

But even as the 1991 contest came to an end, the WWF was involved in an ever-expanding drug scandal. These are Dr. George Zahorian of Hershey, Pennsylvania, who was charged with administering performance-enhancing medications to certain individuals. Among them were the wrestlers Hulk Hogan, "Rowdy" Roddy Piper and a number of other associated with the WWF gripper. When the names of these wrestlers were released in June 1991, they became mainstream news. In USA Today a cover story was published asking, "Hulk: Bulk from a Bottle?" On June 25, Zahorian was convicted on several counts and sentenced to three years in prison.

Three weeks later, McMahon announced that he would call for drug testing for his wrestlers. The WBF had avoided the mainstream exam, but the steroid stereotype of bodybuilding was so great that the WWF's last thing the WWF needed was to be associated with a sport known for drug use. It would be as if Charlie Sheen were sober in buying a whiskey distillery.

Against this backdrop, the 1992 WBF Championships were held on June 13 in Long Beach. Three months before the event, it was announced that the WBF competitors would undergo drug testing. Sad to say, most of the entrants were far from their best when Strydom again came in third with Jim Quinn and Aaron Baker. It was the deathblow of the WBF, and a month later, on July 15, McMahon called a telephone conference to Joe and Ben Weider, who called them the fathers of bodybuilding, and told them that he had discontinued the production of the bodybuilding magazine the WBF closed. It was reported that McMahon had lost $ 15 million due to his pursuit of bodybuilding.

In 1990 IFBB announced after the start of the WBF that those who join the new organization should never return to the IFBB. By February 1993, this ruling had been overturned, but only on condition that the former renegades pay a fine equal to 10 percent of WBF salaries. Of the 13 WBF athletes, Mike Christian and Vince Comerford never participated again. And of the eleven who renewed their IFBB career, only Aaron Baker and Mike Quinn have qualified for an Olympics.

Postscript: The 1991 Zahorian belief led to further investigation and escalated to McMahon's level, which was charged with conspiracy to distribute drugs to WWE wrestlers. On July 23, 1994, he was acquitted of all charges after an 18-day lawsuit.

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