The Attitude Era saw WWE launch quite a few stables. D-Generation X may have been the most popular faction, but The Nation of Domination was also memorable and launched a number of big stars. The Hart Foundation had a briefer but very successful run at the front end of the Era, the gangs of Los Boricuas and Disciples of Apocalypse had a heated rivalry amongst themselves and the Nation. Team Extreme and Team ECK were fun trios, and The Ministry of Darkness and The Union each had entertaining little runs in their own right.
There was also The Corporation. This faction wasn’t cool and didn’t necessarily amass gold the way some top stables have (though they did have two world champions in their midst, and a number of secondary title holders). The stable was, collectively, Vince McMahon’s proxy and heater. For while McMahon drew heat like few wrestlers or managers ever had before or since, he was never an in ring wizard, and having engage physically only every so often helped keep him special, and draw extra electricity for those times when faces did get their hands on him.
But what of Vince McMahon’s relationships with the members of the Corporation? Surely, some were bodies filling spaces on a big heel roster, many of whom were there for the purpose of taking bumps on McMahon’s behalf. But McMahon does have personal connections, too, to just about every member of his stable, whether it related to his personal life, or contributions that he made directly to that wrestler’s career. This article takes a look at 15 things you may not have realized about McMahon’s connections with Corporation members.
15. Vince Fired Sgt. Slaughter When He Asked For More Money
Sgt. Slaughter became a key veteran presence in The Corporation, both as a well known source of credibility and as someone willing and able to take an effective beating on the stable’s behalf. Slaughter had a long history, of course, with WWE and with Vince McMahon. His career included a world title reign and a WrestleMania main event.
Sgt. Slaughter’s first tenure under Vince did not end so smoothly, however. Slaughter, recognizing his popularity as second only to Hulk Hogan’s in the mid-1980s, reportedly demanded more money from his boss. In a classic display of business dominance, and message that no individual talent wasn’t expendable, Vince let Sarge go and immediately introduced Corporal Kirschner in his place. While Kirschner never got over at nearly Slaughter’s level, the message was clear about who called the shots, and Slaughter’s time to follow with WWE was much smoother.
14. The Big Show Came To WWE So Vince Would Make Him A Star
Before he was The Big Show, Paul Wight wrestled as The Giant for WCW. He was successful in the role, winning the WCW Championship in his first match and then improving as a performer to better justify his main event spot. It must have been tough for him to walk away from a high profile, well paid position. Shown has spoken in a few shoot interviews about his reasoning, though for defecting to WWE.
In the end, it all seems to have come down to a conversation with Hulk Hogan, in which Hogan told him that Vince McMahon would make him a real star. While The Big Show did neat to eat some crow early in his WWE tenure, including a severe demotion to work on his ring skills, he wound up a steady upper card to main event presence for most of his nearly two decades with the company that included world title reigns and working a super high profile match with Floyd Mayweather at WrestleMania 24.
13. Vince Initially Only Meant To Hire The Mean Street Posse For A Couple Weeks
The Mean Street Posse were memorable, comedic fall guys for The Corporation, and more specifically Shane McMahon. Two of the three members—Pete Gas and Rodney—were legit childhood friends of Shane, while Joey Abs was billed as the same, but actually was a trained wrestler brought in to be the pure worker for the group. Together, the unit got over to a reasonable degree.
By multiple accounts, including shoot interviews with Pete Gas, Vince only intended for the Posse to appear on TV for two to three weeks as a fun side angle as Shane pretended to have a rough upbringing. The group was successful enough that they got a year and a half run, surviving long past their expiration date. The group got another chance in developmental, but despite Gas in particular showing signs of improvement, would never make it back to the main roster for a full time run.
12. Vince Told Triple H Not To Date His Daughter
It’s well documented in the McMahon and Thy Kingdom Come WWE documentaries that Vince waffled a bit on his feelings regarding Triple H dating his daughter. According to both Stephanie and Linda, Vince told his daughter she should find someone like Triple H to date. When they first got together he seemed fine with it, but later doubled back to say it wasn’t a good idea.
Triple H has hypothesized Vince may have just been testing his commitment when he told him to stay away from his daughter. Regardless, everything seems to have worked. The two have been happily married for nearly 14 years as of this writing. Meanwhile, Vince has largely taken Triple H under his wing, appointing him Vice President of Talent Relations, giving him significant ownership over NXT’s creative direction, and setting him up to likely stand alongside Stephanie as heirs to Vince’s wrestling empire.
