Vincent Kennedy McMahon Jr is a very intriguing person in wrestling lore. He turned WWE into the biggest company in the business, utterly amazing with his genius at elevating sports entertainment up and making WWE the face of wrestling. But Vince has gained a lot of enemies over the years. From folks who hate him for destroying “the good old days” of the territories to his horrible treatment of workers and his idiotic ideas on who should be pushed, Vince has broken plenty of guys over the years and they’ve reacted badly.
Yet there are a lot of wrestlers who speak of Vince in glowing terms. They actually enjoy their time in WWE, not just the pushes and titles but also working with Vince himself. He is a unique guy. True, many of them have had harsh times with Vince McMahon and even ugly breaks. But they can still see the man in a good light and speak warmly of their time in the company. There are plenty of examples of both sides but here are the most notable. 10 workers who hated their time working for Vince and 10 who loved it, to show how complex the man can be.
20 HATED: Goldberg
When Goldberg returned to WWE in 2016, it was a huge surprise to everyone. It wasn’t just because of the man’s age and the belief that he would be getting another run. It was because Goldberg had been quite vocal at how much he hated Vince and his treatment of him during his 2003 run. He came in as a huge WCW star, a guy who should have been pushed as a monster off the bat. Instead, Goldberg was treated secondary to The Rock in their feud with the heel Rock constantly outshining him. He then lost his first big battle with Triple H which weakened his winning the belt later. His title run was a joke and ended fast as Goldberg just didn’t take well to WWE and it ended with his infamous WrestleMania battle with Brock Lesnar where the fans knew both were leaving and booed them out the building.
Goldberg spent several years doing interviews where he called Vince a “carny” and slammed him hard on his treatment of Goldberg and other workers. Somehow, they managed to mend fences to allow Goldberg a run as Universal champion and rematches with Brock yet it’s still notable how long Goldberg kept his streak of hating McMahon going.
19 LOVED: The Big Show
In WCW, the Giant had shown his stuff, a huge guy but surprisingly good in the ring. Sadly, the politics ruined things and so he jumped to WWE in 1999. As The Big Show, he got a push as a monster and later winning the WWE title in late 1999. Since then, Show has been one of the company’s biggest stars, able to hold a belt and dominate as either a monster heel or loveable face. Show never has a bad thing to say about Vince, respecting how the man has given him so many opportunities over the years and putting up with Show’s various injuries. The guy remains a big star for the company despite his advancing age and condition and Vince still makes sure to throw him a good program now and then that he can handle. No matter what, Show is grateful to Vince for all he’s done and boosted him nicely.
18 HATED: The Ultimate Warrior
For a while, the Warrior was the hottest thing in WWE. This wild man in face paint with insane promos, a powerful ring style and a fantastic entrance theme took fans by storm. He won the IC title and then pushed to go over Hulk Hogan for the WWE title. However, the Warrior’s run as champion wasn’t as successful as hoped as fans didn’t take to him as well. It led to major clashes between him and Vince, culminating in Warrior being fired at SummerSlam ’91. He returned the next year but once more major issues regarding his pay and push arose so Warrior walked out days before a highly hyped tag match with Randy Savage at the Survivor Series. Amazingly, he had another run in 1996 but that too ended with him walking out.
Not surprisingly, Vince and the Warrior railed against each other for years, especially lawsuits. The Warrior ripped into Vince for his treatment and major issues regarding Vince’s behavior toward him. WWE responded with the savage “Self-Destruction” DVD that the Warrior took as a personal insult. Thankfully, they managed to mend fences to get Warrior into the Hall of Fame before his untimely death and afterward, Vince has openly regretted their past egos ruining things. Still, for a long while, Warrior was a guy you could count on to loathe Vince majorly.
17 LOVED: Chris Jericho
In his various books, Chris Jericho constantly discusses how WCW was a horribly run company. Jericho had a big push going for him, winning over fans as an arrogant heel and ready for the big time. But WCW instead just treated him as a footnote and so Jericho decided to jump ship. His 1999 debut was epic and instantly over with the fans. Jericho admits his first months were rough, paying his dues as a newcomer. But soon, he was winning titles and boosted big time for his fantastic promos and stunning matches with the best in the business.
When Jericho returned in 2007 after a long break, he was pushed but found fans not taking to his old style. He thus changed to a more serious guy and was happy Vince went along with it as it got Jericho more championships. He’s back in WWE full-time and terrific with his program with Kevin Owens and still able to produce fantastic matches. In his books, Jericho is always ready to credit Vince making him such a mega-star and how much he greatly enjoys the amazing ride WWE has provided him.
