Vince McMahon is the greatest mind to ever grace the wrestling business: there's really no disputing it. He's also a loving father and family man (most of the time). He's extremely dedicated to the WWE and building his brand and his reputation is that he's loyal to his friends, his favourite employees and he's willing to forgive almost anything if it's good for business. There are times that most of us wouldn't be able to do what Vince has done. When Hogan left and joined WCW, he almost put the WWE out of business. Still, Vince welcomed him back. When Eric Bischoff tried to put the WWE under, Vince hired him after WCW closed its doors. If CM Punk wanted back — even after all the nasty things that have been said — Vince would probably take him if it meant a good show and profit for the company.
But, every once and a while, someone does something that really gets under Vince's skin. Some instances were so bad that Vince has never forgiven or forgotten those moments where he believed he was wronged. The shoe has also been on the other foot, as Vince is no angel either. Having been known to be a tad unethical in terms of his business practices, you could say Vince often created his own karma. The saying goes, "do unto others as you would have them do unto you". Well, Vince has definitely seen the door swing both ways. While we couldn't list them all, we've noted 15 times Vince either laid the SmackDown on employees or the employees hit Vince right where it hurts. It's not always a one-for-one trade, but in some cases it sure feels like it.
These are 8 Times Vince McMahon Laid The SmackDown On Employees (And 7 Where They Got Revenge).
15 Laid the SmackDown - Bret Hart in Montreal
This is probably Vince's most famous SmackDown incident of all time. When Bret Hart decided that he didn't want to lose his WWE Title in Canada to Shawn Michaels, he refused to put Michaels over. Concerned that Bret wouldn't keep his word and give up the belt after the fact, Vince concocted a scheme in which he'd make Bret believe the ending to his match in Montreal would finish one way, but the referee, Michaels, and Vince knew otherwise.
It was the most embarrassing moment in Bret Hart's career and while he's been back in the WWE since you can tell there is still a part of that event that eats Bret from the inside. Hart went on to flounder in WCW and Vince went on to become the biggest heel in wrestling. It was an unceremonious way to thank Bret for all he'd done for the WWE up to that point.
14 Got Revenge - Lesnar Became UFC Champion
During his first run in the WWE, Brock Lesnar was being pushed as a monster. He was virtually unbeatable and Vince had plans to put the company on Brock's back and run with him as its star. The only problem was, Brock hated the travel that came with being in the WWE full-time, so he quit. People thought Lesnar was crazy, including Vince. Lesnar wanted to try his hand at professional football and the WWE laughed off the idea. Then he wanted to crossover into mixed martial arts (something that hadn't really been done successfully before.) Again, WWE figured he'd come crawling back.
When Lesnar won the UFC Heavyweight Championship, he no longer needed wrestling. Vince ended up having to pay Lesnar one of the largest contracts for the least amount of work in WWE history. Lesnar is still making bank on this deal and using UFC as leverage.
13 Laid the SmackDown - Burying Zack Ryder After Becoming Internet Star
Sometimes wrestlers don't get over with an audience unless the WWE puts the full weight of their marketing department behind it. Sometimes, even then, it doesn't help. Every once in a while, a WWE Superstar comes along who gets over without any help. In the case of Zack Ryder, he got popular after the WWE basically set him aside.
Using the Internet and social media to crown himself the Internet Champion, Ryder became hugely popular with the WWE Universe. All the while, he showed the WWE that using social media was the way of the future. As a thank you, WWE promoted Ryder for all of five minutes and again buried him by jobbing him out to every other superstar on the roster. He's still employed, but today the WWE has one of the biggest online social media presence's in the world and Ryder is an enhancement talent.
12 Got Revenge - Jeff Jarrett Held Up WWE
Vince is not perfect. He does make mistakes and one of those mistakes was not realizing that Jeff Jarrett's contract was expiring while Jarrett was currently the WWE's Intercontinental Champion. Ever willing to seize the opportunity, Jarrett held up McMahon for hundreds of thousands of dollars in order for him not to jump ship with the title and go to another promotion (namely WCW).