11. Vince Wanted Kane To Expose Himself
As WWE Studios really got up and rolling and regular basis, See No Evil was an early, signature project, featuring Kane in a starring, monstrous role. In a podcast interview, former WWE writer Dan Madigan spoke about some ideas for the film. In particular, he indicated that Vince McMahon was adamant about having a scene in which Kane exposed him, and that his anatomy stretch three feet long.
While Madigan said the film was terrible and the writers reluctantly had to agree to most of Vince’s ideas, this one at least was left out of the final script. It seems that no one had any interest in standing up to McMahon, but on a point of decency for what was intended to be a mainstream horror film, Vince did ultimately listen to reason.
10. It Was Vince Who Originally Thought To Put The New Age Outlaws In DX
Today’s fans will readily remember The Road Dogg and Billy Gunn as part of Triple H and Stephanie McMahon’s Authority stable, largely a descendent of The Corporation. The New Age Outlaws working for Vince in kayfabe? It did happen albeit as part of the popular tag team playing double agents who would ultimately double cross the group.
The Outlaws are largely synonymous with DX, but in shoot interviews, Vince Russo has discussed that Vince McMahon masterminded the choice to have them join the faction. He suggests that Shawn Michaels and Triple H felt the tag team was beneath them, and McMahon had to compel them to give them a try. Triple H and HBK were won over to the cause as The Outlaws went a long way toward getting the group even more via their pre-match banter and popularity with live crowds.
9. Gerald Brisco (Kind Of) Sold Vince WCW
While Gerald Brisco was introduced to a huge generation of fans as a Stooge for Mr. McMahon, he had a tremendous legacy as an in ring performer from decades before. In addition, he was involved in the business of wrestling, including, with his brother Jack, owning a significant share of Georgia Championship Wrestling. In 1984, he opted to sell to Vince—most importantly offering a TV time slot to the young up and coming promoter with an eye on national expansion.
The transaction didn’t really work out. WWE floundered in the ratings in southern markets used to a more traditional style of professional wrestling. WWE ultimately wound up selling the time slot to Jim Crockett Jr. While the lineage isn’t entirely clean, this would pave the way a few years later to Ted Turner procuring the territories assets and launching World Championship Wrestling.
In an interesting turn, Vince’s employee had once sold him what would become WCW, before Vince sold off the associated time slot that would lead to the invention of his greatest competition in the 1990s.
8. Vince Salvaged The Big Boss Man
The Big Boss Man got over as a star working in the Mid-South under Bill Watts, under the moniker Big Bubba Rogers. The man went to the next level when he came to WWE, though, and was rebranded in the iconic Big Boss Man character. First, he posed a formidable challenge as a fast-moving big man against Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage. Then he was a rock solid upper mid card face for a period of years.
He rode this wave of momentum to be the lightly repackaged “Boss” in WCW—a character close enough to The Big Boss Man that WWE’s attorneys contacted WCW. From there, he became The Guardian Angel before returning to his roots as Big Bubba Rogers. Later, he would go by his legal name, Ray Traylor. Across these different personas, the man lost much sense of character and became a bit of a joke to fans.
Beneath the poor booking and absence of character consistency, Vince McMahon recognized a stellar performer. He welcomed him back into the WWE fold where he essentially finished out his career in mainstream wrestling working as a mercenary/bodyguard for Mr. McMahon and upper mid card heel. The character reinstated the performer’s gravitas while updating the old Boss Man persona to fit the times beautifully, and even give him one last world title feud opposite The Big Show.
7. Vince And Test Mutually Agreed To Part Ways
For a time, Test looked as though he’d have a charmed career with WWE. From getting booked as Stephanie McMahon’s kayfabe boyfriend to winning the Immunity Battle Royal to keep his job while the rest of The Alliance was fired, to getting a complete repackage job and a pairing with Stacey Keibler, there were multiple times when he looked as though he could have been main event bound.
WWE let test go after injury and after his career had largely stalled out in WWE in 2004. He would make a comeback from 2006 to 2007, though, working as an upper card heel for WWE’s ECW brand. Test would end up released. He clarified via social media, however, that the decision was not a matter of Vince McMahon firing him, but rather mutually agreeing it wasn’t a fit in the best interests of either party at the time, and claiming he’d actually requested the release.
6. Vince Booked Events With Pat Patterson By His Pool
Younger fans may only remember Pat Patterson as a Stooge for The Corporation. He was a celebrated wrestler before that, and perhaps an even more respected wrestling mind. It’s been reported by a number of wrestlers from the era that Vince McMahon and Pat Patterson used to book WWE by McMahon’s poolside. In his book, Accepted, Patterson confirmed this to be the case, that the two would casually map out long ranging storylines and character arcs in this informal setting.
