For everything that he has contributed to and earned from the wrestling business, Vince McMahon has more than earned the moniker "evil genius." His shady backstage politics and underhanded tactics against anyone bold enough to compete with him have been considered questionable by many, but considering his unorthodox business methods have always produced positive results for WWE, that's saying something.
It's been said that to succeed in this industry, it helps if one happens to be a little crazy and it just so happens that Vince McMahon is crazy like a fox. We're not using the word crazy as some kind of euphemism or anything like that either. We literally think that Vince McMahon is crazy. After all, how can a guy like him come up with stuff like the Katie Vick angle or film Mae Young giving birth to a hand and manage to get it on television? At the same time, how can a guy like him give birth to such a revolutionary wrestling boom like the Attitude Era or orchestrate such classic moments as Hogan slamming Andre or The Shield breakup in the same breath? The guy has had some bonkers ideas that only madmen can think of and has gotten away with things only the slickest of business veterans can get away with unscathed. Vince McMahon is the best kind of crazy that we should all aspire for, but few can actually achieve.
We're not just judging Vince to be crazy based on his product or his successful business endeavors. We have also come to this conclusion by considering the countless stories from his former peers and co-workers where they talk about him in a light that makes him sound, well, crazy. People tend to classify his actions, behaviors, viewpoints, and business decisions as being unorthodox, quirky, strange, eccentric, and unconventional. But if we could boil it all down to just a simple word, it would be crazy. Here are a few crazy Vince McMahon stories that remind us just how crazy WWE's Chairman of the Board can be sometimes (or all the time, depending on who you ask).
15 Confusing His Superstars With Each Other
Once you've run a wrestling program for as long as Vince McMahon has with varying degrees of changing rosters over the past few decades, it's easy to forget a few names here and there. However, it is a whole other situation to get two completely different wrestlers mixed up for each other. Before getting re-hired by WWE, Curt Hawkins conducted a shoot interview where he discussed the meeting where Vince announced to the roster that the product was going PG. Understandably, there were some questions that needed to be addressed. Namely from future Nexus member Michael Tarver who, despite just being a road talent who wasn't called up to the main roster for another two years, asked Vince a question. Hawkins couldn't remember what the question was, but he certainly remembered Vince's response. At the podium, Vince remarked, "Excellent question, Shelton." Vince had actually mistaken Michael Tarver for Shelton Benjamin. The whole room went ballistic with laughter and Vince was oblivious to exactly why anyone was laughing.
14 Shy About Pizza
Despite letting the most wildest of shenanigans play out in front of the world on a weekly basis, Vince McMahon is still keen on keeping at least a shred of privacy regarding his life and who he really is. He doesn't want his actual personality to conflict with the person who he wants other people to see him as. Which is why he freaked out when one of his writers caught him eating pizza. Pro Wrestling Torch Newsletter writer Wade Keller once talked about meeting Vince McMahon for the first time. He went up to his office and walked in to find The Chairman eating pizza. Nothing unusual there, everybody eats pizza. But what was unusual was how embarrassed and mortified Vince's face looked upon being discovered. He looked like a little kid who got caught with his hand in the cookie jar. With fear in his eyes, Vince told Keller, "Wade, you can't print this." As if pizza eating was some groundbreaking and news worthy gossip headline.
13 Trashing Frank Deford's Shoes
To say that Vince McMahon is petty would be an understatement. This is the same man who trash talked his competition in famous "Billionaire Ted" skits, after all. He also was petty enough to toss Frank Deford's shoes in the trash over a disagreement. Who is Frank Deford, you may ask? Deford is an esteemed sportswriter who, on the recommendation of Vince's friend Dick Ebersol, hired Dave Meltzer, whom Vince used to be cross with for "exposing the business" back when kayfabe was sacred.
At a birthday party for John Fillipelli, as Meltzer once recalled during a podcast, Vince happened to be there, as was Deford. The two played nice with each other and decided to go bowling with some friends and execs after the party. While everyone was focused on the game, Vince sneaked off to the shoes of Deford and his wife and tossed them in the trash before making an exit. Deford and his wife were forced to go home in their bowling shoes and upon getting home, received a call from Vince who gloated over the phone, "That's what you get, pal!" This seems to explain why Deford called Vince McMahon the biggest jerk he ever met in his book Over Time: My Life As A Sportswriter.
12 He Soiled Himself, Then Cut A Promo
Vince McMahon has always lived by the mantra that the show must go on by any means necessary. As if watching him tear his quads and continue the segment at Royal Rumble 2005 wasn't proof enough, he once crapped his pants and still went out in front of the live crowd to cut a promo. As Jim Ross explained in an interview on Opie Radio, Vince found out that during a car ride between Ross and Gerald Brisco, JR farted and it made Brisco puke. Vince found this so hilarious that he tried to recreate the stunt himself. So backstage during a taping of RAW, Vince tracked down Brisco, tried to fart, but tried too hard and desecrated his underpants. Still, the show must of course go on and moments later, Vince walked out to the ring for a promo as if nothing happened. Though he did tell his production team to keep the cameras above his waist for the whole segment.