Having already seen the buzz WCW created when Alundra Blayze threw the Women's Title in the trash on Nitro and seeing how much impact the Scott Hall and Kevin Nash defections hurt the WWE, Vince caved and paid Jarrett to drop the title to Chyna. Since that day, Vince has never forgotten what Jeff did and when WCW was eventually purchased by the WWE, Vince actually singled-out Jarrett on TV as a performer who would never be hired back.
11 Laid the SmackDown - Daniel Bryan Fired For Choking Announcer
The Nexus was set to be a huge stable in the WWE. It consisted of prospect wrestlers who had just been a part of the first season of NXT and it included names like Ryback, Daniel Bryan, Wade Barrett and Heath Slater. They attacked John Cena in the ring on Raw one night and in doing so, Daniel Bryan got carried away and used a tie to choke WWE announcer Justin Roberts.
The WWE had just enforced a rule that choking was banned on WWE television, only nobody knew the rule existed. Daniel Bryan was terminated for his role in the attack and one of the hottest angles on the show had a cloud hanging over it. Vince merely said, "it was out of his hands" and Bryan should have known better.
10 Got Revenge - Bryan Became A Hugely Popular Star
Eventually, Daniel Bryan was brought back after some time had passed following the choking incident. For a while he floundered as a smaller guy, but momentum began to build. Largely ignored and written off by many in the WWE, Bryan's talents couldn't be ignored and the WWE Universe got squarely behind him. He became so popular that it required changing the main event of WrestleMania XXX.
WWE had paid big bucks to Batista to return to the WWE and be in that spot. He'd won the Royal Rumble and was going to face Randy Orton. The only problem was, not a single fan wanted Batista there, they wanted Bryan. Bryan went on to win the main event, Batista went on to leave the WWE and Vince was made to look silly having once fired such a talented wrestler over such a silly rule nobody knew about.
9 Laid the SmackDown - Gave Dusty Rhodes Polka Dots
Dusty Rhodes was a huge star in WCW and the NWA, having classic feuds with wrestlers like Ric Flair. When his time under Jim Crockett had ended, he came to the WWE. It seemed like a natural thing to do. Why wouldn't the WWE want one of the hottest stars outside the company to come wrestle for them? That's not exactly how Vince saw it. Whether it was in an attempt to humiliate the "American Dream" or Vince believed it was a gimmick that would actually work, Vince put him in polka dots.
The polka dots were never supposed to work. Even Dusty Rhodes was shocked and Vince's response was, ' hey, you're the great Dusty Rhodes! Who else can I put in this kind of gear and make it successful?' It was a shot to Dusty's hard-working man persona and Vince even saddled him with a valet named Sapphire. It was meant to mock him but Rhodes made the best of it.
8 Got Revenge - Mizdow Got Over
Damien Sandow was brought into the WWE as an upper-class, snobbish and intelligent know-it-all who turned up his nose at the WWE Universe and the other wrestlers. The gimmick wasn't original, but it had worked before so it made sense it might work again. Sandow did fine with it, but eventually, the WWE pushed him aside as they do with many mid-card talents. The writers gave Sandow terrible gimmick after gimmick until finally he was teamed with The Miz as his WWE stunt double.
There's no reason this character should have worked, but Sandow called himself Mizdow and started repeating the moves outside the ring that The Miz was doing inside. It was some of the funniest stuff on WWE programming. The Mizdow character became one of the most popular characters on WWE tv and should have been in line for a push until Vince got the last laugh and released him.
7 Laid the SmackDown - Triple H Lost King of the Ring Push
The infamous "Curtain Call" changed the way fans viewed wrestling and how Vince described his product. No longer a "wrestling show" that tried to hide the entertainment portion of the product, Vince admitted that WWE was scripted. He only had to do this because Shawn Michaels, Scott Hall, Kevin Nash and Triple H went out in front of a live crowd and embraced after a match (not all the characters were friends in the storyline) and Vince was not happy about it.
Triple H was punished and instantly lost his push. He was pulled from the 1996 King of the Ring finals and replaced by Steve Austin. Triple H was next in line to receive a title and a huge run as a made man. It took a long time of Triple H eating dirt and starting over from scratch before he was ever given another opportunity like that.
