Many people love to hate Vince for a number of reasons; he’s done a lot of good interspersed with some terrible cringe-worthy moments, but a lot of wrestling fans love to hate on him mainly because he loves to hate. From time to time, there’ll be a wrestler, either having just risen through the ranks or an established professional, that gets knocked down a peg or two by the man that has the most clout in the business – Vince McMahon. Sometimes it appears that for no rhyme or reason, a wrestler’s career gets destroyed or stifled, and it can usually be attributed to Vince. Fans are baffled when they see one of their favorite wrestlers fall by the wayside, even after treating the profession with respect and doing their job sincerely. But if the boss doesn’t like you and has it in for you for whatever reason, it’s time to start packing the bags – many wrestlers have felt Vince’s wrath and have been pushed out of the company, finding success elsewhere.
These are the wrestlers that Vince was constantly at loggerheads with – wrestlers Vince McMahon loved to hate. The question is, was the hate justified or not or are these cases of backroom bullying?
Chyna essentially fell out of favor with Vince ever since she discovered that Triple H and his daughter Stephanie were having an affair. When Chyna found out, she immediately went to Vince and told him about the situation, but for some reason Vince was less than happy with her meddling. They had a heated discussion, after which Chyna showed up for work the next week in tears. Vince, seemingly being compassionate and loving, sent Chyna home and told her they would sort things out and work on putting together a new contract.
But when she did get home, Chyna received a fax from Vince, notifying her that her contract had been terminated, to stay at home and that her services at the company were no longer needed. Needless to say Chyna then lost it with Vince, abusing him on social media over the years and even challenging him to a fight. Apparently Chyna tried to get back into WWE but Vince blocked every possible route for her back into the company. Sadly a return will now never happen with Chyna passing away this year.
14 Jesse Ventura
Vince loves his money -- you don’t become a billionaire without making some ruthless decisions. Therefore, Vince had no problems hating on certain wrestlers and taking things to court if it meant protecting his investment. Jesse Ventura was to bear the brunt of this financial muscle, but surprisingly came out the other side of the legal proceedings, something that angered Vince to no end. It all began years ago in the 80s during contract negotiations. Vince said he didn’t pay out royalties, a statement that was to come back and bite Vince in the rear when the courts found he was being deceitful.
Jesse won in the courtroom and is now entitled to royalties from WWE when the company refers to him or sells products with his name. This infuriated Vince, who has since done his best to eradicate Jesse from WWE whenever he can – he doesn’t want to pay out a penny to one of the few men that went toe to toe with him in the courtroom and won.
This was a tumultuous relationship right from the start, and it’s got to be said that it appeared as if both Nailz and Vince were at fault in this one. In his three-year career with the company, there were tales of bribery, backroom fighting and bullying, and even court appearances -- whether it was all true and Vince’s doing we’ll never know, but it’s no wonder Vince hated Nailz and eventually released him from his contract in 1992 considering there was so much turmoil.
It started when Nailz thought he was getting the short end of the stick – he thought Vince had it in for him after receiving a measly pay check for his work at SummerSlam. He paid Vince a visit, entered his office and allegedly screamed at him for 15 minutes, knocked him over and violently choked him. This started a series of lawsuits, during which other things were alleged, such as Vince’s involvement in the murky world of underground steroid dealing. Needless to say, Nailz was let go after Vince was found not guilty. Whether Vince hated Nailz before this incident or not we’ll never know, but no wonder he hated his guts after all the legal proceedings had taken place.
12 The Headbangers
The Attitude Era was one of the best periods in professional wrestling history, mainly because of the wrestlers it brought to the fore, but also for the gripping, immersive story lines. It was a memorable era, but there were also a lot of awful, uninspiring, cringe-worthy gimmicks. The Headbangers were one such gimmick – a gimmick that just didn’t work out for Vince and the company. The tag team consisted of Mosh and Thrasher, a pair of metalheads who won the Tag Team Championship, but Vince thought that they weren’t worthy of such a title. They came under immense criticism and apparently, Vince barely spoke to them during their time with the company. Mosh has said that Vince was utterly ruthless and didn’t think twice when it came time to slamming the door in their faces. The Headbangers have gone on record to say that Vince will just disregard you if he does not like you – it's unlikely that these ex-champions will ever be Hall of Famers.
11 Tyler Breeze
If Vince thinks nothing of your wrestling ability, it’s only a matter of time before you begin to slide down the pecking order, start making sporadic appearances and eventually fade away into the abyss. Breeze’s career hasn’t quite taken that route, but judging by the way things have been going of late, it’s certainly getting there. The Tyler Breeze gimmick just hasn’t worked. He started out pretty decently competing with the company's developmental territory NXT, but when he was promoted to the WWE’s main roster in 2015, that’s when things started going downhill.
