The real-life personalities of the McMahon family remain among the biggest mysteries in wrestling. Vince McMahon has always been a fascinating figure considering he has been running WWE for many decades now. The appearances of Shane McMahon and Stephanie McMahon as on-screen characters showed that Vince had high hopes for them being fixtures in the business. Stephanie is now slated to succeed Vince with her husband Triple H as they already hold powerful positions in WWE. Shane is back as the on-screen SmackDown Commissioner and is still enjoying the wrestling life.
We'll look at some moments where various members of the McMahon have shown their human side. All are known for being business oriented and putting that side above their emotions. However, there have been memorable occasions of Vince, Shane, Stephanie and Triple H showing their joy or pain about certain wrestling moments that became very real. The wrestling business has the knack for making you feel real emotions about scripted content and that extends to the most powerful people in the industry as well. Find out if the McMahon’s shared similar emotions with you when it went down. These are fifteen emotional real-life moments involving the McMahon family behind the scenes.
15 Vince & Shane After His Match Against The Undertaker
A rare moment of Vince McMahon being filmed at his most emotional state took place at WrestleMania 32. It was the highest attended show in WWE history, and Vince got to see his son Shane McMahon perform for the first time in many years. Shane decided it was time to return to WWE after almost seven years away from the wrestling business.
WWE 24 cameras caught Vince full of pride and joy after Shane faced The Undertaker in a Hell in a Cell match. Vince hugged Shane and had tears in his eyes. There’s a realistic chance that Vince believed he would never get to see his son back in the family business again after he went away to start his own career. It was nothing but love and joy on the face of Vince when Shane had his first match back.
14 Triple H & Stephanie Congratulate Seth Rollins At WrestleMania 31
The ending to WrestleMania 31 will always go down among the most exciting moments in WWE history. Seth Rollins cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase to defeat Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar at the end of their match. Fans were shocked and full of joy when getting the biggest swerve ever to end a WrestleMania main event.
WWE cameras captured film and photos of Rollins getting backstage after the biggest moment of his career. Rollins’ on-screen and off-screen mentor Triple H embraced him in a very emotional moment. Both guys were full of emotions as they each had something to be proud of. Rollins obviously accomplished a lifelong dream, and Triple H saw one of his first NXT projects conquer the wrestling world.
13 Stephanie Embraces Daughters After Her Big Win
Stephanie McMahon has only wrestled one match over the past fourteen years. It took place at SummerSlam 2014 when she defeated Brie Bella in a high-profile match after months of build. Stephanie was never involved in grueling matches like Vince and Shane in the Attitude Era. That made it surprising when she returned to have a legitimate match with Brie pulling off moves she’s never done before.
The goal of Stephanie was to be a competent performer and put on a good show when it came to the overall presentation. However, a bigger personal goal was to perform in front of her children for the first time. Stephanie’s three daughters were sitting ringside for SummerSlam and enjoyed seeing their mom wrestle. Following the win, Stephanie broke character to hug her daughters and give them a kiss
12 John Cena and Nikki Bella's Engagement
The happiness of Vince McMahon for this moment didn’t have anything to do with him. WWE 24 showed us a glimpse of Vince having joy when it came to the happiness of others. John Cena made the decision to propose to Nikki Bella after years of dating at WrestleMania 33. This came after various comments of Cena declared he would never get married again after his first divorce.
Nikki revealed in interviews following the event that Vince was the only person backstage to know about it before it happened. WWE 24’s special about WrestleMania 33 recently showed the footage of Vince embracing them with a huge smile on his face. Cena is clearly one of Vince’s all-time favorite performers after a decade run as the face of WWE. The big moment for Cena and Nikki showed Vince having strong excitement.
11 Triple H Reacts to Bayley vs Sasha NXT Match
The creative vision of Triple H has been shown with the rise of NXT in recent years. Triple H received full control of having his own developmental brand and made it a hot commodity. NXT allowed independent wrestlers to show their worth in getting to prominent roles on the main roster. Another groundbreaking change was the women’s division being treated with complete respect.
