Vince McMahon has been the king of wrestling since he vanquished Ted Turner’s WCW in 2001. By the time the WWE had put WCW out of business, McMahon had spent two decades ruthlessly killing off the competition. But it wasn’t just the competition McMahon had destroyed. As a businessman and wrestling promoter, McMahon has made plenty of enemies with his employees, both current and former. His drive to be the best has been credited with being the reason he works relentlessly. However, it is that drive that also makes him difficult to work with or for. That same drive has affected his children, and while they are perhaps less ruthless than their father, they have also been tangled in some backlash from their employees.
McMahon has done plenty of shameful things to those that have worked for him. But amazingly, there are most likely plenty more worse things he has done to employees we don’t know about yet. Perhaps one day, someone will uncover stories that fans are dying to hear or members of the WWE are afraid to tell. Until then, we have to make do with what is out there, which is quite a lot. From firing employees on their wedding day, love triangles, and burying talent to allegedly harassing female employees, the McMahon family has experienced a lot during their time at the top of wrestling. Many of the things they have done aren’t great, but the McMahon’s didn’t get to where they are by being nice.
These are The 15 most Shameful Things The McMahon Family Has Done To Their Employees Offscreen.
15. Firing CM Punk On His Wedding Day
In December 2014, CM Punk appeared on back-to-back episodes of Colt Cabana‘s Art of Wrestling podcast. It was a chance for Punk to tell his side of the story after leaving the WWE. Punk was still infuriated over his departure, and blamed both McMahon and his son-in-law Triple H. During the interviews, Punk alleged that McMahon wouldn’t give him time off to recover from injury, and that the WWE doctor misdiagnosed a staph infection that could have killed him. Punk also stated McMahon continually had him work against Ryback despite the latter being incredibly ‘dangerous’ to work with. As a result, Punk became further injured. At the same time, the wrestler’s paycheques got smaller. During the AOW interview, Punk stated he was actually fired by the company for taking time off. First, McMahon sent him a text message to suspend him for 60 days. After the suspension was up, no one contacted him, until his wedding day when Punk received his termination papers.
14. Stephanie-Triple H-Chyna Love Triangle
Triple H was able to work his way into being a part of the Kliq from his first day in the WWE and slowly moved up the ladder to become a member of the McMahon family. Of course, there were casualties along the way, most notably his ex-girlfriend Chyna. When Chyna made her WWE debut in February 1997, the two weightlifting addicts were already in a serious relationship. That didn’t stop Stephanie McMahon, however. By November 1999, Triple H and Chyna’s relationship had ended, and the future McMahon son-in-law was on to a new love interest. Two years later, despite the success she had achieved, Chyna was gone from the WWE. Chyna was a pioneer for women’s wrestling in the modern era, but many believe both Stephanie and Triple H are blocking moves to put her in the WWE Hall of Fame. Part of it may be due to her “film” career, while the other part could be down to the love triangle the three were in.
13. Influenced Rick Rude To Take Steroids
Rick Rude was a top WWE wrestler in the late 1980s. He had a fantastic run with the Ultimate Warrior during that time, making the Warrior into a superstar. During that era, most of the WWE locker room was on steroids at the time. However, at one time during his run, Rude had got off the substance, as he tried to start a family with his wife. According to the McMahon steroid trial transcripts, Rude took the stand and testified that the WWE owner influenced his decision to get back on the juice. In his testimony, Rude said McMahon told him he didn’t “look good” during a television taping, and the wrestler should “push” himself. Many believe this was McMahon’s way to get his wrestlers to start or continue using steroids. Rude left the WWE in 1990 due to a money dispute. It isn’t believed steroids had anything to do with his departure at the time.
12. Sable Harassment Lawsuit
If you believe everything Jim Cornette says about Vince McMahon and head producer Kevin Dunn (and why wouldn’t you?), then you would know both used to froth at the mouth when Sable was around. In Cornette’s estimation, that is one of the main reasons the “talentless” Sable received such a large push. Sable’s time with the WWE saw her eclipse the popularity that many of her male counterparts had. She enjoyed a tremendous amount of onscreen success and featured in two issues of Playboy. However, in 1999, fed up with the WWE, Sable (renamed Rene Greek) filed a $110 million harassment lawsuit against the company. She also accused the WWE of providing an unsafe work environment. According to reports, the lawsuit was filed after refusing to “go topless”. The lawsuit was filed in June, and McMahon had it settled out of court by August. Of course, it is wrestling; so, Sable returned to the company later on.
