The McMahons may not be the first wrestling family, but they are undoubtedly the first family of wrestling. Years after nearly every other promoter that thought they were going to make their family fortunes in the “wrasslin” business faded away into the history books, the McMahons continue to grow an entertainment empire that seems to reach a little further each day. While there has never been a shortage of outside influences that have helped them along the way, it’s truly remarkable that it is the McMahon family that have been front and center for nearly all of WWE’s years. They are the core of the wrestling world.
Despite that, we really don’t know a lot about them. Oh sure, we’ve seen them do their thing on television week in and week out, and you occasionally hear about public dealings from time to time, but when you get right down to it, can you really say that you know the McMahon family unit like you might know your own family? Maybe we’ll never really know everything interesting there is to know about the McMahons, but there are some things that every wrestling fan should be aware of. These are the 15 things you need to know about the McMahons.
16 Their Wrestling Roots Are Older Than You Think
Whenever we hear about the origins of the McMahon family, we always hear about how Vince McMahon’s dad, Vincent James McMahon, started the company and eventually gave it to his son who turned it into what we know today. It’s a great story, but it’s not quite the whole story. The person that usually gets shafted in the retelling of how the McMahon's got into the wrestling business is Vince’s grandfather, Roderick James McMahon.
It’s tough to say why the first McMahon to promote wrestling matches tends to be overlooked as he is actually responsible for establishing the McMahons in New York City. While his story isn’t as exciting as his son and grandson’s, it is a vital piece of the family legacy that is now tied to wrestling forever.
15 Vince McMahon Has A Brother We Never See
While Vince McMahon's grandfather has been swallowed up by the history books, his role in the McMahon family is practically a starring one when you compare it to the place Vince McMahon’s brother has on the popular version of the family tree. “Wait a minute,” you might be asking. “Vince McMahon has a brother?” Yes he does. Roderick McMahon II has never appeared on WWE television and almost never comes up when Vince or any other the other McMahon's are talking about the family. There’s never been any known falling out between the brothers. Instead, it’s believed that Rod isn’t that big of a fan of wrestling and prefers to spend his time as a fairly successful businessman in the oil industry. While there was a plan for Rod to make an appearance after McMahon's "limo explosion," that angle never came to fruition.
14 Linda and Vince Met and Married At A Very Young Age
Given that the age at which many people get married rises every year, it’s sometimes surprising to look back at how common it was for couples to marry at a young age. For instance, Vince met Linda when they were only teenagers. By teenagers, we mean that Vince was 16 and Linda was only 13. The story goes that their attraction was obvious to from the start which didn’t sit well with Linda’s parents. Vince did wait a while before popping the question to Linda, but he apparently couldn’t stand to wait that long as the two got married when Linda was only 17.
Although this did interrupt Linda’s life plans somewhat (she was supposedly interested in pursuing a medical degree), the two did go on to attend the same college.
13 The Family Was Incredibly Poor Early On
Given how often Vince McMahon is associated with the idea of financial success, it’s easy to imagine that he’s lived a very prominent, or at least a fairly comfortable, lifestyle for most of his years. The truth isn’t that simple. Vince’s father did well enough, but his supposed stinginess and the complicated nature of their relationship meant that Vince didn’t just dig into the pockets of his father whenever he needed a little money. Instead, Vince worked as a traveling salesman at around the time that Shane was born in order to make extra money. By the time that Stephanie was born, the family’s crushing debt forced them to declare bankruptcy. Things eventually got better when Vince started working with his father, but the family had to endure many lean years.
12 Vince Has Always Been Open With Linda About His Infidelity
When you and your wife have known each other for practically your whole lives, it’s natural that the two of you are going to know more about each other than anyone else. When you factor in Vince’s very public on-screen persona, then you’d better believe that their relationship would have to be strong to survive all the little things. According to an old report by the New York Times, that relationship is strong enough to survive some pretty big things as well. Vince has supposedly always been very honest with Linda about his marital transgressions. Life on the road in the wrestling business apparently afforded Vince a few opportunities to break his marital vows that he didn’t always turn down. At least he also didn’t lie about them.
11 Shane Practically Raised Stephanie
Given that Vince’s work requires him to spend a lot of his life on the road, you shouldn’t be too surprised to learn that he wasn’t always around the house when the kids were growing up. In fact, we often hear stories about young Shane and Stephanie McMahon traveling with their father and receiving plenty of life lessons from former wrestlers. The biggest influence on their lives, however, may have been each other. Shane took his role as older brother to heart and was often responsible for raising Stephanie day to day. While Vince and Linda were far from absentee influences, Shane was the one that that handled many of the day to day duties when it came to seeing Stephanie through her young years.
10 Shane and Stephanie Had To Pay Their Dues In The Business
Just because you’re a McMahon doesn’t mean that the keys to the executive washroom are handed over to you as part of your birthright. With the possible exception of Linda who was never really as involved with the wrestling business as the rest of the McMahons, every member of the immediate family has had to pay their dues in one way or another. For Stephanie, this involved doing some modeling for WWE’s kids apparel when she was 13 and pitching in with some light assistant work at the office. Shane, meanwhile, got his official start in the company as a referee and announcer. Neither role lasted particularly long, but it is interesting to watch mid-nineties WWE television and go “Wait, is that Shane reffing this match?”
9 The Family Assets Once Included A Hockey Team
The full extent of the McMahon family empire goes well beyond the squared circle. While you’re probably aware of some of the family’s more successful endeavors (real estate, stock options, etc.) and their notable failures (the XFL), there’s a host of McMahon family investments that the general public doesn’t know about. One of the strangest of these investments that has come to light in recent years is certainly the hockey team that Vince McMahon once owned. Yes, apparently Vince thought that the Atlantic Coast Hockey League was going to be the next big thing in the sport of hockey. Since he already owned a stadium in Cape Cod, he decided to fill it with a hockey team called the Cape Cod Buccaneers. The league turned out to be a disaster, and the team only lasted one year.