Bayley and Sasha Banks proved what the ladies could do if the person in charge allowed them to have a main event level match. Both ladies gave it their all at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn and gave us all a classic match for the ages. Triple H had tears in his eyes when picking them both up in the air for a big hug. Stephanie was shown being emotional as well as everyone in gorilla position lost their minds watching the great match unfold.
10 Vince Makes Peace With Kurt Angle
A forgotten piece of drama in WWE featured the controversial departure of Kurt Angle in 2006. Angle butted heads with Vince McMahon and other people backstage regarding his pill addiction issues. WWE wanted Angle to go to rehab as he was reaching dangerous levels, but the mentality of Angle was to keep working. It ultimately led to him getting released to head to Impact Wrestling.
Angle cleaned up his act and went on the record about wanting to make peace with Vince in a return to WWE. We saw it finally happen in 2017 when Angle was the headliner of the Hall of Fame class before WrestleMania 33. WWE 24 did a special on his return and filmed a real moment of him meeting Vince in his office for the first time in over a decade. Vince got very emotional hugging Angle and demanded the cameras leave the room. There were likely many tears being flowed behind the closed door.
9 Kevin Owens Thanks Triple H Following Universal Championship Win
Triple H has developed close relationships with many of today’s WWE Superstars. This is due to working closely with them in NXT. Triple H has been the man running NXT since he started the project. Wrestlers such as Finn Balor, Sami Zayn, Bayley and Asuka received important pieces of advice from Triple H on how to thrive in the WWE landscape.
Kevin Owens may be the wrestler to benefit most from working with Triple H. The NXT run of Owens was one of the shortest as he made his way to the main roster within six months of NXT TV time. Triple H turning on Seth Rollins allowed Owens to pick up a victory and win his first-ever Universal Championship. Owens thanked Triple H in the ring and later in the back. It was an emotional moment for Triple H seeing one of the wrestlers he hired and vouched for reaching the top of the mountain.
8 Vince McMahon Crying After Giving Shawn Michaels his HOF Ring
Vince McMahon clearly doesn’t like to show his emotional state when the cameras are around. That makes it even more shocking to see footage like the time when he presented Shawn Michaels with his WWE Hall of Fame ring. Michaels entered the 2011 Hall of Fame after his legendary WWE career officially ended the year prior.
McMahon and Michaels had a close relationship through the years. Michaels was one of the biggest jerks in WWE during the 90s, but McMahon stuck it out with him believing in his talent. The road to cleaning up his life led Michaels back for a run of redemption in the 2000s. McMahon showed his emotions for Michaels giving him an iconic career as well as growing into the performer and man he always expected.
7 Vince Reacting To The Undertaker Collapsing Backstage
A bittersweet moment for Vince McMahon took place at WrestleMania XXX when The Undertaker’s undefeated WM steak ended at the hands of Brock Lesnar. The match not only hurt the fans of Undertaker, but he collapsed when getting backstage. Undertaker took a few hard hits during the match and was unable to stand on his own afterwards.
WWE did not air footage of this reportedly due to Vince flat out not wanting fans to see Undertaker in such a weak state. Audio played of Vince screaming in panic to get some help over for Undertaker’s well-being. Vince apparently left before the show ended in an ambulance with Undertaker to make sure he was going to be okay. We'll likely never hear Vince express such painful emotions again like the audio of his feelings during this moment.
6 Vince Congratulates The Miz After WWE Championship Win
A surprising moment of emotion came in a video released about The Miz winning his first WWE Championship back in 2010. Miz used his Money in the Bank briefcase to cash in on a weak Randy Orton and captured the biggest prize in WWE. Most people would have laughed in your face if you told them Miz would ever become a World Champion after seeing his first few years in the company.