I think it’s safe to say that Vince hates the package Breeze has brought to WWE. In 2016 he went on a winless streak for over 20 televised matches and the gimmick of the selfie stick just wasn’t cutting it. It seems as if Vince has begun the process of pushing Breeze out of WWE – he’s begun the descent down the card. On a positive note, McMahon has taken to Breeze as a tag-team talent; Breezeango is going pretty strong at this point.
10 The Ultimate Warrior
Vince hated The Ultimate Warrior. Again, it was because of a pay dispute. In 1991, James Hellwig demanded more money from Vince -- $550,000 for appearing at WrestleMania VII, including additional add-ons such as money for travel, accommodation, and a higher percentage of merchandise sales. He ended the letter he sent to Vince with these words: "Whatever your decision, I can and will live with it. Till then, I remain home with one who cares." Threatening to stay at home was the mistake. It appeared everything was rosy between the two and amazingly, Vince accepted the demands, singing Hellwig’s praises and saying that he was an integral “member of the WWE family, and his friend."
But after the 1991 SummerSlam event, Vince, as only Vince can do, backtracked and sent Hellwig his suspension letter, claiming he only agreed to the demands to get him to perform at SummerSlam. This was hatred that got personal for Vince – he hated Hellwig until just before Hellwig’s death in 2014. That's why a DVD was released in the mid 2000s called "The Self-Destruction of The Ultimate Warrior."
9 The Road Warriors
The Road Warriors tag team consisting of Michael "Hawk" Hegstrand and Joseph "Animal" Laurinaitis has been very vocal about its treatment at the hands of Vince. Vince apparently despised the duo because they spoke their minds and weren’t afraid to voice their opinions backstage as well as out in the public. Vince likes people to shut up and do as they’re told -- to be puppets in his hands -- so if anyone goes against his preferred method of running things, it sparks doom for their careers. That’s certainly what happened when The Road Warriors had their second stint with the company.
Hawk, before his death, even went on record to say that Vince had a vendetta against them, and made their time at the company utter hell. They were desperate to get a full-time contract with WWE, but with Vince blocking their progress, nothing became of it and Animal faded away onto the independent scene – sadly Hawk died of a sudden heart attack in 2003.
8 Jeff Jarrett
Jarrett has held a total of 77 championships during the course of his career – a career that’s spanned three decades and is still ongoing – with various wrestling promotions across the globe. It’s a remarkable career, the stuff of legends, but his time at WWE with Vince at the helm of the company in 1999 was anything but smooth.
It all started around the 1999 No Mercy and the hate stemmed from a contract dispute, which was essentially Vince’s fault. As the boss, Vince was meant to be on top of things, but he forgot that Jarrett’s contract had expired. Boy, did he have to shell out for that mistake and pay the price - $300,000 to be exact. Jarrett held the title at the time, which he would have taken with him to Nitro. Vince, therefore, needed Jarrett to wrestle and drop the title to someone else before he left. After much persuading, Jarrett accepted, but on one condition – he wanted $300,000 for the match. Vince had no option but to accept, and hated Jarrett for it. He became even more infuriated when it was later revealed that Jarrett may have purposefully extended his title run so that he knew he’d be able to extort Vince for the money.
Bill Goldberg had a pretty successful career despite constantly being disliked by Vince McMahon. He’s gone on record to say that he actually regretted joining WWE because of the way he was treated by the boss and his cronies. Vince has always been in tight with Triple H, so if one is hating on someone, it’s almost inevitable that the other will dream up some kind of dispute and hate on him too. Who started off hating on Goldberg – Triple H or Vince – we’ll never know, but what we do know is that as his career progressed, Vince began to seriously hate on Goldberg and became increasingly disillusioned with the Goldberg gimmick.
It’s been suggested by various people in the business at the time that this hate stemmed from Goldberg’s inability to be a team player, the fact that he was unwilling to put other wrestlers over. Even though Vince does, Triple H rarely hates people for no reason, so who knows? Perhaps there’s more to it than just a gimmick that was wearing thin.
6 Randy Savage
Vince hated the Macho Man for a number of reasons. Vince usually only needs one to destroy a career, so give Vince multiple reasons and you’re really going to awaken Vince’s dark side. The first reason was that Savage left WWE for WCW in 1994. Despite putting on a brave face, wishing Savage all the best and thanking Savage for his contributions to the company, it was said that Vince was fuming backstage because Savage had gone back on his word and left the company.
