Often with lists, the trick is trying to find enough entries to fill it out. In this case, however, the question isn’t finding enough entries, it’s trying to figure out the top ones. Specifically, 15 people who have hated one Vincent Kennedy McMahon.
It’s not hard to see why. As Vince himself says, “wrestling is a rotten business and you have to be a rotten guy to survive it.” Vince has not just survived but thrived by doing whatever it took to get ahead, no matter who he had to crush along the way. And he crushed a lot of people. From the old territory promoters to various workers, Vince has messed with so many lives to get ahead. On the “McMahon” DVD, Sgt. Slaughter openly says “Vince screwed everybody” in his expansion and he makes no apologies for it. An attitude like that makes a lot of enemies and so it’s no surprise that so many people loathe Vince’s guts.
The remarkable thing is that so many of these people who have all but wished death on Vince end up making up with him later down the road to work with WWE. Somehow, Vince has a gift for winning you over even when you’re pissed as hell at him and some guys are able to mend bridges enough to work with him down the road. Still, the hate is strong among others and Vince often seems to revel in it to enhance his reputation, making it harder to tell how much of him is real and how much just an act. Here are just 15 of the many people who have proclaimed their hate for Vince and marvel at how many of them get back with him down the road.
15 Jim Ross
“Good Ole J.R.” has had a seriously up and down relationship with Vince over the years and not all of it has been good. It really got started when J.R. worked for WCW, doing some good business that would clash with McMahon’s own expansion moves. When Ross was signed to the company in 1993, his big debut was dressed in a toga for WrestleMania IX. He would do commentary before 1996 where he brought to the public how Vince fired him after a bout with Bell’s palsy and how he hated the guy, real beef of Ross brought to the public.
They would make up a bit but still tense situations as in 2005, Ross took time off for colon surgery and Vince did a video mocking him majorly which Ross stated was in terrible taste and he hated it. Then in 2013, Ross was basically fired from the company, supposedly over his mishandling of Ric Flair at a public event and went public about Vince being out of touch. They may have mutual respect but make no mistake, J.R’s hating of Vince is well documented and the fact both men acknowledge it speaks volumes of how hate and respect can go hand in hand.
14 The Road Warriors
Promised a big push when they signed onto WWE in 1990, the Legion of Doom were saddled a bit with them relaying that Vince was more into the home-grown talents of WWE than them, despite their legendary reputation. In a shoot interview, Hawk would call Vince “the most evil man I’ve ever met in my life” and he and Animal would rant on Vince being too vocal with the talent, running them down in the locker room and even claiming Vince and Shawn Michaels were having “a love affair.”
Hawk also hated the entire storyline of him being a drugged out mess and leaping off the titantron in a fake suicide attempt, calling it idiotic and insulting. They had one last run before Hawk’s death with Animal coming back to try and set up their legacy for a new generation but while he’s open to Vince more, Hawk went to his grave still hating the guy, showing how some beefs die hard.
13 CM Punk
Punk’s tenure in WWE was filled with talk of his backstage antics and moods, not happy about often held back and criticizing stuff like the new ECW. It wasn’t until 2011 that it came out in that now famous on-air rant about the entire direction of the company that ripped McMahon’s entire “sports entertainment” vision and the man himself. Their on-air promos clearly had Vince uncomfortable with Punk mocking him on his style and business practices and while that led to great TV, it also sparked real enmity between them.
It just got worse when Punk left the company and proceeded to do one interview after another trashing Vince in every way, including dismissing the man’s attempt at a public apology. While Vince appears open to a return, Punk has made it clear he loathes the other man and it’s unlikely he’ll ever come back, making him one of the bigger stars of today to carry such a loathing for McMahon.
12 Paul Heyman
Paul Heyman likes to talk of respect for Vince and even appreciating some support McMahon gave ECW when it was breaking out. But it’s also obvious Heyman has a deep loathing for a lot of Vince’s actions and behavior. A memorable bit in 1996 was Heyman calling in to the live “Livewire” show to trash Vince and WWE and while a lot of that was an act, you could tell plenty of truth was in there. Ditto for the 2001 bit of Heyman ripping Vince to his face on WWE destroying the business and wanting to teach him a lesson on what wrestling should be. That’s not to mention Heyman never happy about Vince arranging to kick ECW off TNN for RAW to debut there, doing a memorable on-air shoot about it all.
His WWE tenure is filled with tales of clashing with Vince on characters and storylines and it all came to a head in 2006 with the disastrous revival of ECW driving Heyman to tears and leaving the company with bad words on Vince. They have come together once more but it’s still clear that the always-egotistical Heyman has issues working alongside McMahon which has fired up a lot of great clashes.
