Vince McMahon is an intriguing figure in the world of professional wrestling, especially when it comes to his many public rifts. For years and years now the boss has been blowing up bridges left, right and centre, and sometimes not even Triple H is powerful enough to put them back together.
Still, you’ve got to appreciate what the man has done for the industry given how much World Wrestling Entertainment has grown in the last few decades. Sure, you can argue that his methods haven’t been great sometimes, which is the reason for many of the entrants on this list, but we have to question whether or not the feuds were worth the stress.
In the end, we’ll never get our answer, unless, of course Vince decides to do a more in-depth interview with Stone Cold on the network. Still, when it comes to this list a few of the names may surprise you and others may not – but bear in mind that we’re using the term "superstar" in a relatively loose sense.
So yeah, before the complaints roll in about the appearance of non-full-time performers: just let your mind drift back to Vince putting them in comedy matches and ask yourself whether their prior hatred for him is justified.
20 Jeff Jarrett
Jeff Jarrett was always known to be an average midcarder in WWE, only ever really managing to ascend to the heights of becoming Intercontinental Champion. The reasoning behind that was quite fair as Jeff never really stood out among WWE’s wealth of talent back in the day, so he decided to make a change in his career.
Jarrett went to WCW, but not before holding Vince up for a ludicrous amount of money. He threatened to take the IC Title with him over to World Championship Wrestling, forcing Vince’s hand in the process. In the present day he’s back in charge of Impact Wrestling, a.k.a. TNA, which is what we believe they call "karma."
19 Bret Hart
Bret “The Hitman” Hart truly is the best there was, the best there is and the best there ever will be. There’s almost no denying that and only a handful of superstars can claim to have been equally as or more popular than Hart throughout his career. Alas, all good things must come to an end – and for Bret it was a particularly brutal way to the exit the company.
To cut a long story short, the former champion was the prime victim of The Montreal Screwjob, which began a bitter rivalry between himself and Vince for many years. Nowadays, Bret doesn’t appear all too often on the weekly product after returning in 2010, and has actually landed himself in some hot water as of late with some controversial comments about several current superstars.
18 Rob Van Dam
RVD is one of the most underrated talents in the history of the industry, if only for his exemplary work in the ring and his overwhelming popularity outside of it. The Whole F’N Show always did know how to turn the crowd in his favour, but one man he never seemed to see eye to eye with was Vincent Kennedy McMahon.
In fact, the two almost had a fight due to their numerous issues. It probably didn’t help that RVD jeopardised his WWE and ECW Championship reigns after being caught in possession of marijuana, but the word on the street is that things are still a bit rocky to this day. RVD had another run in the company a few years back, but he’s mainly just working the indies these days as a semi-retired superstar.
17 Stone Cold Steve Austin
Stone Cold Steve Austin has never held back when it comes to letting people know what he thinks, which is probably why The Texas Rattlesnake is such a popular figure among fans both young and old. Unfortunately that decision got the better of him back in 2003, when Austin refused to lose to Brock Lesnar on an episode of SmackDown.
Stone Cold’s reasoning behind it was that he would have preferred the match to be built up over a long period of time, but Vince was eager to pull the trigger immediately. The two had quite the falling out with Austin taking his ball and going home, but these days he’s back making sporadic appearances for the company whilst also doing several Stone Cold Podcasts a week.
16 Bruno Sammartino
Bruno Sammartino was one of the biggest stars of his era, holding onto the WWF Championship for longer than any other man in the history of the business. Unfortunately for us all that’s not where the story ends, with Bruno eventually growing tired of what WWE had become whilst also blaming Vince for a number of high profile incidents and issues.
It seemed like there was no way the two could reconcile, that is, until Triple H came along. The Game assisted in mending the fence between the two legends, with Bruno going on to take his rightful place in the WWE Hall of Fame. He pops up every now and again, but given his advanced age, it’s unlikely we’ll see him anytime soon.
15 CM Punk
Dear oh deary me, we aren’t sure this one is ever going to be resolved. If you believe anything that CM Punk said on the Art of Wrestling podcast then it seems as if he and McMahon were quite close at one stage, but much like Bret Hart, things went south real quick. Seriously, the company is still feeling the effects to this day.
