By most regards, Vince McMahon is considered a master of marketing and a wrestling genius. After all, he risked the success of his business with the first ever WrestleMania and single-handedly created the current WWE product fans know and love today. He's the originator of sports entertainment and he's led a long and celebrated life that offered very little in the way of dull moments. Many people are better for having known him.
That said, for all the good that Vince McMahon has done for his countless employees, WWE Superstars and professional wrestling fans known as the WWE Universe, he's had his fair share of unethical moments. In some cases, Vince has acted so despicably that his kids — Stephanie and Shane McMahon — are probably not proud to be associated with such behavior. Some of Vince's habits have been downright nasty and it qualifies as the type of activity better left kept secret from the grandkids.
What could Vince have done that's so bad, his own kids wouldn't dare share these stories with the rest of the family? Would they do anything to hide these secrets forever? Do his indiscretions tarnish the legacy of the Chairman of the WWE?
Keep reading and you'll see that Vince is widely known as a creative genius but has also done at least 15 Things Shane and Stephanie do not want their kids to know about Grandpa.
15 Vince McMahon Tried To Have A Match With God
We've learned that to Vince McMahon, in a non-PG era of the WWE, no topics are off-limits. Some should be. Vince has always used the excuse that the WWE is a brand of entertainment in much the same way that movies and dramatic television programming can entertain an audience. This self-justification that anything is within the limits of WWE storytelling has led McMahon to do some incredibly silly things.
Whatever Shane and Stephanie tell their kids over the course of their lives, one thing they should make clear is that their Grandpa and Dad can't actually have a physical match with God. When Shawn Michaels returned to the WWE, it was widely known that HBK was a changed man and one who'd found faith as a Born Again Christian. What did Vince do? He scoffed at Michael's faith and booked himself and son Shane against Michaels and his tag team partner "God".
While Michaels is said to not be overly upset or offended by the storyline — likely based on just how over-the-top the idea was — the entire concept was widely controversial, which probably sat just fine with Vince. McMahon is definitely someone who often believes any press is good press.
14 The "Montreal Screwjob"
It would be nice if Shane and Stephanie could describe Vince as a man of his word. The "Montreal Screwjob" proves otherwise. This disgrace was an infamous and controversial legitimate professional wrestling incident in which Grandpa Vince underhandedly manipulated the pre-agreed outcome of the match between Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels at the 1997 Survivor Series. Bret Hart was told the match would go one way, McMahon lied and went another on a live pay-per-view.
There are varying degrees to how much this was seen as a despicable act by McMahon. Those who feel Vince was in the wrong will argue that he flat out lied to Bret Hart and then used the momentum created by doing so to get rid of a contract he regretted offering. Further to that, he used the media attention to fuel the creation of his "Mr. McMahon" character which gained notoriety by suggesting "Bret screwed Bret."
Others suggest McMahon was left with no choice as Hart was unwilling to do what was told of him by his boss and move the storyline in a way that benefited the WWE as Bret was leaving for WCW.
13 The Original Screwjob
If you want to teach your kids one lesson, it might be to learn from your mistakes. The "Montreal Screwjob" wasn't the first time McMahon had pulled a move like the one he pulled on Bret Hart. Perhaps that's one of the things that makes the Montreal incident so despicable. McMahon claims he had no option, but he'd been prone to doing this with his in-ring talent before.
The "Original Screwjob" took place on November 25th, 1985 between Wendi Richter and The Fabulous Moolah over the WWE's Women's Championship at Madison Square Garden. After Richter felt unfairly compensated for her rise in popularity at the time, she refused to sign a contract extension until details of her pay were worked out. In a match against a masked competitor called "The Spider Lady" Richter unknowingly entered the ring with The Fabulous Moolah who, along with the referee, falsely counted a three-count on Richter even though she'd clearly kicked out. Moolah was awarded the title and Richter never wrestled for the WWE again.
12 Started a "Kiss My Ass Club"
One story you probably don't want to share with your grandkids is one that starts with "Grandpa used to have people kiss his ass to be accepted or not get fired from their jobs." This was a major storyline for the Mr. McMahon character and the lineup of wrestlers and WWE staff he made go through with kissing his buttocks is unbelievable.
For McMahon, there had to be other ways to get over as a heel character in the WWE. That he chose something so disgusting as a way to show his all-encompassing power over his inferiors was just par for the course of the type of thing he was known for. No WWE Superstar was off limits, including members of his own family. The WWE Universe also got to see their fair share of Vince's buttocks which his grandkids should never really have to witness for themselves.