Vince McMahon was the one to believe in Miz and it showed following the win. Miz embraced Vince with a huge hug and tears in his eyes. Vince started to show his emotions too when telling Miz that he earned it. To contrast, Triple H almost didn’t shake Miz’s hand at the time due to a lack of emotions for his big moment. Maybe Vince is more emotional than Triple H when the cameras are off.
5 Stephanie and Brie Bella Main Eventing Raw Segments
Stephanie McMahon and Brie Bella ended up having a feud out of the red-hot angle of Daniel Bryan battling The Authority. The match between Stephanie and Brie featured many months of build before finally taking place in the summer of 2014. This storyline gave the shocking moments of the ladies getting to close Raw in back to back weeks in segments setting up the match. Women’s wrestling storylines didn’t have that honor in almost a decade up to that point.
Brie revealed that Vince McMahon made the call to have her and Stephanie in the main event slots. The claims of Brie stated that Vince was emotional backstage congratulating them on doing a great job. Vince clearly has a bias towards Stephanie that likely caused this reaction, but you can’t blame someone for taking joy in their daughter’s success.
4 Family Affair At WrestleMania X-Seven
The most popular WrestleMania event of all-time is WrestleMania X-Seven. We witnessed classic matches between legendary rivals of Steve Austin and The Rock, Triple H and. The Undertaker and a TLC Match featuring the Hardys, Dudleys and Edge and Christian. Two wrestlers less polished than all these legendary performers were Vince McMahon and Shane McMahon.
Despite having the least talent on the upper card, the McMahon boys put out a tremendous performance. Both guys had arguably their best matches in WWE in this one with a lot of storytelling playing out. Linda McMahon and Stephanie McMahon played roles in the match giving all four members of the family a chance to shine. Jim Ross has stated this was one of Vince’s proudest matches after the show and it’s easy to see why.
3 Shane McMahon's First Night Back in WWE
Another moment that provided emotions for multiple members of the McMahon family featured Shane McMahon’s official return to the company. We already discussed the match against The Undertaker, but his return might have been a better story. No one expected to see Shane after years of distancing himself from the WWE brand.
That just added to the excitement when Shane interrupted Vince attempting to present the Vincent J. McMahon Legacy of Excellence Award to Stephanie. It set up the angle where Shane would face Undertaker at WrestleMania 32. The fans gave Shane one of the biggest ovations in WWE history due to a combination of surprise and joy. All members of the McMahon family took pride in the unofficial reunion of arguing with each other in front of thousands of wrestling fans.
2 Freddie Blassie Video Tribute
“Classy” Freddie Blassie was a legendary wrestling performer that spent many years working for WWE in various roles. Blassie developed a close relationship with various members of the McMahon family. The passing of Blassie due to old age in 2003 led to WWE honoring his life with a touching video tribute. Most wrestling greats get a video tribute, but Vince McMahon reportedly wanted to approve this one to make sure it lived up to his standards.
Stephanie McMahon revealed that she got emotional watching the video and remember the life of Blassie. Both Shane and Stephanie viewed Blassie as a grandfather figure due to how close he was to Vince. The tribute showed Vince getting emotional discussing what Blassie meant to him personally as well as the WWE.
1 Shane's Kids Make Their WWE Debut
The major reason Shane McMahon returned to WWE after his long absence was for his kids to get a chance to fall in love with wrestling like he did at a young age. Shane’s three sons have attended many shows since his return and they are always caught being vocal on the camera. All three boys were able to take part in the WrestleMania 32 entrance of Shane. They wore Shane’s shirt and did his dance number with him.
Backstage pictures and footage showed Shane’s kids hugging their dad and their grandfather in an emotional moment for all the McMahon men. Shane’s wife Marisa was emotional as well seeing her boys have such a cool moment of joy early in their life. WWE claims they sell a family product. The family running the company is the perfect example of the connection it creates.