6 Got Revenge - Triple H Next In Line To Take Over The Company
Triple H took his punishment like a man. After all, what was he to do? Kevin Nash and Scott Hall were gone, Michaels was injured and X-Pac didn't go to the ring. While it took a while for "The Game" to get back into the mix, Triple H eventually started to see Stephanie McMahon outside the ring. They hid the relationship from Vince for a while but after he found out and had no choice but to give his blessing, Triple H began plotting a course toward management.
Today, he is one of the highest-ranking officials in WWE and is being groomed to take over the company when Vince finally leaves. Triple H married Stephanie and has become the second most powerful force behind what we see on television.
5 Laid the SmackDown - Self Destruction of Ultimate Warrior
The Ultimate Warrior had a way of getting under the skin of the people he worked with. He was a victim of his own success in that he believed he was the biggest thing in wrestling and that the rules didn't apply to him because the fans loved him. Thinking he was a bigger draw than Hulk Hogan, he held up Vince McMahon for money or he refused to go out and wrestle on a pay-per-view for which he was already promoted.
Feeling like he had no choice, Vince caved and agreed to pay Warrior. Immediately after the event, Warrior was fired and the WWE produced a DVD some years later chronicling how insane Warrior was. They made fun of him, called him a figment of his own imagination and basically ran his reputation through the mud.
4 Got Revenge - Randy Savage Leaves for WCW
When the WWE decided to move to a younger group of wrestling talent, The "Macho Man" Randy Savage was sort of left hanging. Still highly capable as a wrestler and still wanting to work in the WWE, Vince had relegated Savage to an announcers job. Some believed it was less about his age, but more due to rumours that Savage had a relationship with Stephanie McMahon.
Not ready to hang up the boots, Savage decided to not renew his contract with the WWE and took an offer for huge money as a wrestler for WCW under Eric Bischoff. He was one of the driving forces that changed the tide and swung audiences toward WCW. He wrestled for many years and was partially responsible for guys like Nash and Hall leaving WWE when they were the ones Vince wanted to run with instead of Savage in the first place.
3 Laid the SmackDown - Shafted The WCW Guys
When the WCW finally folded, Vince was there to pick up the pieces. Buying the company for pennies on the dollar, Vince really only wanted the WCW library. After all, most of the wrestlers were still under guaranteed contracts and not willing to forego that money to come work for Vince.
So, Vince bought WCW, brought in some of the guys he thought he could make future stars out of and shafted the rest. Wrestlers like Buff Bagwell, Diamond Dallas Page and others were brought in under terrible circumstances, booked to lose or look foolish and it basically made it impossible for them to get over. Some viewed it as Vince not knowing what to do with the WCW guys while others called it Vince getting even for being part of what almost took down the WWE.
2 Got Revenge - Nash and Hall Went On To Be Huge Stars
WWE was pushing Kevin Nash and Scott Hall as big-time players in the WWE. When their contracts came due, WCW got wind that they could be available and made a play for them. Both wrestlers wanted to stay, but Vince refused to match WCW's offer or the work schedule and both jumped ship. Thinking it wasn't a huge loss, Vince figured he could just repackage their gimmicks, and create new Diesel and Razor Ramon characters. Most believed this was a spoof, but some think McMahon actually thought it would fly like when an actor is simply replaced on a soap opera.
It didn't fly and Nash and Hall went on to become two of the WCW's biggest stars. They made huge money and held countless titles. Vince's version of the characters disappeared and were laughed out of the WWE.
1 Laid the SmackDown - Stone Cold Fined For Walking Off
Vince McMahon wanted Stone Cold Steve Austin to wrestle Brock Lesnar in a non-advertised match on television. Austin thought it was a terrible idea and instead of doing the job or expressing his opinion and talking Vince out of it, he packed up his things and went home.
Vince immediately came out on Raw and publicly criticized Austin for ditching the WWE and its fans. Stone Cold calls it one of the dumbest things he ever did and when it came time to come back and the WWE and Austin sat down to do business again, Vince said, 'well, I have to fine ya you know'. Austin said, 'ok, how much?' and Vince said '$650,000.' The fine was reduced to $250,000 but that was still a huge chunk of change for Austin who had already lost a great deal of money being out for months.