As soon as she was dubbed the Billion Dollar Princess and treated the name like it was a good thing, Stephanie McMahon ensured fans of her father’s company would never quite accept her. There’s an inherently elite pretentiousness attached to proudly boasting about your family being rich, and not only has Stephanie nicknamed herself after the fact, but she’s also spent her entire career reminding people about it. Rather than try and rehab her image, Stephanie has dug deeper and deeper into this perception on screen, using the fact fans hate her to the company’s advantage by leading The Authority. While it might work for Stephanie to be a villain on camera, the fact remains fans that don’t like her real personality, either.
Stephanie has repeatedly expressed opinions during non-WWE interviews implying the most reprehensible aspects of her character are entirely true to life, including her egomania, familial/self-aggrandizing, and most infamously her feeling that Triple H is a much, much better wrestler than he actually is. Granted, in most cases, these would all be understandable qualities for any ambitious businesswoman or wrestler, yet the fact she’s achieved everything through who her father is instead of by hard work hinders any accomplishments she may have made, leaving her no more than a loud bully who won’t get off our TVs. In honor of the gesture she’s referred to as her “finishing move,” keep reading to remember 15 times WWE fans wanted to slap Stephanie McMahon.
15 Her WWE Debut And Subsequent Awful Acting
Long before she was the Vice President of Creative and Chief Branding Officer of WWE, Stephanie McMahon started her career in her father’s company modeling wrestling related clothing. Perhaps the most notable of her many promotions and additional job titles over the years has been Stephanie’s time as an on-screen performer, which began in early 1999. From day one, it was pretty clear Stephanie had none of her father Vince’s bombastic gravitas, nor her brother Shane’s daredevil tendencies. She was also the worst actor of the bunch, although that distinction would soon fall on her mother, Linda. Though she’s gradually become at least a decent performer in general, those early days were extremely rough, featuring Stephanie constantly looking confused as she struggled to show emotions and remember her lines at the same time. It was already clear she only had the position she did because of her family, and that was back before she had any power.
14 The Heel Turn That Changed History
Several months into her WWE career, Stephanie McMahon was kidnapped and sexually assaulted by Triple H. Fans know this because he filmed it and then bragged about it during her planned wedding with Test. Three more months later, and Steph apparently let bygones be bygones, turning on her father at Armageddon 1999 to join her husband/abuser and form the McMahon-Helmsley Regime. Fans already hated Stephanie for her terrible acting as a babyface, and though that wouldn’t change now that she was a heel, at least booing her was appropriate to the storyline. At this point, fans regularly started booing Stephanie so loudly that her poor acting jobs weren’t even particularly noticeable, making the first few months of her heel turn arguably the best of her career. Of course, had fans known that her character and the prevailing WWE storyline would essentially remain the same for over a decade, they would have booed for an entirely different reason.
13 Winning The Women’s Championship And Never Defending It
Days before WrestleMania 2000, Stephanie once again followed in her brother and father’s footsteps by becoming the third McMahon to win a WWE championship. Naturally, Stephanie won the Women’s title, defeating future WWE Hall of Famer Jacqueline on an episode of SmackDown with the help of Tori and D-X. Triple H was also the WWE Champion at the time, making them the only husband and wife duo to hold these belts at the same time. As though the whole thing didn’t reek of nepotism from the word go, Stephanie made matters worse by defending the title a whooping three times in the five months she was champion. All of the defenses were against the same woman, Lita, the first two lasting less than 90 seconds combined. Granted, there weren’t many women in the company during this era, yet perhaps Stephanie could have thrown her gender a bone and hired a few challengers for her belt.
12 Changing The Way Wrestling Was Written
As her role on camera gradually grew larger and more important, off-screen, Stephanie started her climb up the corporate ladder, soon becoming the Director of Creative Writing. She replaced the much lauded Chris Kreski in the role, and like Kreski, has relied on heavily scripted segments and long term storytelling. Unlike Kreski, she doesn’t do all the storyboarding herself and instead hires countless low level writers, all of whom are pretty much pointless, since their ideas always vetoed by Steph and her father. It would be one thing if this was business as usual, but it patently wasn’t—up until recently, “writers” in wrestling barely existed, and they certainly didn’t script out every segment word for word. Is Kreski to blame for introducing the practice, or is Stephanie at fault for letting it grow out of control and then keeping it going all these years? There’s no clear answer, but given the fact Kreski is highly respected and Stephanie isn’t, it’s not hard to guess who most fans think messed things up.