11 Faked His Own Death
Did Grandpa die? That's a tough question to answer when your kids see Grandpa die on television but see him at family reunions or special occasions. In a way to garner cheap ratings, Vince decided he was going to write a storyline where his character would fall into depression after losing the ECW Championship on June 3, 2007. The result would be an exploding limousine and some real confusion among non-wrestling media that something had actually happened to the Chairman of the WWE. McMahon played the angle up to its fullest potential and didn't clear up any confusion about the storyline of his "death."
What made the angle so deplorable was that not much earlier, Owen Hart had really had an accident at a WWE pay-per-view and passed away. After the news of Owen's death, the WWE gave him a fitting Ten Bell Salute and dedicated the following Raw broadcast to segments from Superstars about their love of Owen. McMahon essentially tried to duplicate that feeling. To treat his fake death as 100% real was a disgrace to wrestlers who had passed in real life — wrestlers like Owen and Eddie Guerrero. The angle only ended because wrestler Chris Benoit shockingly died and tragically killed his entire family while Vince's storyline was in motion. Even McMahon knew to drop the idea while he could.
10 Was Accused Of Being A Drug Dealer
"Hey Daddy, are drugs bad for you?" This seems like a logical question and typical conversation any parent might have with their kids. In 1993, McMahon was charged with frequently obtaining anabolic steroids for his wrestlers. He was also accused of having a crooked Pennsylvania doctor send regular shipments of steroids to the then-WWF head offices in Stamford, Connecticut. The trial ended in a McMahon's acquittal but the charges almost ruined him and his business.
McMahon has always been known as the type of promoter who thinks the bigger, superhuman physiques make the most profitable stars and while the charges were dropped, it seems clear steroids were a huge part of the wrestling world at that time. Most believe McMahon, if not the driving force behind it, made the taking of steroids a completely acceptable habit. Ironically, it was one of the most talked about steroid users of that era — Hulk Hogan — who ruined the plaintiff's case and testified Vince did not actually distribute the steroids he and others were using. It seems quite ironic that Hogan was able to return so often to the WWE after doing such a solid for "Vinnie-Mac."
9 Has A History Of Hypocrisy Towards Talent He Likes and Talent He Doesn't
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you is a life lesson for any child. Unfortunately, Vince McMahon is a man who faxed a former WWE Superstar (CM Punk) his termination papers on his wedding day. He's a man who suspended and essentially buried WWE Superstar Titus O'Neil for playfully pulling him aside to make way for Stephanie McMahon while on a WWE stage — McMahon had a history of play wrestling with the talent he liked. He's also a boss who publicly said a performer like Cesaro didn't have the "it" factor thanks to his promo work. All the while, he pushed Roman Reigns to the moon despite his lack of competent skills on a microphone.
This was par for the course for McMahon who would do one thing and say another. Vince has had one man beat entire factions, he's dropped storylines and completely ignored logical continuity in writing and most importantly ignored the voice of the WWE Universe on many occasions despite being critical of other organizations doing the same.
8 Wrestled and Bullied His Own Kids in a Brutal Matches
I'm sure Shane and Stephanie want to urge their children to avoid bullying and avoid being bullied. No sane parent wants that for their kids. So the WWE's connection to the "Be a Star" campaign makes all the sense in the world. It promotes against bullying of any kind. Oddly enough, Vince McMahon has been one of the biggest bullies in the business.
He's gotten in heated exchanges with tv personalities like Bob Costas and he's gone overboard by pitting himself against his own kids in matches on WWE programming. Vince wrestled Stephanie in a brutal "I Quit" match and has had countless run-ins with his own son including sticking Shane in a match against The Undertaker to prove a point. He even went so far as to tell Shane on live television, "you have one last chance to avoid a f*&%ing beating." This is not exactly the anti-bullying type behavior you want to use as an example.
7 Made Out With Countless WWE Divas
Most parents want their kids to meet the right person, fall in love and start their own family. That dynamic doesn't often involve being a philanderer with countless women while married to your Grandma. Some men just haven't caught up to the times and Vince seems to be one of them having a history of treating women poorly. Unfortunately for McMahon, his on-camera antics and the countless women he made out with during WWE programming makes it clear his view of women as eye-candy and sexual play toys show he's really just using the opportunity as the boss to appear as a "chick-magnet."
