WWE chairman Vince McMahon has turned the world of professional wrestling into a global phenomenon and powerhouse.
But as is the case with any successful sports entertainer, McMahon has hit plenty of bumps in the road. The good has largely outweighed the bad in his four decades as WWE chairman, but there are a handful of blunders that the wrestling world won't ever forget.
Here are five instances where McMahon made the right decision, and five times where he made the wrong one.
10 Right Choice: Handpicking Hulk Hogan
When Vince began to build up the WWE in the late '70s and early '80s, he needed that one superstar to build the product around. He needed the face of the franchise; the guy who would give fans a reason to tune in.
McMahon liked what he saw in Hulk Hogan and decided to push him as the main event star, and it worked to perfection. Hogan quickly got over as the patriotic hero and ultimate good guy. Every kid who watched wrestling in the '80s and early '90s came to love Hogan, who helped put WWE on the map with his lovable and charming personality. Without Hogan leading the way, who knows if WWE would have become such a worldwide success?
9 Wrong Choice: Pushing Roman Reigns
WWE made a bold decision to split The Shield midway through 2014. After they got through The Shield, Seth Rollins backstabbed Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose by aligning himself with the Triple H-led Authority.
After The Shield split, Vince decided it was time to make Reigns the new face of WWE, with John Cena slowly fading out of that role. Reigns was booed after winning the 2015 Royal Rumble, and he wound up headlining four straight WrestleManias - which led to plenty of outcry from the WWE Universe.
Reigns simply wasn't ready for such a big push, and WWE tried rushing and forcing it down our throats. In the meantime, the likes of Ambrose, AJ Styles, Finn Balor, Shinsuke Nakamura, and Kevin Owens had to take a backseat to Reigns even though they were more over with the fans.
8 Right Choice: Buying Out WCW
WCW went to war with WWE in the '90s, and Eric Bischoff and Ted Turner nearly pushed Vince and his company out of business. But thanks to some crafty business decisions - led by constant mistakes by WCW - McMahon was able to fight off his competition and run away with a victory in the "Monday Night Wars."
Rather than give WCW a chance to rebuild and save their own product, he got them at their mercy and agreed to buy out the rival company in 2001. Vince got his hands on the WCW library plus most of their prominent superstars. He even hired Bischoff to take over as general manager of Raw, which also turned out to be a genius idea.
7 Wrong Choice: Burying WCW Superstars
When McMahon bought out the rival company, a long list of former WCW talents "invaded" the WWE. This included Hulk Hogan, Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, Ric Flair, Booker T, and Goldberg, among others.
There were a million ways WWE could have run an "Invasion" angle, but Vince apparently saw it as a way to remind everybody that he won the Monday Night Wars. Practically all WCW superstars were buried by WWE talents (Goldberg and Booker T were buried by Triple H, Scott Steiner poorly booked, etc.)
Vince rushed through the angle, which only lasted about half a year, and it ended when Team WWF defeated The Alliance in the main event of Survivor Series 2001.
6 Right Choice: Pushing John Cena
A nagging neck injury forced 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin to retire in 2003, and The Rock left a year later to embark on a successful Hollywood career. That forced McMahon to move quickly in finding his new face of the franchise, and he turned to veteran mid-card performer John Cena.
Cena's charisma and superb microphone skills made him a fan favorite in a short time. His big push started when he defeated JBL to win the WWE Championship at WrestleMania 21, and Cena never looked back.
He would take over as the top main event star in WWE, headlining countless pay-per-views - including five WrestleManias. Cena spent about a decade as the top superstar in WWE, successfully replacing the shoes of Austin and The Rock. He's tied with Ric Flair for the most world title reigns (16).
5 Wrong Choice: The XFL
Twenty years ago, McMahon founded the XFL with a simple mission: provide football fans with entertainment during the NFL offseason. The league launched its inaugural season in 2001 and fielded eight teams.
McMahon tried having more fun with the XFL by scrapping the point after rules, allowing more physical play from defenders and having players wear nicknames on the back of their jerseys. The XFL only lasted one season; both the league and NBC lost a reported $35 million.
However, Vince announced the XFL's relaunch in Jan. 2018, and the league is scheduled to start up again in Feb. 2020. We'll see if he has more luck with it this time around.
4 Right Choice: WrestleMania
McMahon launched WrestleMania for the first time on Mar. 31, 1985 at Madison Square Garden. In short, it turned out to be a complete game-changer for Vince and the sports entertainment world.
Over three decades later, WrestleMania remains one of the largest sporting events in the world. It brings the company tens of millions of dollars every year. It's watched by millions across the planet. And without WrestleMania, WWE wouldn't be the global industry that we all know and love today.
3 Wrong Choice: How Bret Hart Left
Bret Hart was one of the top faces in WWE during the '90s, and he signed a 20-year contract with the company in Oct. 1996. However, McMahon decided he couldn't afford the contract and convinced Hart to take a better opportunity up with WCW. The latter reluctantly agreed.
Hart wanted to leave WWE on a high note, and he and Vince came up with the perfect plan: Hart would defeat real-life and on-screen rival Shawn Michaels at Survivor Series 1997 in Montreal, Canada for the World Heavyweight Championship (his home country). Hart would then relinquish the title before leaving for WCW.
Instead, McMahon conspired with Triple H, Michaels, referee Earl Hebner, and others to double-cross Hart. HBK locked in the Sharpshooter submission maneuver, and the bell was rung to signal a victory for Michaels - even though Hart never tapped out. It was a horrible and unfair way to treat one of his most loyal superstars.
The two patched things up in 2010, and Hart defeated Vince at WrestleMania XXVI to officially bury the hatchet once and for all.
2 Right Choice: Launching Attitude Era
When WCW began to take the lead in the Monday Night Wars, Vince had his back against the wall. Some of his top main event talents - including Hogan, Randy Savage, Ultimate Warrior, Nash, Hall and Lex Luger - were in WCW. Vince needed some new talents to work around.
He and Vince Russo decided to ditch the heroes/villains comic book product and transition towards an adult-oriented product. That's where 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin, The Rock, D-Generation X, Kane, Mankind, and The Undertaker began to see their careers take off.
Wrestling fans were suddenly more entertained with the change, and in short time, WWE moved ahead of WCW in the ratings war. Thanks especially to Austin, DX and Rock, WWE built more momentum and never looked back. If he didn't rebuild his product, McMahon would have probably lost to WCW and thus be forced out of the wrestling business.
1 Wrong Choice: Fake Death & Chris Benoit Tribute
The June 11, 2007 episode of Raw saw the WWE chairman enter an exploding limousine, and WWE ran the controversial "death of Mr. McMahon" storyline. There was a "memorial" planned for Vince two weeks later, but WWE instead performed a tribute to Chris Benoit, who was found dead along with wife Nancy and son Daniel in their Fayetteville, Georgia home.
Well, an investigation later determined that Benoit had killed his wife and child before taking his own life, so they made a horrible mistake in paying tribute to him. The timing of an already controversial "Mr. McMahon death" storyline didn't help matters at all.