The second reason was because of the long-standing rumor that Savage had slept with Vince’s daughter, Stephanie McMahon. Apparently Vince only found out about this years after bidding Savage farewell from the company, but it only served to add fuel to the fire – a fire that was already red hot and burning deep. Stephanie was only 17 at the time of the alleged affair – needless to say, many fathers would feel the same intense hatred in the same situation.
Sadly, Savage and WWE never patched things up and he passed away in 2011. He was posthumously inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2015.
5 Daniel Bryan
While it may be a stretch to say Vince HATED Bryan, there's no doubt there was some resentment, as Vince refused to believe Bryan was "the guy".
The fans loved Bryan during his time with WWE and boy did they let everyone know it. It’s not often that Vince caves in to demands, especially when he hates a wrestler, but Bryan’s fan-following was so strong that he was forced to give in, igniting the flame and making Vince hate Bryan even more. Since Bryan was a fan favorite, it’s unclear why Vince had no faith in him. But in 2013, during an episode of RAW, it was evident that cracks had started to form in their relationship. It all began when Triple H – one of Vince’s favorites – was cutting a promo, but it was Bryan who was sending the fans wild.
Firstly, Vince had never been a fan of Bryan so the fact that Bryan had started a fan frenzy when it was Triple H’s moment left Vince frothing at the mouth. He then kept Bryan out of the Royal Rumble match and was seemingly going to leave him out of the main event of WrestleMania. The fans were certainly vocal in letting Vince know their thoughts. Because of the fan pressure, Vince used his head and put his ego aside to put Bryan in the event.
4 Hulk Hogan
Vince McMahon has no other relationship, like the one he has with Hulk Hogan. For nearly 40 years this duo has had a love/hate relationship, which has resulted in multiple stints of bad blood between the two men. At its core, the connection the two men have is that each of them claims responsibility for the success of the WWE, and to an extent wrestling itself. Because of this fact, both men have egos the size of an arena, which has led to Hogan departing the company four separate times; two of which saw Hogan competing directly against McMahon in WCW and TNA respectively.
Hogan often complained of payoffs after leaving WWE, arguing that he should have been paid as much as a top star despite his older age. While his point is valid, McMahon would rather terminate the contract of the largest figure in wrestling, than feed into his ego it would seem.
3 Bret Hart
Bret signed a contract in 1996 that – if all went according to plan – would have kept him at the company for the next 20 years. Needless to say, things didn’t go according to plan, and a year into his contract, things began to turn sour. Vince did his best to get Hart to leave the company. He came up with a plethora of reasons as to why he couldn’t adhere to Hart’s contract demands, didn’t pay his full salary, and in the end, Hart had no choice but to bid the company farewell.
Vince loved to antagonize Hart and knew how to push his buttons, often leaving him in the shadows while Shawn Michaels took center stage. Vince twisted the screws even further during Hart’s last ever match with WWE – what would become infamously known as the Montreal Screwjob. Vince cheated Hart out of the title, and Hart left the company with a bitter taste in his mouth – but not before getting some form of retaliation and spitting on and punching Vince before embarking on a career with WCW.
2 Rob Van Dam
Here’s another legend of the sport, but Vince and RVD would butt heads often, ever since he began refusing to go along with the program. Problems began to surface after RVD backed out of a tour to Iraq – a tour that was meant to bring some entertainment to the troops fighting in the war-torn country at the time. The tour was set to take place over the Christmas break, but RVD, instead of fulfilling his obligations, made no apologies about wanting to stay at home, enjoy some time off and put his feet up for a while. This really riled Vince up, and after his pleading and reasoning fell on deaf ears, things came to a head when RVD wanted to fight it out with Vince.
It’s alleged that RVD went to the head of talent relations to get out of the trip, and he eventually got his wish, but it’s said that because of this incident, Vince grew resentful of RVD.
1 CM Punk
This was perhaps one of the longest, most epic feuds in WWE history. There are many theories as to why Vince despised Punk. Perhaps it was because Punk loved to trash-talk and wasn’t afraid to voice his opinions. But it was the way Punk’s contract was terminated that definitely goes to show just how much Vince resented Punk. He was let go by Vince and the company on his wedding day of all days – coincidence according to Vince. Yeah right Vince. It was unquestionably a deliberate ploy by the boss, but this just enhanced Punk’s popularity, making Vince steam at the ears even more. Punk has secured his legacy as one of the company’s best and most popular wrestlers, but who knows how much more he could have accomplished had he had Vince cheering by his side.
Vince claims to have had a good relationship with Punk, but clearly there was always some resentment due to the fact Punk got over without the WWE's help.