Vince McMahon, a multi-faceted man, has always fascinated the WWE fans as much as the colourful personalities in his employ have.
The man is a walking, talking enigma; fit as a whistle at a ripe old age of 72, attending every event and outworking his own daughter and son-in-law, who're in the prime of their lives. But while his passion and drive for the WWE and pro wrestling in general is well documented, so are his many flaws.
So many reports of him falling out with his employees have emerged that it's pretty much commonplace by now. He's also known as a notoriously ruthless businessman, crushing his competition and putting them out of their misery so he can enjoy an unhealthy monopoly over the market. But those flaws just skim the surface of the man.
Vince McMahon has many skeletons locked in his closet that he wouldn't, ideally, like the world to know but while a lot of them have already been unearthed thanks to the internet, you really wouldn't be surprised if more of them surfaced in the future either.
But when all the dust is settled, Vince McMahon will go down as, perhaps, the most intriguing and layered character in WWE history. Unfortunately for him, the good bits and the not-so-good ones go hand in hand.
Here then, are 15 of the latter that he probably wishes we never came to know about him in the first place.
15 Alleged 'Relationship' with Shawn Michaels
Vince McMahon’s name has been synonymous with a voracious sexual appetite, as can be referenced by the sheer number of misogynistic, innuendo-rich storylines in which he’s been involved with in the past.
Funnily enough, his lust didn’t end with just women. Pervasive rumors that he had a homosexual relationship with Shawn Michaels have always existed, although they were never proven.
And Michaels’ ability to get away with almost anything in his first WWE run tied in with that as well. As far as the WWE goes, Vince McMahon gets what Vince McMahon wants. And seeing as how Shawn Michaels wasn’t averse to resorting to underhanded tactics to further his position in the company before he found God, this is one rumor that will never quite go away.
14 Stephanie McMahon - Randy Savage affair
For the longest time, Randy Savage’s name was apparently taboo in the WWE; so much so that Vince McMahon would fly off the handle if he even heard it being mentioned. Some speculate that the reason for this stems from the Macho Man assuring Vince that he wouldn’t join WCW after his WWE contract was up, before going on to do exactly that.
Mostly, however, the intense hatred McMahon bore towards Savage is attributed to the rumors that he had an affair with a 16-year-old Stephanie McMahon when he was still an employee of the company. Given how sensitive a topic this is, it’s totally unsurprising that no evidence emerged to corroborate those claims.
But for a man who gained a reputation of setting aside personal feelings for the betterment of business, the fact that Vince didn’t allow Randy Savage to be inducted into the Hall of Fame even after years following his retirement was sufficiently indicative that all wasn’t well between them.
13 Stone Cold's Domestic Dispute
Stone Cold Steve Austin was the primary reason Vince McMahon's company was able to survive the Monday Night War and beat WCW. However by 2002, Austin was in a terrible place and committed some pretty egregious acts shortly after walking out on the company. In June 2002, police were called to Austin and his wife Debra Marshall's home after Debra called and claimed Austin had been beating her. When authorities got there, they told Austin not to return to the property. Austin was eventually charged, but pleaded no-contest and eventually got off with community service.
Marshall has since claimed that WWE placed a gag order on her and she couldn't speak of the incident for years, as WWE still relied on Austin in many ways to be a driving source of revenue. Austin himself has rarely spoken of the incident.
12 The Nancy Argentino murder
In 1983, Nancy Argentino - Jimmy Snuka’s girlfriend - was hospitalised for head injury and passed away shortly. Initially, Snuka admitted to her hitting her head on the table when he pushed her following an argument that got out of hand, but later recanted his story to describe how she slipped and fell during a bathroom break when they were on the road.
It was rumored then that Vince McMahon played a pivotal role in getting his employee off the proverbial hook, and making the case go away despite damning evidence against Snuka. Almost 35 years later, the case was reopened in 2016 on the face of new evidence and Snuka was finally convicted for third degree murder and involuntary manslaughter.