11 Starving His Team And Eating In Front Of Them
Many former writers of the creative staff have likened the experience of working for the WWE in day-to-day operations to being a member of a cult. Obviously, that is a heavy exaggeration. Mostly because cult leaders at least have the decency to feed their worshipers. Vince McMahon, on the other hand, does not. Two ex-WWE writers, including Domenic Cotter, proclaimed in an issue of Proslam Magazine just how brutal it was to sit through meetings because there were no refreshments or food offered to the writers. Hours upon hours would go by with the writers starving. On an even more cruel note, Vince would often eat while sitting at these meetings, making the writers even more hungry for something to munch on. Cotter recalled that Vince would eat a beef wrapped burrito with ketchup every day during these meetings, which is funny because for the longest time, Vince didn't know what a burrito was.
10 Vince Has No Idea What A Burrito Is
During a July 26th Livecast with PWTorch, former WWE writer Dan Madigan recalled a meeting that Vince sat in on where an idea to poison The Big Show was pitched. The angle would have seen Big Show be seen backstage eating a burrito that someone had sneakily spiked beforehand, then later in the ring, Show would pass out in the middle of the match because he was poisoned. While odd, it certainly wasn't the worst idea that WWE ran on television. However, Vince hated the idea solely because he didn't think his audience would know what a burrito was. When his writers all claimed to know exactly what a burrito was, he bemoaned "Well, where the hell have I been?" Madigan added that the killing part of this story was that everyday at noon, Vince's secretary brought him a beef wrapped burrito to eat. He would douse it with ketchup every time, but not know what he was eating. Given how many people claim that Vince is out of touch nowadays, it's hysterical to think Vince could be so out of touch to not know what a burrito is.
9 Nearly Killing A Writer In A Race
Given the well documented history of the Monday Night Wars, it is no secret that Vince McMahon has always had an overly competitive side to his personality. After all, this is the same guy who reportedly threw a hissy fit during a family vacation in Boca when him and Linda lost a game of pool to Stephanie and Triple H. So it is absolutely no surprise to think that The Chairman took a drag race with former Creative writer Court Bauer a little too seriously. As Bauer told the tale in an interview with TSC News, the writer was approached by Vince in the parking lot and challenged his Bentley Sports Coupe to a race with Bauer's Mercedes. Why? Who knows. Bauer couldn't say no to his boss so he played along. They were neck and neck on the highway until some construction approached. In the spirit of competition, Vince decided to flip off Bauer and nearly drive him off the road into construction. Bauer had no choice but to slow down, or else he would've crashed and died.
8 His Pet Peeves
We all have our fair share of pet peeves. We may hate when people interrupt us when we talk, chew with their mouths open, or drive slow in traffic. But at the end of the day, it's all common and reasonable stuff to get bothered about. Unless you're Vince McMahon, where in this case, your pet peeves are really strange and unique. As Paul Heyman noted on an episode of Chris Jericho's podcast, The Chairman hates when people sneeze. Not sneeze with their mouth open, but sneeze PERIOD. Heyman has watched Vince angrily mutter to himself, chew people out, and demand they control themselves all because of a sneeze at an inopportune time. Another strange pet peeve story comes from former 90210 writer Larry Mollin, back when he wrote for WWE when Stephanie McMahon was Head of Creative. During a meeting, Mollin found himself nodding a lot when Vince spoke. This caused Stephanie to pull Mollin out of the room and advise him not to nod because Vince hates nodding. Apparently, nodding suggests yes men and contrary to popular belief, Vince hates being surrounded by yes men.
7 Drunk And Taking Finishers
For the past two decades, Vince McMahon has spent a good amount of time tussling with his employees in the ring despite never being trained to be a a wrestler. He even proved to be anxious to take some wrestling offense prior to his in-ring work from the Attitude Era onwards. As Bret Hart detailed in his book Hitman: My Real Life in the Cartoon World of Wrestling, following Vince's announcement that WWE had to start requiring drug tests—keep in mind that this was a time when drug-addled debauchery in wrestlers was at an all-time high—Vince invited all of the boys to the a strip club for one last drugged-out party before the policy had to be enforced. That night, an already drunken Vince arrived at the club and demanded that his top tag teams, The Legion of Doom and The Hart Foundation, to hit their finishers on him. They did, especially the Harts. Bret walloped Vince so hard with his clothesline that his boss' head bounced off the floor. The true sport that he is, Vince took it in stride.
6 The Turban Incident
Vince McMahon is a man who is willing to put anything and everything on his programming no matter how offensive the material risks coming off. A good example of this comes from a story told by ex-WWE writer, Patrice O'Neal. Yes, the late, great comedian Patrice O'Neal worked on the creative team for WWE once upon a time ago. Even more shocking than that is the story he told on the Opie & Anthony Show where he recalled Tiger Ali Singh coming into Vince's office while he and O'Neal were writing material. Ali Singh caught wind of an upcoming angle where he and D'Lo Brown were set to wear turbans on WWE TV. Ali Singh politely asked Vince if he could not wear the turban because his family thought it disrespectful and a sign of desecration towards his own culture. Vince nearly busted a blood vessel when he yelled at Tiger, "You and D'Lo are gonna put on those f*cking turbans! I don't give a damn about desecration!" It's always been Vince's way or the highway, and this is just one of several examples.
