Vince McMahon is a figure that people love to hate, but love him or hate him, he is basically Mr. WWE. McMahon has done everything--an American professional wrestling promoter, former commentator, announcer, film producer, actor, and retired professional wrestler. And since taking over the company from his father in the 1980s, McMahon has basically run WWE. His family has always worked in the corporate area of the WWE, but today he’s best known for pulling the strings behind the scenes – and sometimes publicly.
McMahon currently serves as the majority owner, chairman, and CEO of the professional wrestling promotion. It’s his decisions that impact the sport, so in this respect, he can be considered to be one of the most influential, powerful figures in professional wrestling. But though he’s scripted some remarkable story lines during his time at the helm of the sport, things haven’t always gone to plan – or have but have caused quite a stir amongst the wrestling fraternity.
His business decisions in the sport have taken the popular sport to new heights. Wrestling has become a worldwide phenomenon under his reign, but this billionaire has also copped a lot of flak. Check out this article and discover more about McMahon’s best and worst choices in WWE.
16 Worst: XFL
Vince McMahon had made bold moves before, so by 2001, he felt he would make another one and decided to start a football league. He wanted to have a league that would fill the football void in the NFL's off months. The XFL wasn't a bad idea in theory, as Americans love football and would probably watch a quality league in the seven month window of no NFL games.
The main problem with the XFL was that Vince kept the relation between the WWE and the XFL so tightly knit. On the very first broadcast, you had The Rock hyping up the league and Vince McMahon coming out to midfield, saying in his Mr. McMahon tone "THIS IS THE XFL!"
Not to mention you had commentators like Jesse Ventura and Jerry Lawler, who were in no way qualified to be calling football games. Anybody who had something against pro wrestling wouldn't give this league a chance. Vince should have kept his worlds separate. The league would fold after one year, following NBC's decision not to renew their contract with the league.
15 Best: "You're Fired" Catchphrase
Vince made this saying his own. The famous “you’re fired” catchphrase was said on many instances. Whenever he had the opportunity to say it, out it came. But we wouldn’t have it any other way. As fans of the sport, it’s moments like this that we look forward to seeing. During his career, Vince has said those two famous words to the likes of Paul Heyman and Mick Foley. But one of the most memorable occasions is when Donald Trump entered the ring -- not in costume, but in his customary suit and tie of course -- and Vince said those two famous words, giving Trump a taste of his own medicine. Now, many famous bosses like Lord Alan Sugar are known for this saying. But the way it’s said when it leaves McMahon’s mouth -- with such anger and hatred -- has definitely been one of his better idiosyncrasies. Yooourrr’e Fiiirrrrrred!!
14 Worst: Brawl For All
In 1998, McMahon came up with a new idea -- Brawl for All, a shoot fighting (unscripted) tournament -- featuring 16 reasonably well-known wrestlers. None of the superstars of the time decided to partake in the event, and judging by what happened, they were wise to stay away. Each match, or brawl, consisted of three one-minute rounds. Win the first fight, you go into the second round, win that and it’s the semi-finals, then the finals. That’s what Bart Gunn did, but nobody really remembers who won because, as expected, the entire tournament was an utter fiasco. It left many of the competitors injured -- unsurprising since they’re all used to fighting in scripted, rehearsed events.
Wrestling fans who tuned in to see, well, wrestling, were left utterly confused, and those in attendance voiced their disapproval, chanting “boring” from their seats. It was an utter disgrace, an idea that may have looked good on paper but was embarrassing when it finally materialized. Needless to say, Bart Gunn remained the only winner of the only Brawl for All event.
13 Best: McMahon – Trump
The feud between Vince McMahon and American businessman Donald Trump definitely took the audience’s imagination. Vince has been terrific in involving many world-famous personalities from other walks of life into WWE, but when the fiery Trump entered the ring, there were fireworks. When two enormous egos clash -- McMahon and Trump --things are going to start unraveling, and quickly. Their in-ring confrontations were featured on an array of different media outlets, and served to bring wrestling to other audiences. It all began when Trump actually wanted to fight Vince himself – imagine the scenes if that ever occurred!!
However, they ended up picking an actual wrestler each as a fighting representative -- the gentlemanly way to settle a dispute. But they have used their fists, and Trump did actually give McMahon a slap. Not to worry though, as the two are actually great mates -- in real life at least -- with Vince donating huge sums of money to Trump’s presidential election campaign.