But to date, only Vince McMahon knows how he exonerated him at the time of the incident.
11 Pitched incest angle
If you thought that there are no depths that Vince McMahon won’t sink to, you’re probably right. Apparently, it wasn’t enough for the WWE head honcho to have the likes of Sable or Torrie Wilson plying his wishes on screen as he proposed a ridiculous storyline that involved an incest angle with his own daughter, Stephanie McMahon.
Expectedly, Stephanie was beside herself with rage and shot it down before it could ever come to fruition. After all, she does have her limits in what she'd do on-screen and pretending to be in love with her dad would have been repulsive.
It certainly wasn’t one of Vince’s moments of better judgement as it would have done nothing whatsoever to help the company’s image or to convince those who already perceived WWE as a fringe establishment, otherwise.
10 Chyna - Triple H - Stephanie love triangle
Another topic you can probably chalk up to the laundry list of incidents that Vince McMahon rather you’d never know of was the sordid love triangle between Stephanie McMahon, Triple H and Chyna.
Triple H was infamously involved with Chyna when the opportunity of building a future with the daughter of the Boss presented itself and like what many normal people would do, he took it with both hands.
Stephanie McMahon and Triple H became an item and Chyna was ruthlessly cast aside and eventually released. Although Vince McMahon offered up plenty of lip service to her, praising her and acknowledging her worth to the WWE when she gleaned knowledge of the affair, he discarded her when push came to shove and chose his daughter’s happiness over everything else.
9 Stinking of tuna fish
Vince McMahon is a filthy rich business tycoon with an unshakable empire that will only grow from strength to strength here on in. But did you know that his office - and the man himself by all accounts - stink of tuna fish all day long?
As an avid bodybuilder, McMahon reportedly ingests multiple cans of tuna every day as it provides him with the protein and energy to keep firing on all cylinders. Little wonder then that even at the ripe old age of 72, he’s more fit than people half his age.
Confirmed by multiple sources, including a number of wrestlers that have been in his office, this rumour - while enlightening - still doesn’t proffer great PR for a man who is viewed worldwide as an inspiration to many.
8 The Trial
The WWE as we know it today, a global powerhouse bearing the overarching slogan of ‘Then, Now, Forever’, may not have even existed had Vince McMahon been taken down by the infamous Steroid Trial in the early 90s.
Hulk Hogan, Rowdy Roddy Piper and a couple of other WWE Superstars in his employment then had even been asked to testify when loose-handed doctor George Zahorian was nabbed; to corroborate accusations that Vince McMahon had forced his underlings to take steroids.
Thankfully for McMahon, a stroke of luck, a few well-timed pay-offs and a spate of procedural errors would see the jury acquit him of all charges. He has since been very careful not to find himself in such a compromising situation again, but how he managed to squirm his way out of a federal offence, only he knows.
Vince McMahon’s penchant for booking himself into saucy storylines with WWE Divas right under the nose of Linda McMahon, sometimes even literally, has often given rise to rumours that he’s been just as promiscuous outside the ring as well.
And he even confirmed it himself, in an interview to Playboy in 2001, going as far as admitting that he didn’t realize the ramifications of his actions earlier on and that he regretted them.
However, given that he is the Chairman of a global powerhouse and one of the foremost brands in the world, it is highly unbecoming of him that he even indulged so brazenly in the first place. It takes away from the aura of the man and is probably something that Vince really wishes no one knew about him.
6 Turning a blind eye towards injury
For those WWE Superstars who developed under the umbrella of the company, Vince McMahon is known as a generous caretaker - erring in the side of caution instead of sanctioning a premature return to the ring, paying for their medical expenses, and giving them extended time off when they’re injured.
But for men like CM Punk, who rubbed the establishment the wrong way, and also came up through the indies, McMahon isn’t exactly known for being a guardian angel.