To make matters worse, he's had women bark like a dog in the ring or had uncomfortable make-out sessions with Divas in front of a traumatized Linda McMahon. Linda may not care in real life, but it has to be one of the weaker signs that Vince likes to take advantage of the perks that come along with being the boss.
6 Hides the Crimes of His Employees
I suppose there is a difference between committing a crime and helping the wrongdoer hide the crime. Either way, both are terrible things to do and Vince has allegedly been accused of helping his workers hide more than one hideous act in his time.
In 2002, Steve Austin was arrested for beating his wife but it has been suggested Vince urged her to keep quiet so as not to ruin the momentum of the company's biggest star. Recently deceased performer Jimmy Snuka was charged with the third-degree murder of his wife in 1983. Snuka was seen as mentally unfit to stand trial, but Vince was allegedly complicit in helping Snuka out of his legal troubles at the time with a mysterious briefcase.
There are multiple instances of sexual harassment, drug-related charges and other criminal activity that has gone on with WWE performers and in some cases WWE Superstars have been released and in others Vince and company have looked the other way.
5 Cheated On His Wife
Teaching your grandkids and children to be faithful to the one you love seems like parenting 101. Yet, it would be challenging to make a list of all the times Vince McMahon cheated on his wife, whether that be in front of or behind the WWE cameras. Divas like Trish Stratus, Torrie Wilson, Dawn Marie, Candice Michelle, The Fabulous Moolah, Mae Young, Stacy Keibler and Sable just scrape the surface.
Vince also cheated on Linda while not playing a character on television. According to an infamous interview with Playboy magazine and interviews with Howard Stern, Vince was always open with Linda about his indiscretions. Apparently, Vince’s lack of being faithful is well behind the couple but it seems like an odd example to set when it comes to being a married couple.
4 Continued A PPV After A Wrestler Passed Away In The Ring
Sometimes it's better to teach young children that discretion is the better part of valour and that the show must not go on. An incident in which a wrestler dies on a live pay-per-view is likely reason to justify ending a broadcast, yet Vince didn't do so. Playing it off as if it was something Owen Hart would have wanted, Vince likely continued the broadcast after learning of Owen's death because shutting things down was probably bad for business.
This, of course, is speculation at best, but whether Owen would have wanted it or not, it was clearly the most uncomfortable spot to put both the WWE Superstars still scheduled to perform and the WWE audience who were on site when it happened.
3 Used the "N" Word On Television
If there's one thing Shane and Stephanie will want to teach their kids, is that there isn't ever an excuse to use the N-word. The fact that rappers all over the country seem to give the false sense that doing so is acceptable, it doesn't mean it is. It definitely isn't when you're the Chairman of a publicly owned company.
Yet, for some indescribable reason, Vince decided that during a live pay-per-view in 2005, he would do just that. Not only that, but he did so in front of two WWE Superstars of color in Booker T and Sharmell and asked them to act like it wasn't a big deal.
2 Treated Many Of His Friends Like Dog Crap
Jim Ross is/was arguably the best announcer ever to grace the WWE. Yet, during his employment under Vince McMahon, there are countless accounts of Vince treating his best announcer and talent scout like garbage.
Vince often embarrassed Ross, mocking him for his Bell’s palsy, imitating his colonoscopy, and forcing Ross to literally kiss his ass more than once. Actions then carried over into real life when McMahon fired Jim Ross for what appears to be no reason and pretended JR retired instead of being honest about it.
There is news that Ross will be back for WrestleMania 33 and with the recent passing of JR's wife, perhaps McMahon and Ross can patch things up, but McMahon has a storied history or having to make-up with former staff after treating them poorly.
1 The Storyline with a Fake Corpse
In 2002, one of the worst ideas ever to cross the WWE writers table was set into motion and became a reality on television. Triple H was feuding with Kane and during that rivalry, suggested Kane had murdered someone named Katie Vick. While the body Triple H was dragging around from week to week was clearly fake, one episode of Raw saw The Game decide to dress up as Kane, lay in a casket, grab the dummy and proceed to have sex with it.
I can't imagine a world where any parent would like to tell their children that Grandpa helped facilitate and approve such a terrible idea on his tv show. It was not only distasteful, but it was so far off the path of acceptable storytelling that it's seen as one of the most dreadful things the WWE and Vince has ever been a part of.