The days of Vince McMahon being the most-powerful individual in North American professional wrestling are coming to an end. McMahon, the head figure in charge of World Wrestling Entertainment, has slowly but surely begun the transition that will see son-in-law Paul Levesque (Triple H) and daughter Stephanie McMahon take full control of the company. The chairman and CEO of WWE will turn 70-years old in the summer of 2015, and the truth of the matter is that he only has so much more than he could possibly give to the company and to the industry before he steps aside for good.
McMahon became interested in the wrestling business at a young age, and his visions for what was to become the WWE were far beyond those had by other promoters in the United States. Unlike those who chose to run territories in regions of the country, McMahon wanted to expand what was the World Wide Wrestling Federation into an organization that was far and away the top company in the nation. McMahon eventually exceeded what were likely his original intentions, as the WWE is now a global brand that is synonymous with the business and that has its own streaming network that is available all around the world.
It may surprise some diehard wrestling fans to learn that there was a time when McMahon was not at all associated with the business. He did well to work his way from the bottom up in the industry, first making his name as an an-air performer who would call the action inside of the ring. McMahon would go on to find his feet as an announcer and behind the scenes, turning what was a regional property into the one global icon of the wrestling business. No name in the industry is bigger than McMahon, and the man associated with the WWE has, for better or worse, made that brand an entertainment mainstay.
15 McMahon Was Once Legitimately a Billionaire
The on-air gimmick of McMahon playing an evil billionaire was somewhat based on reality. There was a time during the so-called pro wrestling boom that McMahon's wealth topped the $1 billion mark. The pro wrestling business has long been a punch line for comedians and for those who are critics of the industry, but nobody can deny that McMahon made a fortune due to what he managed to achieve as a wrestling promoter. His tale has resulted in several other noteworthy businessmen and businesswomen attempting to cash-in on the industry, but nobody else has managed to find that success that McMahon had during the best years of the WWE.
14 McMahon is No Longer a Billionaire
McMahon's status has a billionaire has fluctuated over the years, and it took a negative hit in the spring of 2014 when the WWE lost a reported $350 million after disappointing business news went public. The WWE Network lacking in popularity, along with the company losing out on pay-per-view buys due to those shows being available via the streaming service, caused the company's drop in overall worth, and it is believed by some insiders that McMahon will never again reach the $1 billion in worth. I guess he will have to settle for being worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Poor guy.
13 McMahon Once Owned a Coliseum
McMahon has not been shy about splashing cash in order to take risks in the business world. He purchased the Cape Cod Coliseum, located in South Yarmouth, Massachusetts, in the late 1970s, and that venue was used for a variety of events. Along with hosting pro wrestling cards promoted by McMahon, the Cape Cold Coliseum was also home to professional hockey games (more on that later), rock concerts and boxing shows. That coliseum is no longer used as a venue for live events, as it was eventually converted into a warehouse for several companies.
12 McMahon Once Owned a Hockey Franchise
While McMahon has, for decades, been sure to point out that the WWE products was sports entertainment, he has made multiple attempts to be involved in legitimate sports. McMahon purchased the Cape Cod Buccaneers of the Atlantic Coast Hockey League, and the team began playing in that league in 1981, according to Bleacher Report. The experiment did not last long. Cape Cod played in the ACHL for a single season before McMahon folded the franchise, and the ACHL did not make it through the end of the decade before it had to close up shop following the 1986-87 campaign.
11 The World Bodybuilding Federation
Depending on how old you are, or how much you were paying attention to the WWE at the time, you may have either forgotten or never known about the World Bodybuilding Federation. McMahon was hoping to compete with the International Federation of BodyBuilders for attention and pay-per-view buys, but it turned out that not everybody was enamored with seeing jacked-up guys pose in front of cameras. The company would not last two full years before McMahon saw the writing on the wall and shut the WBF down. You have to give him credit for the attempts, at least.
10 The XFL
It is easy to forget that there is a large sect of WWE fans who were not around or who just do not know about the American football league that was known as the XFL. McMahon's leap into the world dominated by the National Football League is widely perceived to be a massive failure, and the XFL lasted only one season before the idea was abandoned. While history may show that the idea was a flop, it is thanks to the XFL that aerial camera shots, that have been a mainstay of the Madden video game series for years, have now become a weekly part of Sunday Night Football television broadcasts.