16 HATED: Gail Kim
The Toronto native had a big breakout in WWE in 2003, winning the Women’s title in a battle royal in her debut. But she dropped the belt after just a month and soon sunk into the lower ranks of the card. Kim has been up front in interviews on how she felt that she was overlooked, and thus the shows would focus more on Divas like Torrie Wilson or Stacy Keibler than Kim. This drove Kim to TNA where she excelled as a Knockouts champion to put their division on the map.
She made a return to WWE in 2008 but once more was marginalized and ignored among the various Divas. Kim thus staged a literal walk-out on the company, eliminating herself from a battle royal and storming to the dressing room. She’s made it clear that, for all their problems, TNA treats her a lot better than WWE did and that Vince made no bones on how he thought Kim just didn’t have “the Diva look” despite her amazing ring skills.
15 LOVED: The Rock
Dwayne Johnson was a guy bursting with tons of charisma and talent from the start as shown in Memphis. WWE didn’t do right by him at first, trying to push him as a smiling babyface which fans loathed. But a heel turn allowed him to finally show off and his cool arrogant guy act was soon a winner with the crowds. Before anyone knew it, The Rock was the biggest thing in wrestling and soon taking off nicely. Johnson has credited the company giving him so many chances and always warm talking of Vince.
Johnson has shown that love by coming back to the company in a big return in 2011 and boosted back to another run as champion. Any appearance by The Rock is a huge deal for viewers but you also see that Johnson loves it himself, he can’t let it go despite his stardom in Hollywood. He may be one of the biggest box office stars in the world but WWE will always have a place in The Rock’s heart and that he’s never bad-mouthed Vince says a lot of their relationship.
14 HATED: Bruno Sammartino
There probably wouldn’t BE a WWE today without Bruno. His seven year run as champion legitimized the company and put it on the map. Sammartino was big business for Vince McMahon Sr. and he got along well with the man. A two year run later followed to keep things going and Bruno was always great keeping things going. When Vince Jr. took over, he kept Bruno on as a commentator and an occasional worker but things were tense between them. A true old-school guy, Sammartino did not appreciate Vince’s moves like taking over other territories and the more cartoonish antics and characters.
Things really came to a head when Vince refused to do a push for Bruno’s son David and the constant steroid use was getting to him as well. In 1987, Bruno left the company and bad-mouthed Vince constantly over the years. It was Triple H who finally got them to mend fences for Bruno to accept a return to WWE for the Hall of Fame and he’s soothed his attitude a bit but it does show how one of the biggest stars in the company’s history didn’t exactly have a high opinion of Vince.
13 LOVED: John Cena
A lifelong fan of wrestling, Cena had shown his stuff as “The Prototype” in OVW. He came into WWE as himself and after losing a close first match with Kurt Angle, Vince was shown on camera shaking his hand and telling Cena he was impressed. That was for real as Vince took a shine to Cena, even when the man was faltering and seemed to want to find something for him. Cena took care of that when he latched onto the rapper character that made him an instant fan favorite and elevated him to stardom. It’s obvious now how Cena has become the face of WWE, always there in public to promote the company and winning respect for setting the record for the most “Make a Wish” visits with fans.
Some fans can complain about him hogging the spotlight but Cena has proven himself able to carry the company well and handle the pressure. He always provides fantastic matches and talks very warmly on Vince giving him so many opportunities. Without Vince, Cena wouldn’t be the major media star he is today and the man is thus happy to be part of WWE.
12 HATED: Jeff Jarrett
It’s probably no surprise Jarrett and Vince clashed a lot. Jarrett is a good worker but suffers from how he honestly believes that he’s on the same level of stardom as Hogan or Flair. He had done great work in the USWA before signing to WWE in 1995 where he was given the goofy gimmick of a would-be country singer. It led to success with him as IC champion but he soured after losing the belt and soon left for WCW. Jarrett made a bold return to WWE in 1998, bad-mouthing WCW and getting a big push. He was part of a would-be “NWA Invasion” angle but that ended fast. Jarrett would find success winning the tag titles with Owen Hart and has bad-mouthed Vince massively, blaming him for Owen’s death.
It came to a head when, as IC champion, Jarrett held up Vince for several hundred thousand dollars in order to drop the belt to Chyna before returning to WCW. Jarrett has constantly slammed Vince as a selfish guy, which can be more than hypocritical given Jarrett’s own need to hog the spotlight. It drove Jarrett to create TNA and constantly acting in interviews like his being denied the title was one of the greatest tragedies for WWE fans. Not too surprising that a man so convinced of his inflated stardom would have hated Vince keeping him in a reality check.
11 LOVED: Jerry Lawler
For years, Jerry Lawler had been a star in Memphis, ruling the Continental/USWA area as multiple champion. In 1992, USWA worked with WWE in a program of Vince “invading” the area that was the early run for the “Mr. McMahon” character. Lawler finally took on WWE in 1993 and boosted fast as an arrogant heel in a great feud with Bret Hart. Lawler was given a lot of opportunities as both wrestler and commentator and spoke in glowing terms about Vince giving him a lot of breaks when he didn’t have to.