12 Worst: The “Kiss My Ass” Club
McMahon is known for his gimmicks, but occasionally he takes things a step too far. The Kiss My Ass club, created by McMahon in 2001, was nothing short of embarrassing. For the next seven years, fans found the in-ring antics of this club cringe-worthy. Viewers would tune in to see fighting, wrestling entertaining, scripted story lines, not to see the then 55-year-old McMahon dropping his pants and exposing his ass for all to see. However, Vince seemed to love it and thought it was a terrific idea and continued the club right through to 2008 – seven years too long.
Now, we appreciate that WWE needs to keep things fresh, keep pushing the envelope and developing new ideas to keep the fan base interested, but forming this club certainly took the biscuit. What many people found horrific was that he even got his own son to bend down and give him a peck on the cheek – butt cheek, that is! At least McMahon didn’t escape the literal ass-kissing – he was forced to kiss the ass of Rikishi. He certainly got his just deserts!
11 Best: Vince Wins The Championship
Though he is renowned as an owner, promoter, chief and booker, Vince also had a brief spell in the ring as an actual wrestler – he even won the championship in the fall of 1999. Now many of you may wonder what this is doing in the "best choices" section. It was a travesty, an injustice right? True, but it made for a terrific storyline – one of the best. The roster at the time was loaded with superstars; The Rock, Triple H, Steve Austin and the Undertaker were all fighting for the championship, but Vince, as only he can, manipulated the event and ended up winning it for himself. Stone Cold interfered and Vince even had his son, Shane, stand in as a special guest referee.
Of course, in the scripted sport of professional wrestling, this match was fixed and engineered by Vince. It worked and Vince’s name will be forever etched in the record books as a champion - the injustice of it all, but a great storyline!
10 Worst: Mae Young Gives Birth To A Rubber Hand
From the title alone, you can kind of grasp the idiocy of it all. The Mae Young giving birth storyline was certainly one of the most, if not THE most ridiculous story lines to have ever had the misfortune of coming out of WWE. God knows what Vince was thinking when he cooked up this story line. It makes me cringe just bringing it up again, but here it goes. Mae Young, actually a pretty decent wrestler, had the misfortune of being embroiled in a story line with Mark Henry. Basically, she got pregnant -- it was assumed Henry was the father -- and down the line she gave birth…to what appeared to be a rubber band. Yes, you read that correctly. This most definitely was one of the worst stories in WWE. Anyone looking in from the outside -- particularly those who were already skeptical of scripted wrestling -- and seeing this story transpire would likely have believed that wrestling was utterly ridiculous.
9 Best: Funny Times
Vince takes risks and we have to respect that. Yes, sometimes they end in disaster, but there have also been some hilarious moments that have had people in tears, rolling around laughing on the floor. One such moment was a story in which Vince had been hospitalized. As the boss of WWE, he was sure to receive plenty of visitors, but he wasn’t expecting these two unwanted guests to show up at his hospital door. Mick Foley, aka Mankind --now a comedian -- gave us a taste of his comedic prowess when he turned up at Vince’s bedside…. with a clown. For those of you who didn’t see it, it was side-splittingly hysterical.
Mankind gave Vince candy whilst the clown chose to cheer up the boss by blowing up balloons. Vince eventually had enough and threw them out, but his initial facial expression was priceless -- definitely one of the best story line choices he’s made in WWE.
8 Worst: The Divas Championship
This is by no means disrespecting the divas who competed in this championship. They weren’t at fault. But the entire concept of the Divas Championship was flawed right from the get-go. The WWE, and wrestling as a whole, isn’t a sport that holds women in a good light anyway. Bra and Panties matches, sexist comments and derogatory story lines don’t scream "take me seriously." But the inception of the Divas Championship -- this so-called "revolution" -- wasn’t so much a revolution, but a revelation as it gave the world an insight into what Vince and his company really thinks about women.
The fact the belt that the women were fighting for had a large pink butterfly on it meant that it was hard to take seriously. The women who competed certainly did take it seriously, so give them a serious belt to fight for -- not a kiddie’s belt that looked as if it was bought at the local toy store!
7 Best: The Beginning Of The Mr. McMahon Persona
It was in the 1996 season that McMahon first started to be referred to as the owner on TV whilst he was working as a commentator, and over the next two years, fans saw him morph into this egotistical figure -- not that he wasn’t before -- and saw him really begin to exert his dominance and make waves in the sport. Mr. McMahon was outed first by a fellow commentator whilst shooting a promotional video, and then by "best buddy" Stone Cold Steve Austin, who taunted the president and said that it was McMahon who was pulling all the strings. Over the next two years, McMahon would become more and more involved. He was regularly seen running into the ring, lecturing wrestlers, telling them what they could and couldn’t do. In one title fight, he even forced the referee to ring the bell on Hart, despite Bret Hart not being in any strife. It was now clear for all to see who was calling the shots -- Mr. McMahon had arrived.