11. Assault On Rita Chatterton
In August 2017, the WWE announced it would debut its first full-time female referee, Jessika Carr. Although she would be ‘full-time’, Carr wasn’t the first female referee in the company’s history. Rita Chatterton, aka Rita Marie, was hired in 1986 as the WWE debuted its first female official. However, Chatterton was gone from the company shortly after debuting. She was fired in July 1986. Chatterton alleges McMahon assaulted her when she asked for more bookings. This supposedly occurred in McMahon’s limousine. In 1992, Chatterton appeared on the Geraldo Rivera talk show and spoke about the incident. She sought $5 million in damages, which McMahon and his attorneys fought. The statute of limitations on the case ran out shortly thereafter her television appearance, and the case was swept under the rug. For the most part, Chatterton has been erased from history, as the WWE only wants fans to know what they want the fans to know.
10. Firing Bruce Prichard
Bruce Prichard was Vince McMahon’s right-hand man for 22 years. That didn’t stop Stephanie McMahon from firing Prichard in 2008. According to Prichard on an episode of his “Something to Wrestle With” podcast, he discussed how he took over for Stephanie during both of her times away on maternity leave. Prichard became someone that writers, wrestlers and agents would seek out rather than Stephanie and it continued once she came back. Having employees seek out Prichard angered her. Prichard also had a strong relationship with Vince, and it gave Prichard – a non-family member – power backstage. Stephanie fired Prichard after more than two decades with the WWE. Although there have been rumours of Prichard pulling a gun on the company’s writers, he has said those stories are untrue. What is true, according to Prichard, was there was no reason given for his termination.
9. The Original Screwjob
The Montreal Screwjob is one of the most famous wrestling stories. But it wasn’t the first time Vince McMahon and the WWE screwed over one of the company’s wrestlers. In 1985, Wendi Richter was a big part of the WWE’s national expansion. Although she is a mostly forgotten figure, Richter was a major player and was in an angle featuring pop icon Cyndi Lauper. During the fall of that year, Richter was seeking better compensation for her matches. According to the grappler, she had signed a five-year contract with the WWE; although Vince McMahon has disputed this claim. Their disagreements over money came to a head on November 25, when a masked wrestler was put in the ring against Richter during a Madison Square Garden show. After the bout, it was discovered that the Fabulous Moolah – the wrestler who had trained Richter – was under the mask.
8. Rumoured Harassment Of Michelle McGuirk
Michelle “Mike” McGuirk came from a wrestling family. Her father, Leroy, had run a very successful territory in Oklahoma. She knew the business and had married into it as the spouse of B. Brian Blair. In 1987, McGuirk joined the WWE as an announcer for their Houston, Texas-only television shows. Although she has since refuted the claims, a 1993 article in Penthouse magazine stated McGuirk left the WWE after shunning Vince McMahon’s physical advances. McGuirk has said McMahon told her if she did what she was supposed to do, she would have a job forever. There is no information on what she was supposed to do, and many feel this may have been assault. McGuirk left the company in the 1990s citing the travel schedule as the main reason.
7. Shane McMahon Showing Up WWE Talent
Shane McMahon isn’t a wrestler, but every now and again, he gets into a WWE ring against a top star. Over the years, Shane has worked high-profile matches against A.J. Styles, Kevin Owens and the Undertaker to name just three. The problem with Shane is he completely steals the show every time he steps in to the ring; and not necessarily in a good way. It isn’t because he is a good wrestler, but because he isn’t afraid to take silly, stupid and often dangerous bumps. Those bumps make the rest of the WWE roster look bad, and it makes wrestling look fake, like it doesn’t hurt to fall off of a cage through an announcer’s table. Dave Meltzer has written about the resentment that many WWE wrestlers feel toward Shane. They have to wrestle every night, while Shane can rest up and prepare for his next big bump. There is also resentment amongst WWE wrestlers as Shane takes top talent away from high-profile matches at pay-per-views.