There have been issues such as when WWE fired Lawler’s wife, Stacy, in 2001 and Lawler quit in protest. But when he found out his wife had been cheating on him, Lawler came back and Vince was willing to take him on without hesitation. They’ve had more ups and downs but WWE honored Lawler after his on-air heart attack and still keep him on despite his legal issues. Lawler rarely talks badly about Vince and it’s clear that he enjoys the company giving him more attention in a few years than he had in decades in the business.
10 HATED: Shane Douglas
A WWE produced book on ECW doesn’t hesitate to call Shane Douglas’ 1995 run with the company as “a flop.” Douglas had been a mid-card babyface for years but remade himself in 1994 when he threw down the NWA title. This set up the rise of ECW and “the Franchise” was soon the top heel of the company. But WWE saddled him with the gimmick of “Dean” Douglas, a mean schoolteacher. It could have worked but Douglas found himself clashing with The Kliq as they did their best to push him down the card majorly. He was to win the IC title off of Shawn Michaels but Michaels had to give it up after getting beat on by a bunch of Marines at a bar. After just 15 minutes, Douglas lost the belt right to Razor Ramon.
Douglas left to return to ECW and has spent years bad-mouthing Vince constantly for his treatment of him. True, Vince is only one of many targets of Douglas’ rants over the years but it’s still notable how Douglas refused several offers to have anything to do with WWE because of his hate of Vince.
9 LOVED: The Undertaker
Vince McMahon has always had a deep respect for The Undertaker. Through thick and thin, even when the company hit hard times in 1996, Taker never once considered jumping ship to WCW. He was the one constant in WWE, a major locker room leader and always ready to help lay down the law (such as threatening Shawn Michaels to make sure HBK dropped the title to Steve Austin at WrestleMania). It helped that Taker was able to take a character who sounded so stupid and turn it into one of the biggest acts in the company.
Taker has always talked of Vince in glowing terms, happy the man gave him such a break and how much it means to him that Vince gives him a great contract. That’s true for his later years as Taker was slowing down but kept being pushed as a huge thing to make his appearances more meaningful. While it looks like he’s finally hanging it up, Undertaker clearly was one of the biggest stars WWE has ever known and is ready to talk of how great Vince was making that happen.
8 HATED: The Road Warriors
Hawk and Animal had been tearing up the wrestling world for years before coming to WWE. With their amazing style, face paint, leather, spikes and promos, the Warriors changed tag team wrestling and were a major hit. They came into WWE in 1990, pushed into a feud with takeoffs Demolition and then the tag titles. However, they were undermined by Animal’s injury and Hawk’s drug issues to leave in 1992. They had a return in 1997 but that was marred by more of Hawk’s problems which became an on-air segment and the addition of Droz. One last run followed in 2003 just before Hawk’s death.
Both men were upset but Hawk was always a lot more venomous about Vince than Animal was. A famous shoot interview had Hawk calling Vince “pure evil” and ripping into the man’s treatment of his workers and shoving the Warriors aside far too often. Animal is less hostile, working with WWE on a DVD but not liking the “new” LOD he was put into. As much as they changed wrestling with their actions, the Warriors did not like their journey with Vince.
7 LOVED: Triple H
This is an obvious choice. After all, Triple H owes pretty much everything to Vince, not just his career but his family. After showing his stuff in WCW, Hunter was hired to play a snobbish character and looking good with excellent drive. It took his work with DX to turn Hunter into a real star and impressing with his awesome promo skills and improving in the ring. He was always going to be a star even without his relationship with Stephanie as they formed a great connection on and off camera. Hunter likes to laugh that Vince never wanted his daughter with a wrestler but did well impressing him and soon taking off as a huge star.
True, he got his way far too often to push other guys down and keep the spotlight and title. But he also brought his A-game to big battles and did his best to make major Mania matches seem more important. Trips is also showing himself handling the business by convincing Vince to help create NXT which is now one of the best parts of the wrestling landscape. As the heir apparent, it’s too easy to say how Triple H loves working with Vince and that you can get along well with a father-in-law.
6 HATED: CM Punk
Punk was always an intriguing person to have in WWE. Already a star thanks to his work in ROH, Punk came in with high hopes and not happy to be shoved to the ECW brand right off. He did great there and moving to RAW, soon rising up with feuds with major stars like Jeff Hardy and runs as both World and a record long WWE title run. But Punk also had issues as evidenced by the infamous “pipe bomb” promo that had him tearing into Vince. Everyone knew it was Punk letting out his own feelings and most were astounded Vince let him air it all out like that. It led to Punk being a monster hit with fans but his fame also led to more shots on Vince.
