As hard as it is to believe, there was a time when Vince McMahon had no part in WWE storylines. For years, the unspoken agreement was that Vince pretended he was merely an announcer and fans acted like he wasn’t the owner of the company. That all changed after the Montreal Screwjob and then the feud with Austin that created the “Mr. McMahon” character. Since then, Vince has dominated as the heel boss fans love to hate. He’s been joined by Stephanie who’s an expert playing herself as a jerk and Shane as a cocky guy who has been a serious hardcore fighter.
This has led to the McMahons involved in many feuds. Vince himself has to be credited with being made to look the fool in feuds and Shane a wild daredevil. But there have also been scores of storylines involving the McMahons that are, to put it bluntly, horrible.
10 Stephanie’s Kid
Okay, this never actually got on air but it is still so insanely, ludicrously bad that it has to be mentioned. When Stephanie became pregnant, she expected to simply take time off. Instead, Vince wanted to make a big mystery over who the father of her child was. As horrible as it sounds, Vince wanted to reveal that Stephanie and Shane somehow were tricked into an encounter in a dark room and Shane was the dad. Thankfully, Steph, Shane, HHH and Linda stood together to say there was no way they were going to go along with this. Vince tried to push the idea of himself being the father and that too was shot down. It really makes you think about what goes on in this man’s head.
9 Vince vs Stephanie
On the 2006 “McMahon” DVD, folks talk of how they couldn’t believe Vince was doing this. In 2003, Vince was pressing on an-air affair with Sable with Stephanie upset. This included trying to strip Sable on TV. This resulted in “No Mercy’s” Father-Daughter I Quit match. Fans were given the very uncomfortable sight of Vince battling his own daughter in a wild brawl. It ended with Linda throwing in the towel when Vince was choking Stephanie with a pipe.
The craziest part was that this was just a week before Stephanie’s real-life marriage to HHH with Linda opening warning Vince of their daughter showing a black eye in her wedding photos. Talk about an awkward father-daughter reception dance.
8 Hornswoggle McMahon
After the mess of the “Mr. McMahon death” thing, WWE needed to spark things up in the summer of 2007. The storyline was introduced that Vince had a secret son somewhere which led to various antics of tracking him down. The plan was for him to be Mr. Kennedy and boost him as a heel but Kennedy got suspended. So Vince’s son was revealed as…Hornswoggle. The sight of Vince looking like he wanted to die as the leprechaun hugged his leg were funny but the following storyline was bad with Vince turning on the guy. This led to an ugly cage match with Hornswoggle battered by Vince. After all that, it was revealed Hornswoggle wasn’t Vince’s son and all, making this a waste of a storyline.
7 Linda’s Stroke
In interviews and DVDs, Linda McMahon actually comes off as a fun, lively and energetic woman. For some reason, put on TV in a storyline and she’s horribly flat and dull. In late 2000, Linda appeared to suffer from a stroke. This led to Vince carrying on with Trish Status, making out with the hot blonde right in front of his wife.
When Trish ticked Vince off, Vince would order her to strip to her underwear and crawl like a dog in the ring. This all set up the epic brawl with Shane at WrestleMania X-7 where Linda rose from her chair to boot Vince en route to Shane winning. The payoff was good but getting there was painful.
6 Stephanie vs Bellas
While Stephanie McMahon has aided in the “Divas Revolution,” it’s pretty obvious she takes far too much credit for how women in WWE are succeeding. That’s especially true given how poorly Steph’s work with the ladies in the past has been. That includes in 2014 when Stephanie decided she needed to be part of the major storyline with Daniel Bryan. This led to her threatening Brie Bella with firing if Bryan didn’t give up the World title. Bits would include Stephanie arrested and later throwing up on Vickie Guerrero and tossed into a pit of mud. Finally, she beat Brie at SummerSlam after Nikki turned don her twin to show Stephanie could get as egotistical as her old man in putting the spotlight on herself.
5 Shane Best in the World
One of the most aggravating things for current WWE fans is the huge push Shane McMahon is getting. Despite his age and how he clearly has lost his in-ring fire, Shane has been pushed into major feuds with huge stars and often coming out on top in them. The kick-off to it all was when WWE set up their big “Best in the World” tournament which seemed a great idea to spark up a new star. The finals came down to Dolph Ziggler vs the Miz and it appeared that Ziggler would win with Miz injured. Then Shane inserted himself into the match and won. Thus, Shane won a tournament he wasn’t even part of and that set up his nutty partnership with the Miz. Fans were irate at a bout of ego-stroking that rival’s Vince’s.
4 The Higher Power
Mid-1999 had some rough stuff for WWE as it was clear Vince Russo’s storylines were going off the rail. For a time, Vince had seemed to be turning into more of a good guy, willing to accept Steve Austin’s help saving Stephanie from the Undertaker. Taker had been working for a mysterious “Higher Power” with speculation on it being Jake Roberts or someone else.
Finally, the moment came for the Power to reveal himself…and it was Vince. It did have the turn of a ticked-off Linda making Austin CEO but it remains one of the worst storylines of this era.
3 Battle of the Billionaires
Today, of course, this match has far different historical connotations. At the time, Donald Trump was still the tycoon turned reality TV show who even “bought” RAW. This led to a clash as Vince and Trump each chose a representative for WrestleMania 23 and the losing billionaire would have his head shaved. Vince chose Umaga while Trump had Bobby Lashley, leading to a wild fight officiated by Steve Austin. In the end, Lashey won and so fans were given the sight of the future President of the United States shaving Vince bald.
2 Fighting God
This is one of several segments on the “McMahon” DVD where folks openly say they have no idea what Vince was thinking. He and Shane were challenging Shawn Michaels in 2006 as Shawn is famous for having turned his life around over religion. So Vince came out and demanded that he and Shane face Shawn and the Almighty at the next PPV. This led to the ludicrous sight of a spotlight shown coming down the ramp only for Vince to bad-mouth it and it retreats. Vince defended the whole thing as “God must have a sense of humor” but one has to wonder what reception he’ll get over it in the next world.
1 Vince’s “Death”
In the annals of WWE storylines that backfired, this is one of the biggest. In 2007, having seemingly lost both control of the company and his mind, Vince was given a big “appreciation night” on RAW. He exited into a limo, which then exploded. It was treated as serious with video tributes and folks acting like “Mr. McMahon” was dead. The plan was for Shane to take off as a heel and Vince to come back with an army of hobos (really) to take back his company. However, when the Benoit tragedy happened, Vince had to call the whole thing off and come back having faked his death. It was a bad idea that just got worse.