Punk alleged in the Colt Cabana podcast that WWE’s medical team, on behest of Vince McMahon, no less, turned a blind eye towards his accumulation of injuries, forcing him to work incessantly through the pain.
While he is still in lawful dispute over this claim with the company, such a reputation doesn’t bode well for the plethora of indie talent that the company seems to be recruiting nowadays.
5 He bribed Linda McMahon into political office
Linda McMahon’s political aspirations are only too well known to WWE fans. Thanks to that, we had to endure 10 years of utter dross in the PG era.
However, despite watering down their content and taking all the edge off it, the WWE was still used as a primary pressure point to oppose her from making strides in the political arena. But when Donald Trump, friend to Vince McMahon and fellow business tycoon, gained the Presidency of the United States, Linda McMahon was allocated a seat in his cabinet, in charge of the Small Business Administration.
Despite previously spending over $100 million on two unsuccessful bids to get elected into the Senate, how did Linda McMahon make it into Trump’s inside circle, you ask?
Well, a $6 million donation towards his presidential campaign definitely helped, of course. Doesn’t take a genius to add two and two, does it?
4 Ambushing employees
If you didn’t already know, Vince McMahon is an intensely competitive individual...but the distasteful part is that he also showed it to his own employees.
He would apparently wait around in the corridors, hiding, in an attempt to spring an ambush on Kurt Angle and take him down. Finally, after numerous failed attempts, he actually managed to secure a takedown one day. And after he did it, he made sure the Olympic hero never heard the end of it from then on, bringing it up whenever they crossed paths or in even in meetings in which they both attended. Angle wasn’t ticked off, but he did bide his time to repay the favour and capitalized when the opportunity presented itself...on a frigging plane.
Unfortunately for them, their scuffle awakened a napping Undertaker who then proceeded to legitimately choke out Angle, thinking that his employer was being attacked!
3 Vince was not always a billionaire
With Vince McMahon’s patented ‘Billionaire strut’ or his unforgettable (for the wrong reasons) ‘Battle of the Billionaires’ against Donald Trump, the subtext in the WWE has always suggested that Vince McMahon is a...well, billionaire.
Only, there was a time when he wasn’t. As he is the majority shareholder and the Chairman of the company, it coincides with a time when the WWE’s stocks fell, also pulling down the Boss’ net worth well below a billion.
And, unsurprisingly, it also happened during the lacklustre PG era...prompting the now infamous line from CM Punk about how Vince McMahon is a millionaire who should be a billionaire.
Better times have returned now, however, raising his net worth above the billion mark again but if he had his way, he’d probably prefer us never knowing that it took a plunge in the first place.
2 He Experimented With Substances
As mentioned before in this listicle, the secret to Vince’s evergreen engine is tuna fish...but those who’ve seen him up close and personal have a lot more controversial theory. It is well known that pro wrestling, WWE namely, was a cesspool of drugs, sex and alcohol in the 80s and the 90s.
A lot of the wrestlers used to snort cocaine and work, just to come to grips with the inhumane schedule and to aid in working through the injuries. But if someone rivalled their work ethic, sometimes even eclipsing it, it was Vince McMahon. The Boss was there at every show and pay-per-view, pulling the strings backstage as well as getting directly involved on screen.
What fuelled him? Well, it really doesn’t take a rocket scientist to guess.
1 He still allows PED usage in the WWE
Unlike in the 80s and the 90s, the WWE has predominantly cleaned up its image today. Today, it is portrayed as a family friendly sports entertainment brand that steers clear of controversial storylines and keeps its athletes in check using the WWE Wellness policy.
But does it? How does Brock Lesnar pop for PEDs under the stringent testing regime of USADA when he traipses off to MMA for a one-off fight at UFC 200 and yet never violate the Wellness Policy? Or, for that matter, how on earth did Jinder Mahal get looking like that?
The answer is very simple. Although the WWE condemns PEDs on paper, the company has not enforced the rule on part-timers, so Lesnar can be WWE or Universal Champion while still being on illegal PEDs.