5 Had Jonathan Coachman Arrested For A Prank
Ribs and pranks tend to be a regular thing in the wrestling industry. The prankster often pranks to test out the victim's fortitude, and the way that the victim reacts can make or break their relationship. However, when you're a madman like Vince McMahon, ribs might go a little too far. One of his craziest ribs was done at the expense of Jonathan Coachman. In an interview with Back Sports Page, Coach recalled a 2001 incident at a SmackDown taping, not long after he first joined WWE, when Gerald Brisco asked Coach to run a football betting pool with him. Coach played along until he was approached by two cops claiming he was running an illegal gambling pool and sold one to an undercover cop. They "arrested" Coach, taking him down to Vince's office to let him know that bail is $1,500, a fee which Vince refused to pay, declaring in a 45-minute venomous tirade that he hoped Coach rotted in jail. A terrified Coach was handcuffed and taken away in a cop car, only for the car to turn right back around to the arena to see Vince cackling with a sea of wrestlers with him. Coach was so relieved that this was all a ruse that it brought him to tears.
4 The Florida Trip
Fans have often considered Vince McMahon to be crazy due to how often he seems to change his mind seemingly at the drop of a dime when it comes to major matches and storylines. It appears as though Vince isn't only wishy-washy when it comes to his own product, but also with his own writing staff when it comes to meetings. Dave Meltzer once reported in an issue of the Wrestling Observer that Vince called his creative team and demanded them to immediately take a flight to his Florida home for an urgent meeting. No one knew what the meeting could have been about, but figured that it had to be important. Hours later, upon arriving to Florida, Vince refused to let them in his home. Strangely enough, Vince had decided that a meeting wasn't necessary after all and just like that, everyone had to take another flight back to Stamford for a meeting with Stephanie McMahon. They never found out why Vince called them down to Florida to begin with.
3 Refused to Hire Gail Kim Until He Discovered Asian Adult Entertainment
It can be argued that Vince McMahon occasionally overthinks the smallest of concerns regarding his company. Case in point, as Jim Ross once revealed on his podcast, when JR was still the Head of Talent Relations, he tried to convince Vince to hire a young and talented woman named Gail Kim. Despite her in-ring talent exceeding the average woman on the WWE roster at the time, Vince had trepidation about hiring her because she was of Asian descent. His fear was that audiences wouldn't gravitate towards the newcomer because Westerners weren't attracted to Asian women. JR not only explained that plenty of North Americans found Asians attractive, but there were hundreds of websites out there dedicated strictly to Asian adult entertainment. Both revelations absolutely stunned The Chairman, especially the fact that such websites existed. This persuaded Vince to hire Gail Kim and give her a fast push, leading to her relatively quick Women's Championship win shortly after joining the company.
2 Fighting Kofi Kingston
Vince McMahon has a tendency to display odd and unclear attempts at pulling off a power play against his employees in order to test them. As Chris Jericho explained in his book, The Best in the World: At What I Have No Idea, The Chairman tried this exact tactic with Kofi Kingston. Early into the career of the Boom Squad General, he rode on a plane with Jericho and McMahon, and The Genetic Jackhammer made a snide remark towards Kofi. He told him, "Maybe someday you'll get over." Kofi brushed this off in stride, but Jericho warned Kofi that this had to be a deliberate test on McMahon's behalf. He advised Kofi that if he didn't go back and stand up to himself, McMahon would never respect him. Taking Jericho's advise, Kofi got all up in Vince's face and the two got into a verbal altercation that quickly turned physical once Vince dropped Kofi with a double leg takedown. This turned into a scuffle where Vince got the better of The Dreadlocked Dynamo, but Kofi nonetheless earned Vince's respect for standing up for himself.
1 The Plane Ride From Hell
The infamous Plane Ride from Hell is perhaps the most bizarre series of wrestling-related events to ever take place behind the scenes. From a drunk Mr. Perfect fighting Brock Lesnar, to X-Pac snipping the ponytail of a sleeping Michael Hayes, this plane ride had it all. This ride is especially highlighted by an amateur wrestling skirmish between Kurt Angle and Vince McMahon after Vince challenged The Olympic Hero by blindsiding him with a takedown. This was old-hat for the two as they had been horsing around like this several times prior to the plane ride. The fact that Vince would regularly try to take down an Olympian who won his gold medal with a broken freakin' neck is mental in itself. Unfortunately for Angle, the tussle awoke a nearby Undertaker from his sleep, who woke up thinking the two were in a legitimate fight. To save his boss, Undertaker started choking out Angle. Taker didn't let him go until Angle's eyes glazed over and Vince pleaded with The Deadman that this was all in good fun.