11 Randy Savage
After years as one of the company’s biggest stars, Savage suddenly left with little warning in late 1994. The reasons appear to be varied as well as how Savage unleashed quite a bit of venom on McMahon in the following years. The urban legend has always been Savage having an affair with a then-teenaged Stephanie and that led to his firing but others insist Vince was just upset Savage broke a promise to never work for WCW.
Regardless of the reason, Savage (never the most stable of men) would really lose it in his post-wrestling years in wild rants on radio and online trashing Hogan and Vince together and making it clear he’d fight both men for real. It sadly was never settled before his death and a shame to have Savage’s great career overshadowed by his massive beef with Vince.
They’re on good terms now but Dustin Runnels and McMahon have certainly had issues before. Dustin was never happy over being “trapped” by his Goldust persona with an on-air rant on Vince ruining him so much and then going back to it later on. It would have ups and downs with Goldust fired twice from the company for brief TNA runs and issues such as talking about Vince being cold regarding Owen Hart’s death and other bits such as introducing Cody Rhodes as Dusty’s “real” son at the Hall of Fame ceremony. A famous shoot interview had Dustin snapping that Vince didn’t give a damn about people, just making money and trashing him big time. They have made up but just goes to show how some guys can have their beefs about Vince made quite public.
9 Bill Goldberg
Goldberg was never happy with how WWE took shots on him during the Monday Night War as just being an Austin clone and other stuff. When he signed on with the company in 2003, he was promised a giant push but instead, WWE took the guy who had been made an unstoppable monster and had him lose right off to Triple H. Goldberg was quite angry about that, his entire drive ruined and would trash Vince quite a lot in various radio interviews when he left the company a year later. They’ve cooled down a bit with Goldberg showing up on WWE produced DVDs and Network shows but still obvious tension over how Vince muzzled the monster.
Fans today forget how damn cool Chyna was when she first appeared, an imposing Amazonian bad-ass who could beat up any guy she met. She had a big push as one of the first of the new era of Divas, even doing Playboy and winning fans over with a mostly silent but stern demeanor. The breaking point was her realization in 2001 that Triple H and Stephanie really were dating behind her back and when she went to tell Vince, she found out he’d known all along. He told Chyna to just head home when she was in tears and when she got there, she found her termination letter already waiting.
That naturally led to anger that just exploded in 2012 with Chyna going on an epic Twitter rant calling Vince every name imaginable and challenging him to a real fight. She’s trying to win back favor to get in the Hall of Fame but recent acts aren’t helping her case at all and we all know Vince can hold a grudge against someone going public on loathing him.
7 The Ultimate Warrior
Given the Warrior’s unique mindset, it’s probably no surprise he and Vince would clash massively. Vince did give the Warrior the monster push as IC and then WWE champion, really wanting to back him but the fans just didn’t respond as expected and so he forced the Warrior to drop the title. In 1991, Warrior wrote a note to Vince demanding more money or he wouldn’t do SummerSlam and Vince basically fired him the second the main event was over. Warrior would return in 1992 for a good run but once more, things fell apart over money and he departed just before he was heavily hyped for Survivor Series. Another return in 1996 went badly once again over money and Warrior would soon spend the next several years going on maniacal rants against McMahon practically every chance he got.
That increased in 2005 when WWE put out the terrible “Self-Destruction” DVD that was a total hatchet job of the Warrior and he didn’t take it well. Thankfully, they finally made up in 2014 just before the Warrior’s death with Vince actually appearing sorry for the bad stuff of the past. Just shows how wasting so much time on hate causes you to lose a lot.
6 Bruno Sammartino
There probably wouldn’t be a WWE today without Sammartino. His seven year title reign put the company on the map and helped Vince’s father establish the power base his son would later use to take over the business. A box office star and terrific worker, Sammartino was widely respected and so McMahon tried to get along with him, giving him a job as commentator. But Bruno was never happy about the rise of steroids and drug use in the company, not to mention his son not getting the push he thought was due.
An old-school guy, Bruno left the company in 1987 and basically went into self-exile, refusing to discuss WWE except in the worst terms and constantly attacking Vince as a cancer on the business. Eventually, Triple H mended the fence and they made up with Bruno returning in 2013 to enter the Hall of Fame and seem to have made peace with McMahon but the decades of bad blood between them are still something fans remember.