11 Becoming The “Owner” of ECW
More than 16 years after it took place, wrestling fans still talk about the unforgettable ending to WCW Monday Nitro’s final episode. Vince McMahon entered the ring on Raw and declared he purchased Ted Turner’s rival wrestling promotion, only for Shane McMahon to interrupt him from live in Panama City to announce he snatched the company out from under Vince’s nose. It was shocking, brilliant, and lead way to countless opportunities for WWE in the subsequent months. Not long after that, ECW joined the mix on an episode of Raw, revealing Stephanie McMahon as the new Queen of Extreme at the end of that same night. Unlike the reveal of Shane owning Nitro, fans were less than enthused about Stephanie buying ECW, to say the least. It was equally shocking, but not in a good, cool way. It was more of a weird, confusing way, instantly derailing one of the cooler twists of the Invasion mere hours after it happened.
10 Her Initial Run As The SmackDown General Manager
Once the Invasion was said and done, Stephanie had no reason to stay on WWE television, at least until Triple H made his return a mere two months later. Stephanie naturally returned with him, although a breakup angle soon followed and the two then spent a few months feuding. The program ended when fans were promised Stephanie would leave WWE after losing a match to her on-screen ex, and yet she showed up again barely over four months after that, announced as the inaugural General Manager of SmackDown. Amazingly, Stephanie was more pretentious and self serving in this role than anything else she had done thus far, constantly making herself the all-knowing unbeatable hero in the war between Raw and SmackDown. Sometimes Stephanie was a heel, and sometimes she was a face, but she was never, ever wrong, nor did any wrestler ever get an advantage over her. It took no time at all for this practice to become seriously annoying, and all fans could do was get used to it.
9 Calling Daniel Bryan A B+ Player
Heels say all sorts of outlandish things all the time, and close readers have no doubt noticed this list isn’t really about what Stephanie does in kayfabe. Like the other in-character moments we’ve already mentioned, the problem with Stephanie calling Daniel Bryan a B+ player who wasn’t worthy of main events wasn’t that her character said it. The issue was that all reports indicated she and her father genuinely believed it, and were using her character as a conduit to convince fans they were right. Obviously, the people in charge are allowed to judge their talent however they see fit, but when they have arena after arena telling them they’re wrong, which happened with Bryan, they might want to reconsider. Not the McMahon family, though, always choosing to double down in the face of adversity, only serving to make people want to slap them more.
8 Every Time She Takes Credit For The Women’s Revolution
Despite all the negative criticisms levied against modern day WWE television, one area the company has been progressing in has been the treatment of female talent. Of course, they can’t let something like this occur naturally without making constant references to it, hence the term “Women’s Revolution” getting used to describe something that should have been an industry standard decades ago. In any event, there are countless people who deserve credit for this shift in perception, most importantly the female wrestlers giving the performances of a lifetime and proving women have deserved this opportunities all along. If you were to ask Stephanie who was responsible, however, in order, she would say Triple H, herself and other executives, and then the fans, the female wrestlers not even making the list. At least that’s how she answered Elle Duncan on SportsCenter, although she tried to frame it like her last answer was more important than her first two. The truth is, giving herself and her husband credit at all is ridiculous.
7 Booking Herself Above All The Female Wrestlers
No one is happy with Stephanie taking credit for the women’s revolution, and her giving it to her husband is arguably even worse, yet neither come close to the problem that unfolds every time one of them gets near the division on screen. Luckily, Triple H has almost no logical reason to interact with any of the female talent, but Stephanie has most certainly found every reason possible to do so. Whenever she gets to share the screen with her female employees, Stephanie presents a master class in posturing, broadening her shoulders and physically looking down at every single woman she sees. It would be one thing if her strong, athletic underlings ever fought back, but they don’t, too terrified of her intimidation tactics to dare retaliate. For a second there, it seemed like Brie Bella might stop the trend, only for Stephanie to summarily destroy Brie and her sister both in a single segment. And she didn’t stop there…
6 Booking Herself Above All The Male Wrestlers
Look, we get it. Stephanie McMahon is the most powerful woman in a male dominated industry, and the pressure on her to live up to her father is astronomical. That this has in turn made her a bit insecure is completely understandable, and we’ll even go so far as to say she probably deserves more credit than she gets for some of the backstage stuff this list won’t cover. However, that doesn’t justify the fact she’s slapped just about every male talent across the face with absolutely no retribution. Of course, the company faces a huge problem here in that man against woman violence should never be celebrated in any circumstances, even if the men are getting revenge on an abusive boss. The solution, then, would be for Stephanie to stop slapping the man, talking down to them, and generally treated people who aren’t related to her like garbage.