Given the amount of times that Vince has publicly bashed Punk through either firing him on his wedding day, or the times Stephanie has used his name as a tool to wind up the fans, it doesn’t seem as if he’ll be returning anytime soon. Punk is coming off the back of an MMA debut loss to Mickey Gall at UFC 203, with questions circulating over his future in the sport.
Some of you will only associate Nailz with controversy, and you’d be right to do so. The former prison convict character was only really notable for his feud with Big Boss Man, in addition to a nixed rivalry with The Undertaker. In terms of behind the scenes, however, he made quite the impact on the company.
Nailz supposedly got into a fight with McMahon backstage that saw him fired, before testifying in the 1994 steroid trial that almost brought the company to its knees. These days Nailz is happily retired, living with his family with whom he owns and runs a car garage. Moral of the story: don’t mess with Vinnie Mac.
Goldberg is one of the most influential superstars from the Monday Night Wars, with the former world champion being one of WCW’s only homegrown talents that really succeeded in the main event picture. He eventually came to WWE, before leaving alongside Brock Lesnar following their lacklustre bout at WrestleMania XX.
It’s been public knowledge amongst the internet wrestling community that Goldberg used to believe Triple H and Vince McMahon hated him, and for the most part that logic seemed to add up. But for whatever reason, he was invited back as of late and recently became WWE Universal Champion. Isn’t it funny how things work out sometimes?
12 Daniel Bryan
Just to clarify, we don’t think that Vince hated Daniel Bryan as a person – but instead as a character. You see, McMahon never really saw what everyone else did when it came to the leader of the Yes Movement and his global appeal. It was as if he was choosing to live in his own little word as opposed to listening to the fans: shocking, we know.
Bryan himself has claimed that he overheard a conversation during which, when Vince was in discussions regarding Bryan’s main event potential, he said “Him? He doesn’t even eat meat!” As we all know DB proved him wrong, going on to become the WWE World Heavyweight Champion at WrestleMania XXX. As of 2017, he’s currently the SD Live General Manager, however he’s currently taking time off to enjoy the perks of fatherhood.
Controversy wasn’t exactly something that followed Chyna around during her career, but after stepping away from the squared circle it seemed as if she couldn’t get away from it. The dominant former Women’s Champion was one of the most imposing female figures in the history of the business, and yet things never really worked out how many would’ve anticipated.
Due to issues surrounding her relationship with Triple H and allegations of him cheating on her with Stephanie, Chyna was supposedly exiled from the company. Vince grew to dislike her over time, with Chyna retaliating by challenging him to a fight. As we all know things ended in a tragic manner, with Chyna passing away last year. Hopefully her deserved HOF induction follows soon after.
10 Eric Bischoff
He wrestled Stone Cold back in early-2003 – it counts, people. Newer fans of WWE may not be aware of this, but Eric Bischoff spent the majority of the '90s attempting to put Vince McMahon out of business. As the leader of WCW, it seemed for a long time as if they’d succeed in becoming the number one pro wrestling promotion in the world.
Obviously, Vince hated Eric’s guts as he’s openly admitted on a number of occasions – but business comes before your feelings. McMahon hired Bischoff to be the general manager of Monday Night Raw, but more recently Eric has kept quiet in terms of being in the public eye. It’s a shame, too, because he’s still got that magic touch.
9 Shawn Michaels
The Heartbreak Kid, Shawn Michaels, is one of the most beloved figures to ever step foot in WWE, but during the early stages of his career he rubbed quite a few people the wrong way. Shawn had a drug problem, had a bad attitude, and pretty much thought that the entire world of professional wrestling revolved around him. Fact.
Upon taking four years off due to a severe back injury, Michaels found god and became a born-again Christian. He then returned to the business, having what can only be described as a truly legendary eight-year run that put him back in most people’s good books. He’s now happily retired, but we’re all secretly hoping for one more match.
8 Brock Lesnar
It may be hard to believe, but things weren’t always so rosy when it comes to the relationship between Vince McMahon and Brock Lesnar. After a strong debut year in the company, Brock began to grow tired of the travel during his first run in the business and soon looked for a way out. As we now all know, the company duly obliged.