It got worse when Punk walked out on the company and Vince had his release papers mailed to him on Punk’s wedding day. Since then, Punk has been up front on how much he utterly despises Vince and how badly the man has hurt the business. This frank talk made Punk a star and perhaps no surprise he clashed so much with Vince.
5 LOVED: Randy Orton
As a third generation superstar, Orton had a push from the start in OVW. He had a rough beginning in WWE with an injury but during time off, made promos that soon pushed him hard. He got a great push winning the IC title and joining Evolution. He was the youngest World champion ever but then marred by a badly-conceived face turn that hurt his momentum. But WWE kept on pushing Orton and even cutting him slack, which he has said he appreciated. Indeed, Orton is up front on how much of a massive jerk he was backstage for several years with his attitude and he probably should have been fired but Vince liked him and kept him on.
Orton has shown his drive, coming back from constant injuries, still able to provide some terrific matches and has even gotten another run as WWE champion. He keeps on Vince’s good side and has benefited immensely to be one of the biggest stars around. He’s a major star and Orton showing how much he loves the company and doing well with it.
4 HATED: Scott Steiner
Scott and brother Rick had taken wrestling by storm with their fantastic work in WCW, winning the tag titles and revolutionizing tag team wrestling. After a pay dispute, they walked and WWE were quick to sign them up. They had a run as tag team champions but some further issues led to them returning to WCW. There, Scott soon took off as a singles star but became known for his wild behavior and mood swings. He was signed to WWE in 2002 in hopes of becoming the next big challenger to Triple H. That ended when it became clear the man couldn’t deliver a coherent promo to save his life. Worse, the Royal Rumble match against Hunter turned into a debacle with Steiner blown up after just a few suplexes.
Steiner has been pretty up front on how much he loathed his time, ripping into Triple H for “holding me down” and other stuff. He’s torn into Vince as not caring about injured workers and has no respect for McMahon. Steiner says he’s turned down offers for a Legends contract as he doesn’t want to be “owned” by Vince and his attitude showcases his wild side in full.
3 LOVED: Bret Hart
This might be a bit of a surprise. One would imagine that Bret and Vince would be on horrible terms after the events of Montreal. However, in his autobiography, Bret clearly talks of Vince in pretty glowing terms. They had their issues but Bret respected Vince and appreciated how he took a chance on him so often. He notes that almost no one thought Bret was right to be WWE Champion in 1992 but Vince was the one who took a chance on him and it paid off. Yes, they clashed a lot over the years over things like Hogan getting the belt and issues with Shawn Michaels. However, despite everything, Bret’s enjoyment of Vince and respect for the man were clear.
There was a long period after Montreal and Owen’s death where Bret was obviously angry. If anything, his terrible tenure in WCW made him appreciate Vince a bit more. However, he did work with WWE to present a DVD and then later in several programs including taking on Vince at WrestleMania XXVI. Bret and Vince seem to have mended a lot of fences and Bret still has the admiration on Vince giving him the push to the top in the first place to show his love of working for WWE outweighs the hate.
2 HATED: Nailz
You can't get more “hated” than open assault. Kevin Wacholz had been hired in 1992 for the part of “Nailz,” coming out to the ring in an orange prison jumpsuit. The idea was he had been a convict at the jail the Big Boss Man worked at and wanted revenge. From the start, there were rough times by the man’s ego and backstage temperament and his rough ring work didn’t win him many other fans. But the man insisted on more of a push and demanding more money. This led to him and Vince having a meeting which soon went totally out of control. Yelling soon extended to Wacholz leaping over the desk to punch Vince and then start throttling him.
He was naturally fired and it kicked off a series of lawsuits between them. Wacholz testified against McMahon at his 1994 federal hearing, claiming he was in a horrible workplace and Vince encouraged steroid use. Now retired, Wacholz keeps to his family more but the few times he goes on the record, his venom against Vince is still quite clear.
1 LOVED: Shawn Michaels
The first run of the Rockers in WWE wasn’t that special as after just a few months, their hard partying ways got them into trouble. They came to see Vince with Shawn wearing special cowboy boots and Vince remarking “those boots are meant for walking” as he fired them. They were rehired for a great run wowing folks with their amazing tag work. After their split, Shawn was soon a singles star with great work while also winning Vince’s favor. That led to the rise of The Kliq and their domination of the backstage area of WWE, which Vince let them get away with way too much.
Still, Michaels was tops in the ring and even when he was forced to retire due to back injury, Vince kept him around in on-screen roles. When Shawn returned in 2002, he stunned everyone with a fantastic new skill and a new attitude. He got another run as World champion but more importantly turned in epic battles with Kurt Angle and others. Even in retirement, Shawn remains a major figures, always speaking well of Vince giving him so many chances and his status as “The Showstopper” and “Mr. WrestleMania” showcases how much his connection with Vince has grown over the years.
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