McMahon and Patterson’s accounts seem to agree about the two of them being incredibly close and trusted creative partners. Patterson gets particular credit for being the mastermind behind booking the details of matches, including mapping out most Royal Rumbles, and masterminding famous showdowns between less than top tier workers, like Hulk Hogan’s match with The Ultimate Warrior at WrestleMania VI. It seems McMahon was the big picture mastermind while he left the specifics to Patterson.
5. Vince Wouldn’t Let Ken Shamrock Out Of His Contract
Ken Shamrock was an interesting star for WWE. He was the first real, big time crossover star from MMA to professional wrestling, took the business quickly, and largely got over at the upper mid card level. It’s quite arguable that he could have been a full on main eventer, but WWE never pulled the trigger on that push. Shamrock would ultimately choose not to re-sign with WWE after his contract was up, and had a run with TNA in its infancy, before returning to MMA.
In shoot interviews years later Shamrock would discuss that he wanted to leave WWE sooner because he didn’t like the schedule and wanted more time with his family. In particular, he cited frustrations with Vince McMahon not letting him out of his contract when he asked. Shamrock has seemed to vacillate a bit though, as he has talked about going back to WWE and what a big star he would be on other occasions.
4. Chyna Tried To Make Amends With Vince Before She Passed
The story of Chyna is one of wrestling’s great tragedies. She became a big star in the Attitude Era based on her distinctive size, look, and abilities that allowed her to hang with the men’s roster. Things unraveled, though, when her real life boyfriend Triple H left her for Stephanie McMahon, and after Chyna asked for an astronomical salary that priced her out of staying with the company. The years to follow saw her have drug problems, get charged for domestic violence against Sean Waltman, and dabble in the pornography business.
In 2015, Chyna released a video of herself pleading for a meeting with Triple H and Vince McMahon to put their differences behind them, and specifically to get her a Hall of Fame induction. By all accounts, she never got a real response, and sadly passed away the following year. Since her passing, Triple H has commented, saying her body of work in wrestling merits celebration, but that her activities outside wrestling post-WWE make it hard for WWE to formally embrace her legacy.
3. Vince Hated Biker ‘Taker
It’s hard to call The Undertaker a member of The Corporation, but The Deadman’s Ministry of Darkness did ultimately merge with the other heel group to form The Corporate Ministry, with the back story that Mr. McMahon had been pulling the strings of both groups all along, so it seems fair enough to count him under the Corporate banner.
It’s been well documented that Vince McMahon has a strong relationship with The Undertaker. He appreciates the performers loyalty and longevity, as a star who stuck with the company for over twenty five years, never defected to WCW, and never had any scandals or serious behavioral missteps to his name.
Surely, Vince signed off on Biker ‘Taker—the modernized, more realistic take on the character for which The Undertaker became more himself as a motorcycle enthusiast and a big, tough Texan. According to a variety of sources, Vince hates the gimmick, at least in retrospect, for demystifying The Deadman and humanizing him too much. He’s reportedly given the cold shoulder or actively rebuked anyone who speaks out in defense of Biker ‘Taker in his presence.
2. Vince Insisted On The Rock’s Vanilla Babyface Character
Their may be no performer who both benefited Corporation membership, and benefited The Corporation more than The Rock. While The Nation of Domination helped bring out his personality, it was his alliance with Mr. McMahon on air that put The Rock into a direct rivalry with Steve Austin for the first time, and made him a bona fide main event star.
In the episode of the WWE Network’s Monday Night War dedicated to The Rock, a number of parties, including The Rock himself, discussed The Great One’s more humble beginnings with WWE as a generic white meat baby face. That was Vince’s vision for him as a third generation star and someone he expected to be a hero to WWE fans. The Attitude Era would change how Vince looked at his locker room, and The Rock was a tremendous example of a guy with great potential who positively exploded when given the chance to break free of a more traditional mold.
1. Vince Was Shane’s Best Man At His Wedding
There have been a great many rumors about strife between Vince McMahon and his son Shane, some of which Shane has alluded to being true. In shoot interviews he’s discussed his father’s frequent absences during his childhood and in his WWE Network interview with Mick Foley, he suggested that there was real tension between him and others in the family—not least of all his father—that led to his seven year hiatus from the family business.
Make no mistake about it, though, there’s also a lot of love between father and son. One prime example was Shane asking Vince to stand up as his best man at his wedding back in 1996, before Vince started playing much of a character on TV, and before Shane was truly a public figure.
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