5 Dick Ebersol
Dick Ebersol’s long tenure as head of NBC Sports is filled with great stuff like Olympics, Super Bowls and other events. But Ebersol has never gotten over his mistake in 2000 of listening to Vince’s idea to create a brand-new football league to take on the NFL. From the start, things were rough between them, no surprise given the egos of both men involved and both wanting the XFL to have different directions. The result was one of the biggest debacles in television history, record low ratings and terrible reviews all around.
Naturally, Ebersol (legendary for trashing everyone from football players to Conan O’Brien) put the blame totally on Vince, ripping him for getting the network into this, ignoring the tiny fact that he was the one who agreed to it. It’s still a sore spot with Ebersol trashing Vince in interviews while shifting blame from his own part in things and why the XFL still stands out as a humiliating part of the business.
4 Jeff Jarrett
The dislike appears to date back to Jarrett’s first run with the company in 1995 as, despite winning the IC title, Jarrett felt he was being held back too much and soon jumped to WCW. He made a big return trashing that company but was soon pushed around in various feuds and not happy about his treatment (a situation pushed by how Jarrett seems to believe he’s a much bigger deal with fans than he truly is). It all came to a head when Jarrett was supposed to drop the IC title before leaving for WCW but held Vince up for a big payday and threatened to walk with the belt if he didn’t pay up, which Vince did.
On the final “Nitro,” Vince “fired” Jarrett from working for WWE ever again and the obvious friction pushed Jarrett to create TNA. During that time, Jarrett has taken more than a few shots at McMahon while attempting to make TNA (and now GWF) its big competition and while that hasn’t really worked, it’s clear how much one man’s hate of Vince fuels the current wrestling landscape.
3 Phil Mushnick
The New York Post sports writer has made much of his career slamming Vince McMahon and, by extension, all of professional wrestling, as one of the worst parts of American culture. You can publish an entire book off nothing but his rants which have even been mentioned by the company at times with Vince calling him “a self-righteous, egotistical, miserable SOB.” Mushnick has long pushed the “death mill” of wrestlers dying of steroid and drug abuse and just about says McMahon is the key reason for all of wrestling’s ills.
It spreads to Mushnick trashing fans of wrestling, pushing the stereotype that a wrestling fan is automatically less intelligent simply for watching and thus a reason many of his rants are dismissed by serious fans. He may be in it more for the muckraking attention but Mushnick is an obvious choice as a guy who hates McMahon big time and has the resources to put that hate out for so many to read.
2 Bret Hart
If anyone has had ample reason to hate Vince, it’s Bret Hart. He had put in years of loyal service to WWE, serving as champion and doing a good job boosting business and winning over fans. His reward was to have his first title reign end in a WrestleMania main event loss and Hogan getting the belt right after. He spent a year in the lower card before getting the belt back and still doing well enough for Vince to sign him to a massive contract.
Bret was never happy with the rise of the “attitude” stuff but did his best to roll with it despite the rising violence and then Vince saying he couldn’t afford to keep Bret around. This of course set up Montreal and being double-crossed by your boss in front of the world to shove you down was more than enough to piss Bret off. Throw in his bad WCW stuff and Owen’s death and Bret’s hate for Vince just grew more and more and would lead to a lot of bad-mouthing in the press. They reconciled enough for a 2005 DVD and then Bret coming along to beat Vince down in 2010 and finally put the whole thing to rest. But for a lot of years, Bret’s loathing of McMahon was well known and no one is truly surprised by it.
1 Eric Bischoff
Bischoff never made it a secret he and Vince didn’t get along. Like many in WCW, Bischoff was doing anything he could to take the company to new heights and it showed in his attempts to win ex-WWE talent like Hogan, Hall, Nash and so many others. He really kicked off a blood feud with the advent of Nitro, giving away RAW results and other moves to hit hard and struck gold with the New World Order and himself as the evil boss. It continued and got worse when WWE began winning the war, pushing Bischoff to moves such as challenging Vince to a PPV fight.
Their shots at each other back and forth online were major as Bischoff’s arrogance when WCW was riding high became more desperate when WWE turned the tide. Constantly, Bischoff made it clear he wanted to take Vince down and it was a personal battle, not just business. It was astonishing when they were united as allies in WWE but quite obvious Bischoff was still ticked at Vince and drove a lot of stuff behind the scenes. When Bischoff left for TNA, he used that to try and fight against Vince again while trashing him in interviews to little success. While the hate for Vince certainly helped push Bischoff’s drive and zeal to help WCW, it also showed both men at their worst even amid the best time in wrestling history.