6. Cutting The Pay Of Long-Time Staff
There was always a group of WWE officials that were untouchable. Some had been carried over from Vince McMahon Sr‘s days. Others were Vince McMahon Jr’s group of supporters. These men saw everything, from the incredible highs to the terrible lows. In the mid 1990s, the WWE was struggling both on screen and off. Much of it had to do with the legal battle McMahon was fighting over allegations of distributing steroids to wrestlers. Due to the money it cost in legal fees, McMahon made the decision to cut the pay of his employees. However, it wasn’t the university educated members of his Titan Towers staff that saw a reduction; rather, it was the ex-wrestlers. Lord Alfred Hayes was one of McMahon’s oldest and most loyal inner circle members. Upset over a series the pay cuts, Hayes decided to quit.
5. Denying He told David Schultz To Protect The Business
There was a time when wrestlers did everything to protect the business. That time is gone as every indie star takes to Twitter to talk about their next booking, performance of ‘art’ or super-kick party. Wrestling used to be a closed business, and it was expected to stay that way. In 1984, the WWE was expanding nationally, and major news shows wanted in on the action. During a WWE show at Madison Square Garden in December, 20/20 news reporter John Stossel was in the locker room. Stossel was asking wrestlers about wrestling’s authenticity, something he should never have done. David Schultz, a legitimate tough guy, didn’t take too kindly to Stossel’s questions. He slapped Stossel across the face twice, knocking him to the floor both times. The reporter sued the company and won $425,000 as it was all caught on tape. Schultz was late fired. Regardless, he stood up for McMahon’s company and received no credit for it.
4. Treatment Of Howard Finkel
For a generation of wrestling fans, Howard Finkel’s voice was synonymous with wrestling. As the WWE’s ring announcer, Finkel’s voice was heard the world over. Not only was Finkel a great ring announcer, but he was an employee that would do anything for Vince McMahon and the company. But as a non-wrestler, Finkel was constantly made fun of by wrestlers, agents and even treated very poorly by McMahon, according to locker room gossip. Some of the ribs could be quite cruel and included stealing his personal property and destroying it in front of him. In a shoot interview featuring the late Paul Bearer, he spoke about Finkel being in tears nightly due to the ribbing and treatment he received from others. Finkel has been with the WWE since 1975, and despite not being the company’s ring announcer today, he is still employed by the company.
3. Falling Out With Randy Savage
The “Macho Man” Randy Savage is one of the greatest in-ring performers to ever work in wrestling. Yes, Savage was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame at WrestleMania 31, but for 21 years, the former WWE Champion was a former employee Vince McMahon never spoke about. Rumours of a Savage-Stephanie McMahon relationship have been widespread, but never confirmed. Many believe it is that relationship that caused McMahon’s fallout with Savage. However, there are those that believe Savage was being groomed to be one of the major players backstage for McMahon. As a colour commentator, Savage was regularly with McMahon on RAW doing commentary. Yet, Savage’s departure was like a slap in the face to McMahon, who loved Savage dearly. Whatever the real cause of the animosity, the WWE had nothing to do with Savage for two decades.
2. Continuing The Over The Edge PPV
In 1999, Owen Hart fell from high rafters during WWE’s Over the Edge pay-per-view. Hart was making his entrance into Kemper Arena as the Blue Blazer and was being lowered from the ceiling. The harness malfunctioned and Hart plummeted to the ring. Luckily for those in attendance, and the WWE, Hart fell into the ring and not on to fans sitting ringside. After the tragedy, the McMahons and the WWE had to make a decision. Should they continue the show or cancel it right then? They chose the former, and distraught wrestlers performed in a ring that Hart had passed away in moments ago. McMahon was criticized for continuing the show. In 2010, with her husband’s passing still fresh in her mind, Martha Hart sued the WWE for not paying royalties owed to the family. The WWE settled out of court.
1. Denying Health Insurance To Wrestlers
The WWE classifies its wrestlers as independent workers. It is one way the company skirts around providing health insurance for its workers. Yet, try to book a WWE wrestler to work a show for another wrestling company and they will be blocked. According to an article published by the Louisville Law Review, written by David Cowley, “WWE has been illegally depriving its wrestlers of millions [of dollars] in benefits for nearly 50 years.” There is a 20-point test that the IRS uses to determine if a company meets a traditional employee-employer relationship. The WWE meets 16 of the 20 points. Over the years, there have been a number of wrestlers that have tried to get medical insurance for the ‘boys’. Jesse Ventura famously attempted to get the locker room to band together. However, he was snitched on by Hulk Hogan. Ventura tried to get the WWE’s wrestlers to unionize in 1986, but McMahon stopped him. It is partly the reason Ventura and McMahon have a hot and cold relationship today.
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