The story of how Vince McMahon bought the WWE from his dad, Vincent J. McMahon has been fairly well documented. He began working for the WWWF in 1969 and started promoting in Maine during 1971. It would be over a decade later that he would purchase he rest of the Capitol Wrestling Company from his dad. The condition was that he would have to continue to make payments to the partners; which included Arnold Skaaland and Gorilla Monsoon, otherwise control of the company would revert back to them instead of Vince. With the gamble and huge success of the first WrestleMania, McMahon made a massive balloon payment to the partners and became the sole owner.
But what if it didn’t work? What if the WWE and Hulkamania didn’t run wild through the eighties and onward into the Attitude Era and beyond? Certainly, the industry as a whole would be a vastly different landscape. Perhaps guys like the Rock and Dave Batista might not have been afforded the Hollywood opportunities they received. An entire generation of wrestlers and wrestling fans could have been lost. With all due respect to the Chairman; based on his other ventures, the WWE is the anomaly. A juggernaut of a success story standing atop a mountain of failures that existed outside the WWE bubble. Here’s 10 Times Vince McMahon Failed Outside Of Wrestling.
10 World Bodybuilding Federation
If you’ve ever watched the WWE in...about ever, then you know full well that Vince McMahon is a huge bodybuilding enthusiast. He himself has the physique of a Greek god. In 1990, the Chairman thought it would be a good idea to start his own Bodybuilding league and give it the WWE flare.
The WBF was born. After a low buy rate for a few PPVs, Vince McMahon learned pretty quickly that the WWE Universe wasn’t coming along for the ride, and neither were die-hard fans of pumping iron.
9 The Original XFL
In early 2001, the WWE was riding a wave of success that made it seem the company was invincible. The company was heading into WrestleMania X7. Both ECW and WCW were about to be absorbed into the fold, and in February, the fruits of two years’ worth of labor was about to payoff for the company.
The debut of the XFL, Vince’s attempt to own his own football league came into fruition. The idea was nearly DOA before it started, and detractors were already questioning the validity of the games. Hopefully, Vince has learned from his mistakes here, otherwise the league’s relaunch next year will be added to this list.
8 ICO Pro
When you’re trying to start your own Bodybuilding fed, it might be a good idea to have at least one Bodybuilding supplement to try and market to the masses. If you’re Vince McMahon, you even have the outlet of the WWE to push your product. That’s why old school fans probably remember superstars like Bret Hart strutting through the WWE gym telling us about the Integrated Conditioning Program known as ICOPro.
The supplements were marketed for several years. You’d have to believe that somewhere in Stamford, is a warehouse full of 20-year old powders and power bars.
7 Black Saturday
While the promotion existed for nearly forty years, Georgia Championship Wrestling was on the TBS Superstation throughout the seventies and eighties before Vince bought the promotion and its air time from the Brisco brothers. On July 14, 1984 the wrestling landscape nearly changed forever, years before Vince bought WCW. TBS aired WWE programming on the network for nearly a year.
Due to poor ratings and Georgia fan backlash, Vince sold the air time to Jim Crockett, a day before the inaugural WrestleMania. The sale helped pay for that event and helped pave the way for JCP and the NWA to return to the Superstation.
6 The World Restaurant
Wrestling and food can go together, Abdullah the Butcher had a restaurant in Atlanta. Mega fans in Japan go to Ribera Steakhouse and fans in America can flock to Jimmy’s Famous Seafood. It’s not completely out of left field that Vince would want to become a restaurateur.
The Chairman rented out one of the most expensive spots in New York to have a WWE-themed restaurant in the heart of Times Square. The spot held PPV parties and showed UK-only PPVs for free. It was renamed The World due the lawsuit with the Wildlife WWF. After a few years, the company packed up and left the restaurant business to the experts.
5 The WWE Casino
Imagine a world where you could just up and buy a casino on a whim. That’s the absurd life Vince McMahon leads. He leaped at a possible opportunity in 1998 when he and Titan Sports won an auction for the Debbie Reynolds Casino. Fans would get greeted by old timers like Bob Backlund. They’d be treated to the developmental system that became NXT in the bowels of the Casino.
They’d eat at JR’s House Of Ribs, get inked up at the Deadman’s tattoo shop. Have a couple brewskies at the Rattlesnake Bar And Grill. The possibilities were limitless - until Vince realized that they were. When the family realized they wouldn’t be able to put their heart and soul into running a casino, they abandoned their plans and sold the property.
4 Cape Cod Buccaneers
Prior to the XFL, the WBF, or even the WWE, Vince McMahon owned a hockey team. He owned short-lived Atlantic Coast Hockey League team; the Cape Cod Buccaneers. The team was founded in 1981 and folded in 1982.
The lessons McMahon learned here helped him run the team that he was destined to run - the WWE roster.
3 Promoting Evel Knievel
Evel Knievel is the greatest daredevil that ever lived. Guys like Ricochet and Rey Mysterio are nowhere near the level that the famed Knievel was. While he had no wrestling ambitions, Vince McMahon still helped the guy promote his 1974 stunt - jumping Snake River Canyon on his Skycycle X2 Rocket.
When ABC networks, and no other network for that matter wanted to invest in the project, McMahon and several others brought the attempt to Closed-Circuit. The debacle forced Vince and Linda to file bankruptcy.
2 Coliseum Owner
That’s fine for a minor league NHL team but not the grandiose stages the WWE works on. When the league folded, the stadium ran a few House Shows before the McMahons sold it to a Christmas Tree store.
1 No Holds Barred
Yes, No Holds Barred is the best Hulk Hogan movie, but that doesn’t say much, brother. The movie didn’t do very well in theaters, barely making half of its budget.
That isn’t bad, but it certainly didn’t become the runaway success anyone thought it would be, shelving any immediate plans for the eventual WWE Studios.