8 Linda and Stephanie Are Responsible for Most of WWE's Charities
With great money comes great responsibility....or something like that. The McMahons haven't always been blessed with an incredible fortune, but when their fortune came, it proved to be quite the bounty. While Vince has always had a mind for spreading the wealth into other endeavors, it was Linda who made the first real moves regarding WWE's charity efforts. Linda may be the only member of the immediate McMahon family to not have really contributed to the company's creative efforts, but she has always been the one to spearhead their charity organizations. In recent years, that role has fallen to Stephanie, who has emphasized using wrestling talent and non-financial assets as the featured player in many children's charities. For all of the negative light the WWE has received over the years, there is no denying that they've done their best to help the less fortunate.
7 The Family Spent Over $100 million on Linda’s Political Campaigns
As you may know, Linda McMahon has made a few failed bids for political office in recent years. As you also probably realize, running large campaigns for public office is a very expensive way to spend your free time. The only thing that takes the sting off of the elections is the fact that much of the money is usually supplied by party donors. In Linda McMahon’s case, much of the money came straight from the family coffers. Linda spent over $100 million of the family fortune on her political runs. This beat an old record set by Ross Perot in the mid-90s, which is especially impressive when you consider that he was running for president which is, ideally, a much more expensive prospect.
6 Shane McMahon Was Almost Conned Out of $20 Million
Just to show that Linda isn’t the only drain on the family bank account, let’s look at some of the other financial follies of the McMahons. Shane McMahon is generally regarded to have a pretty savvy business mind and enough ambition to make his own way in the world. Not all of his endeavors have been successes, but at least most of them have been legitimate businesses unlike the scam that almost cost him $20 million a few years ago. Apparently, Shane was one of many investors that were almost conned by a swindler who convinced them that they were going to be purchasing the rights to Maxim magazine. It was an incredibly elaborate scam that would have cost Shane big if the man hadn’t been caught at the last moment.
5 Vince McMahon Once Lost $350 Million In A Single Day
When it comes to losing money in the McMahon family, there is nobody that goes bigger than Vince himself. Vince is like many people with incredible wealth in that he sometimes alternates between losing and making fortunes on a yearly basis. That’s not unusual. What is unusual is to lose vast amounts of money on single days. Yet, this is what happened to Vince McMahon one faithful day in 2014 when WWE stock plummeted. Due to a variety of factors, Vince’s majority shares in the company were suddenly worth a lot less. When it was all said and done, he ended up dropping around $350 million in just 24 hours. This knocked him out of the billionaire ranks thus giving CM Punk some famous promo material.
4 They’re All Incredible Athletes
Just because the McMahons spend most of their time behind the scenes handling the business side of WWE doesn’t mean that they don’t stay in ring shape whenever possible. You probably already know about Triple H’s intense workout regimen, but he may pale in comparison to the work ethic of his wife. Stephanie is a true gym rat who once even hosted her own fitness program. Shane is not far behind as anyone who watched his training leading up to his match against The Undertaker at this year’s WrestleMania will tell you. Once again, however, it’s Vince that reigns king of the McMahon's in this department. Vince will supposedly break all but the most intense of athletes if they step into the gym with him.
Another interesting tidbit is that while the entire family is passionate about fitness and practically live in the gym, no one ever joins Vince for his workouts, saying he's too crazy.
3 Shane Was One of The Last People To Know Stephanie and Triple H Were Dating
When Triple H and Stephanie McMahon started dating, it shook up WWE both on-screen and behind the scenes. Even Stephanie and Triple H felt a little strange about dating despite their professional relationship. It seems one of their biggest worries was how other people were going to react. It’s why Triple H insisted on letting everyone from The Undertaker to Vince McMahon know what was going on so there was no confusion. They got blessings from everyone. Well, at least everyone they told. In a recent podcast interview, Shane McMahon revealed that he was not informed that Hunter and Stephanie were really dating until pretty late in the game. He admits that he would have certainly had reservations about the two of them, but that he still felt left out nonetheless.
2 Shane McMahon Left WWE To Save His and Vince’s Relationship
As anyone who has worked together for a number of years knows, it can be tough to be around someone in a professional environment for an extended period of time. Now, imagine spending a fairly decent amount of time with that person in your personal life as well. You would probably go crazy pretty quickly, and nobody would be there to blame you. Such is the situation that Vince and Shane McMahon eventually found themselves in.
Shane has since confessed that a big part of the reason he decided to leave WWE had to do with his desire to preserve his relationship with his father. While the two were not at each other’s throats all the time, Shane had a strong desire to step out of his father’s shadow and prove he was his own man.
1 Nobody is Entirely Sure Who Takes Over WWE When Vince Is Gone
Although members of major companies don’t like to openly discuss it, especially if those companies are family run, there is almost always a clear contingency plan in place if the boss dies or otherwise has to step down. That’s just responsible business. So far as anyone can tell, WWE has no such clear plan in place. While the company isn’t quite the Vince McMahon show that it was once upon a time, Vince is still clearly in charge. Popular wisdom says that the company goes to Stephanie and Triple H after that, but a recent series of rumors suggest that Vince has brought Shane back into the fold in order to stave off a takeover attempt by the couple. Then, you have factors like the board of directors and the company’s public shares to consider. As tight as this family is, things could go ugly when the company is on the line.
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