5 Saying The Slap Was Her Finishing Maneuver
Since the name of this list relates to fans wanting to slap Stephanie McMahon, it might be time we took a step back and explained why that is. No, we’re not advocating violence against women, and no one male or female should actually go out and hurt her in anyway. The terminology of a slap is solely relevant because Stephanie called it her “finishing maneuver” in a controversial Tweet, and had been treating it as such as television since well before then. The reason fans were so outraged is that a so-called finishing maneuver is supposed to be devastating, unstoppable, and a literally match ending move that all opponents should fear. Getting slapped across the face, even by your boss, is none of these things. Finishing maneuvers are also supposed to make both the wrestler using it and the wrestler that gets hit by it look strong, and while the former is accomplished by the slap, the exact opposite occurs with the ladder. Just about everyone who has been slapped is worse off for it, both in their careers and kayfabe, and it’s almost offensive their boss would laugh about it online.
4 Burying The Entire Roster In One Promo
So, Stephanie postures herself above the female talent, talks down to the male talent, and slaps the shit out of them both. How can it possibly get worse than that? Well, look no further than the USA Network promos advertising that SmackDown was going live, featuring The Authority dismissing the ideas of virtually every wrestler on the roster one by one. Sure, it was just a joke, and the gag was that none of the wrestler’s ideas on how to improve SmackDown were particularly good, but the underlying message was loud and clear. None of the people The Authority hire are funny, creative, talented, or even able to promote themselves, they need Triple H and Stephanie to do it all for them. Without their guiding light, the WWE superstars would be completely lost, and all related programming could well be canceled were Steph and HHH not there to right the wrongs. if you don’t want to slap them both after that, you must not like wrestling.
3 Whatever The Hell Her WrestleMania 32 Promo Was
Certain moments in wrestling are so uniquely bizarre they defy simple explanation, such as Stephanie’s absurd speech immediately prior to the WrestleMania 32 main event. With her husband about to defend the WWE Championship against the most hated babyface in company history, Stephanie gave a screeching diatribe about how the fans would never get what they wanted, but she and her family always would. Accurate though that statement may have been, especially in terms of the match they were about to see, that didn’t change the fact it was a horrible, distracting microcosm of the many reasons she was singlehandedly killing WWE television. Everything we just covered about Stephanie putting herself over the entire roster was on display, and she waited for the most watched match of the year to make sure everyone saw her brag about it. That her tendencies somehow only got worse from there turned the speech into a terrifying warning, leaving us to shudder at the thought of what she might say this year.
2 Forever Tainting WWE’s Charity Efforts
Everything on this list is pretty bad, but now we’re getting into the real nitty gritty of why Stephanie McMahon is a bad person and worse executive. The Chief Brand Officer of WWE, the person more responsible than anyone else for how WWE is perceived by the public, once Tweeted the following: “philanthropy is the future of marketing, it’s the way brands r going 2 win” [sic]. She was quoting Biz Stone, one of Twitter’s co-founders, and in layman’s terms, what she was saying is that nothing WWE does for charity is out of the kindness of their hearts, it’s solely for publicity. The Warrior Award, Susan G. Komen stuff, Connor’s Cure, any efforts at Being A Star—there is no genuine desire to do good in any of these junctures, all Stephanie cares about is the fact they make her company slightly more famous in the process. Don’t get us wrong, a good majority of the wrestlers who involve themselves with these charities probably do indeed care, but the McMahons and Stephanie specifically? She openly told us they don’t.
1 The Time She Made 9/11 All About Her
All right, that Stephanie McMahon quote about charity probably has most rational people’s blood boiling, and if you don’t want to slap her by now, chances are you’ll never be convinced. Unless, that is, you’re an American, or simply respect the concept of American life, in which case there’s still one more unforgivable episode to unpack. Take a trip back to September 13, 2001, two days after the biggest tragedy on American soil in decades, maybe ever. WWE defiantly holds a live edition of SmackDown, opened with the National Anthem and featuring countless superstars giving their thoughts on patriotism and what the country means to them as the night went on. Except Stephanie McMahon, who used her brief editorial to talk about how this one time the IRS thought her dad didn’t pay his taxes, and the McMahon’s survived, so she figured America would probably survive, too. We’re paraphrasing, but not by much. If anything, our version was too wordy, as Steph didn’t actually spend that much time talking about America. Point is, whether you happen to be an American yourself or not, the McMahon family was probably the last thing on your mind in September of 2001, and the fact Stephanie didn’t realize that was without a doubt the most self-centered action ever to take place in WWE.
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