9 Chris Jericho is to Blame for McMahon's Blown Quads
The 2005 Royal Rumble ended in controversy when both Batista and John Cena tumbled over the top rope and to the floor at the conclusion of the match. With no clear winner named by the referees, McMahon made his way down to the ring to make his ruling. It was during that journey that he suffered two torn quads. According to Chris Jericho, he happened to be sitting with Vince at the end of that match and Y2J told him to run down to the ring to address the crowd and restart the match. Vince obliged and suffered quite a bit because of it.
8 McMahon Has His Own Star
Critics love to hit out at the pro wrestling industry because it features fake fighting and because it does have a seedy past. The WWE managed to become weekly must-see television for millions upon millions of viewers, and it continues to draw solid ratings even when against programming such as Monday Night Football. McMahon was presented with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, something that he deserves for all that he has accomplished in the entertainment industry. No single person has done more for the wrestling business than McMahon.
7 McMahon Holds a Guinness World Record
McMahon has made history as a promoter and businessman, but he also managed to do so as an in-ring performer. It was in 1999, when McMahon became the recognized oldest champion in the history of the WWE during a feud with Triple H as a babyface, according to the official Guinness World Records site. That on-air feud lasted for months, and it was during that time when his daughter Stephanie turned on him in a storyline to link up with the man who would eventually become her real-life husband. The beginning of the McMahon-Helmsley era would lead to the Vince character not being featured on television for some time.
6 The McMahon Strut
One of the many things that have helped get the Mr. McMahon character over with fans is the over-the-top strut that he performs as he makes his way to the ring. While McMahon has done well to make that walk his own, it is something that he took from the wrestling industry. The stories on where McMahon came up with the idea have changed over the years. One idea is that McMahon modeled the walk off of Dr. Jerry Graham. It has also been suggested that McMahon borrowed the gimmick from “Nature Boy” Buddy Rogers, according to GuySpeed.com. Wherever he got it, the McMahon strut has made for great entertainment over the years.
5 McMahon Met His Father When he Was 12-years Old
A common perception held by some wrestling fans is that the business has been in McMahon's blood since day one. While there is some truth to that – he is a McMahon, after all – Vince did not truly get to know his biological father until he was 12 years old. Vince Sr. had left his family when Vince was but a young child, and thus the future head of WWE had to wait over a decade until he was exposed to the true nature of the wrestling business. It was at that time when McMahon first became enamored by the industry, and his father ultimately allowed McMahon to follow his dreams and work in wrestling.
4 McMahon Wanted to be a Wrestler
McMahon competing in matches such as the Royal Rumble and championship encounters happened not just because he wanted to draw heat from fans. His original intentions were to one day become a wrestler who performed in the ring during shows, a plan that was shut down by his father Vince Sr. McMahon instead was allowed to begin his career as an on-air announcer, a gig that he held for multiple decades. His “what a maneuver!” calls during matches became associated with McMahon, so much so that wrestlers have mentioned it when working an on-air feud with the head of the company.
3 The McMahon Secret
McMahon was never dishonest about the fact that he owned the WWE and he would introduce himself as such when appearing at public events outside of the industry. When he served as the weekly announcer for the company, though, his behind-the-scenes involvement as the owner and lead booker were never mentioned for decades, and those who only watched the WWE but did not follow the business-end of the company were kept in the dark about McMahon being the man in charge. The WWE instead elected to have on-air talents be presented as the president/commissioner of the company during McMahon's announcing career.
2 Mr. McMahon was Based on Reality
McMahon was slowly but surely making the switch from a play-by-play announcer to the person responsible for running the WWE on-air in 1997 when the infamous incident involving McMahon, Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart occurred at that year's Survivor Series. What became known as the “Montreal Screwjob” during which Michaels defeated Hart in controversial fashion made McMahon a real-life heel in the eyes of fans who knew what had truly gone down on that fateful night. Without this event, it is very possible that the Mr. McMahon character would never have been featured on television.
1 The Incest Angle
What was once hoped to be nothing more than an Internet rumor was proven to be true during a WWE documentary on McMahon. Stephanie McMahon was pregnant with one of her three children when Vince had the idea that he should, in storyline, be the father of that baby. When that idea was nixed, it was suggested that Vince's son Shane could serve as the on-air dad of the child. Cooler heads prevailed in the end as neither story ever saw the light of day on WWE television. McMahon has been a brilliant businessman over the years, but there is little question that this was not one of his better visions.