6 Worst: His Refusal To Give New Faces A Shot
This one’s more of a general grievance regarding the entire way Vince runs the company. Vince is a man that seems stuck in his old ways. His refusal to breed new talent into the sport resulted in WWE becoming stale. Every week, viewers see the same people – the same people at the top, the same people holding onto the titles. John Cena, for example, a man who made his debut in 1999, is still thought of as the golden boy of the WWE.
Deservedly so, no qualms there, but new people need to be trusted to take over the mantle. There have been plenty in the past who have come and gone, flattered to deceive or have captured the fan’s imaginations, only to be dropped a moment later. Give the fans a new figure to cheer, Vince! The likes of Cena and Orton have been a credit to the WWE, but their time will eventually come to a close, and when they walk away, WWE is going to be left in a hole.
5 Best: The Attitude Era
The period in the late 1990s, dubbed the Attitude Era, was arguably one of the best in wrestling – kudos has to go to Vince. He sensed that times were changing, that the fans were demanding something new: new story lines, new superstars and just an entirely new angle to freshen things up. Vince delivered and gave the fans what they wanted. Scripted events directed towards a more hardened, cynical fan base became commonplace. More adult-oriented material, some may say bringing the sport into the next century, began to adorn our TV screens, and consequently viewing figures and takings on pay-per-view events went through the roof. But the period was also notable for the standard of wrestling, as it improved dramatically during this period.
The concept worked from a business sense but also appealed to the fans. It became so popular, it actually caused Extreme Championship Wrestling to file for bankruptcy, and for WCW to sell the company to their rivals, leaving Vince’s company with no competition. Instead of floundering and taking it easy after that, the company flourished.
4 Worst: Fake Razor And Diesel
There’s a way of making a point. As the chief, if Vince wanted to make a point, he should have done it in a grown-up, dignified way. But when Kevin Nash and Scott Hall left for WCW, Vince certainly threw his toys out of the pram. Vince was adamant that it was he who had made them and that everything in their careers could be solely attributed to him. But they weren’t having it and left anyway, so what does Vince do? He plays dress up, that’s what. He himself didn’t ditch the suit and tie and don on a costume. He got two actors to do the deed – the Fake Razor and Fake Diesel duo.
At the time, many people thought it would be a one-time thing. But the gimmick lasted for months. He had them interviewed, take part in promo shoots – you name it, Vince had them do it. It was an utter farce – not one of Vince’s proudest moments.
3 Best: McMahon Versus Austin
Bringing this story line into WWE was nothing short of genius. It proved to be hugely entertaining, and McMahon’s persona during the feud made it a great watch for the fans. Stone Cold Steve Austin was the anti-hero type figure at the time. He wanted to do what he wanted to do and regularly stuck it to his boss – Vince McMahon. The crowds loved it, and Vince bowed down and accepted everything with good grace – he knew it was what the fans wanted to see.
Vince deserved an Oscar for his performance portraying the fool. Who can forget the time the Austin-McMahon rivalry escalated into a beer throwing match. Vince and his son were doused with beer by the scowling Austin – seeing the McMahons splashing about in beer was certainly a sight to behold and just goes to show that Vince isn’t above making a fool of himself, if it means the ratings will go up.
2 Worst: The CM Punk – McMahon Feud
CM Punk, the longest-reigning WWE Champion of the modern era, having held the title for 434 days, is undoubtedly a legend of the sport. But during his reign at the top – during his whole career for that matter – Punk and McMahon just did not get along. There was plenty of trash-talk dished up from both sides, the majority of which came from Punk who felt he was being subjected to unfair treatment at the hands of Vince, and many think that he was just in his criticisms. Because of his credentials, you would expect Punk to have gotten top billing at all the major WWE shows, right?
Well this wasn’t the case. It appeared that if you’re not in tight with the boss, forget about being the main man. John Cena was certainly the golden boy in WWE during Punk’s reign, as was Randy Orton, title or no title, and was even ranked higher than Punk.
1 Best: WrestleMania
It's pretty simple; if Vince McMahon never introduced WrestleMania, you wouldn't be watching wrestling today. For so long, the business revolved around territories and did not have the national attention, much less the international attention it has today. Vince McMahon reportedly put everything on the line when he came up with the idea of WrestleMania.
Booking Madison Square Garden, hiring celebrities to play a role and broadcasting the event on closed circuit television drove the bill up so high that if the event failed, Vince's company would have been doomed. We are now 32 years past the day that McMahon came up with this idea and it remains his greatest creation.