That was, however, not before Lesnar put on one of the worst WrestleMania matches in history alongside Goldberg, before sticking his middle fingers up to the camera in what was later revealed to be a message to Vince. It seems as if time healed the wounds here, though, with Lesnar now reigning supreme as the WWE Universal Champion.
7 Jim Ross
Jim Ross is one of WWE’s greatest commentators, with the Oklahoma resident being the voice of the company for a long time. Despite this, it seems as if Ross and McMahon never saw eye to eye – with Vince mocking JR at every available opportunity. After a number of departures from the company, it all came to a head a few years back.
JR was fired after failing to control a panel during which Ric Flair was heavily intoxicated, which began a few years of exile from WWE. As of late he’s been getting involved with the company once again, even commentating on the main event of WrestleMania 33. From all of us here at TheSportster, it’s great to have you back, old friend.
6 Lex Luger
Lex Luger was being groomed for success in WWE, with Vince positioning him to be the next Hulk Hogan. The Lex Express was gaining some momentum but not enough to warrant a full time position in the main event, with Lex not being trusted to carry the WWF Championship. As a result, things slowly began to break down for the newly-anointed "American hero."
He essentially betrayed the company by making the jump over to WCW's Monday Nitro, and it's hardly surprising to know that Vince never really forgave him for that. In the present day he rarely appears in the public eye, with WWE not really seeing much stock in bringing him back for one-off appearances.
The Big Guy, Ryback was, much like Lex Luger, being positioned for a long run at the top in WWE. The one difference between the two men, however, was that Ryback was actually over with the crowd, and in late-2012, he genuinely seemed like the next big thing. That was, until, a string of bad booking decisions derailed his momentum.
Ryback eventually left the company in 2016, going on to talk trash about everyone in WWE from head to toe. We’re confident in saying that Vince would happily never see this guy again, with the former Intercontinental Champion now focusing on creating controversial content for his podcast. Good for him, we guess?
4 Vince Russo
Oh Vince, why did you have to make yourself the WCW Champion. Many people credit Russo with creating some of the best characters from the Attitude Era, but he was also known for being one of the big factors behind World Championship Wrestling’s downfall. In short, his tenure in pro wrestling has been quite mixed to say the least.
Vince (McMahon) always had him on a short leash which is probably why he was able to find success in WWE, but elsewhere he didn’t stand a chance on his own. Currently, he’s attempting to claw his way back to relevancy through his own podcast – which isn’t going so well. Keep the sexist comments to yourself, Russo.
3 Ultimate Warrior
It’s hard not to love The Ultimate Warrior’s work from back in the day, because the guy was just so unbelievably insane that it made for entertaining viewing. The former world champion wasn’t so much portraying a character as he was portraying a version of himself, just turned up to the maximum possible level.
He and Vince had several issues over the years, which included Warrior holding Vince up for money, but they managed to resolve their issues in time for Warrior to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2014. Unfortunately, Warrior passed away a few days later from a sudden heart attack. Life can be cruel sometimes, kids.
2 Randy Savage
We all loved the Macho Man growing up, and there’s a reason for that – he’s one of the best superstars in the history of this industry. The multi-talented showman always knew how to entertain the fans, with many arguing that he’s the most-often imitated superstar of the last few decades. In all honesty, that’s probably true.
Alas, we don’t know the full reasoning behind his exit from the company, but many have speculated that it’s due to a supposed incident involving a teenage Stephanie McMahon. Vince never forgave Savage for whatever it is he did, with the legend passing away a few years back before being rightfully inducted into the Hall of Fame.
1 Hulk Hogan
The Hulkster is undoubtedly one of the biggest names in the history of professional wrestling, and some may argue that he stands alone at the top of that pedestal. Alas, nothing lasts forever and Hulk’s dramatic fall from grace has been well documented over the last few years – and when we say fall from grace, it’s not even his first indiscretion.
Vince grew a burning hatred for Hulk after he split and went to WCW back in the '90s, with the two not speaking for many years as reported by several news sources. They seem to have reconciled somewhat, but in the present day Hogan is still barred from the company after a sex tape leaked that showed the former World Champion making some questionable comments.