Trivia / Vince McMahon

  • Actor-Shared Background: Like Austin always said, "the best character is yourself turned up to 11". Vince is always at 11.
    • Vince grew up in a trailer park in North Carolina with his mother and a series of stepfathers; one was an alcoholic who regularly beat Vince with "anything he could get his hands on." Vince would later lament in a Playboy interview that he thought it was "unfortunate that he died before I could kill him. I would have enjoyed that." In the same article, he talked about the fact that he was sexually abused by his mother.

      His upbringing seems to go a long way towards explaining his more erratic behavior (like the incest storylines he kept trying to do...and the one he actually did).
    • Meanwhile, Vince's on-screen character is himself both mentally and physically abusive towards his kids when he's really being nasty. He's even wrestled them - his son Shane numerous times, and his daughter Stephanie a few days before her Real Life wedding to Triple H (that little stunt got him uninvited for their reception; pro wrestling isn't just Serious Business in the ring, it seems).
    • His daughter Stephanie confirmed that he wanted to use her first pregnancy to push an incest storyline, with him as the father [!]. Even stranger, this was apparently Vince's cathartic attempt to work through his childhood trauma.
    • In Real Life, Vince climbed to the top of the wrestling business by, essentially, carpet-bombing said business by freezing out his competitors (via strong-arming the networks into not airing any other promotions or else he would pull WWF off their channels), locking out the big arenas (intimidating arena mangers into being WWF/WWE-exclusive), and raiding the top talent from every promotion in North America. Years later, even Vince admitted that killing the territories was a mistake. Nowadays the WWE is put into the position of finding new performers and training them from scratch. Also, to put it in perspective, the now-defunct NA territorial system employed thousands of prospective performers; the WWE employs a few hundred.
    • It was later revealed that WWE is now actively attempting to kill Ring of Honor, a promotion that had consistently managed to work around WWE's attempts to make entire cities and states host nothing but WWE for extended periods of time since at least 2010, by running shows at ROH arenas to try and squeeze them out. WWE has also tried to put organizations such as WWN, of which ROH is a former member and former ROH booker Gabe Sapolsky remained a long term figure in, under its thumb to control their merchandise deals after WWE officials discovered in 2015 that Kevin Steen had action figures made of himself while in Ring of Honor and that ROH was still making money off of those dolls even after Steen became a WWE employee was independently contracted to WWE. The message the US independent circuit should pickup is that McMahon is still trying to reduce the number of areas you can work in and is also trying to limit the ways you can supplement your income or revenue outside of his bubble.
  • Author Appeal:
    • Vince is an old pro who still clings to the notion of kayfabe. While Vince Russo proved there is such a thing as too much audience awareness, Vince forbids his commentators from even calling out moves. Instead, it's "What a maneuver!" and "Look at that move!" As a result, the play-by-play is pretty samey despite Cole and Bradshaw's efforts to make it work.
    • It's historically known that Vince loves big, muscular men, and he will push them, regardless of talent.
      • As of 2015, the current most popular person on the shoe is Dean Ambrose. Saying he's not 'over' is irrational because you HEAR the crowd chanting his name. Instead Vince turns to the guy he wishes he could be: long hair, blue eyes [fake], built like a quarterback. Except for a random awful backstage segment or two, Roman segments eat almost all of the live promo time.

        Could you imagine how good Owens/Ambrose promos could be? Two of your best mic guys and all they get in a month is a popcorn-throwing segment? (Put another way, if you had an excavator and a Ferrari, wouldn't you rather race in the excavator and dig with the Ferrari? It's just how things are done in Stamford, Connecticut.)
      • Brakkus and Chris Masters would seem to be aversions of this, as the former only got a few TV appearances and the latter got pushed as hard as possible without ever winning a title in his first run, then came back much better, got somewhat over, yet was given jobber duty.
      • Of course Masters came back much smaller because he had stopped taking steroids. Make of that what you will.
      • Vince's inclination towards muscular was more apparent in the 80's where they were pushed even if they had talent but were forced to hide it (Hulk Hogan), or like some, had no skill in the ring (Ultimate Warrior). As time went on, smaller yet more talented wrestlers were given chances. At this point, Vince tends to push charisma over everything else, in-ring talent included.
    • Another factor, arguably as huge, is Vince's sexism. So long as he calls the shots, it's gonna be size zeroes and bikini models with little regard for the Divas' actual in-ring prowess. For every Trish Stratus, there are 100 Kelly Kellys.
    • This, too, could be changing: According to CM Punk, Vince was appalled when he heard women were going to start competing in UFC. Punk warned him it was going to be the next big thing. Sure enough, Ronda Rousey found her way on WrestleMania a year later, albeit feuding with Stephanie, the deadliest woman in professional sports citation needed.
    • Technical wrestlers are his more personal appeal, as the big men usually only get titles when they are over, and the practice pre-dates the current Vince. Solid wrestlers, though, will usually get pushed to the upper midcard. Either way, high-flyers tend to get the short end of the stick.
    • We're not finished yet. It has been said that, with some (but not very many) exceptions, he insists on people being of a certain height. Two-time World Heavyweight Champion Rey Mysterio Jr. would suggest otherwise, but Mysterio is probably the second most popular wrestler in the company at the time of this writing, behind only John Cena. That being said, when WCW folded, it took his entire creative staff pushing him for him to sign Mysterio to a very low minimum guarantee.
      • Part of the "bigger guys" thing is simply that they have more of a physical presence, since it's easier to make a guy look intimidating when he's bigger or taller (and it gives the announcers a go-to factoid to repeat during a dull part in a match.) While WWE isn't filled with complete giants right now, most of the wrestlers considered "average-sized" by WWE standards (guys not pushed as giants, such as Cena, Edge, Morrison) are at least 6'2" and over 220 pounds, which is considered above average for the typical man. The only really prominent smaller guys are Mysterio and Evan Bourne, who are closer to the American average of 5'9" (Mysterio is in fact considerably shorter than that).
    • Vince McMahon would rather sell a fart joke than a body slam. Raw is a reflection of this reality. He also has a penchant for skeezy storylines: WWE tends to float a feces-related angle concerning the McMahons once every few years. It’s almost WWE’s duty. (hehe.)
      • He also OK'd the Katie Vick saga, probably the most horrible storyline to feature on a pre-watershed television programme. Made worse by the fact it was played for laughs.
  • Creator Backlash: While Vince McMahon appreciated everything Mick Foley did for his company, he really hated Foley's famous Hell-in-a-Cell-Match from the 1998 King of the Ring. In fact, he mentioned on an episode of "The Monday Night War" on WWE Network that he'd change two things from Attitude Era: The first being Owen Hart for obvious reasons, but the second would be said match from 1998.
  • Doing It for the Art:
    • JJ Dillon and Don Muraco have both confirmed that Vince has no life outside of wrestling and never takes vacations. Dillon, who spent years in the WWE office after Turner bought what remained of the NWA from Jim Crockett Jr., said that, by 1996, he reached the point where he could no longer keep up with Vince's sleepless schedule and over-achievement, so he fled back to WCW. This is likely why he put Linda, Shane and Stephanie on the payroll, since he'd never see them otherwise.
    • Agree with the methods or don't, Vince McMahon will do just about anything if he thinks it will make for good television\pay per views, ect. Also, even though they are not critically adored, the film branch of WWE isn't just to enact further control of wrestler affairs, as Kurt Angle hypothesized. Vince Jr really does love movies.
    • Heck, just the fact he'll step through the ring ropes and let himself get slammed and bloodied. The man oozes cash and is the head of the largest professional wrestling promotion in the world, there is no reason at all for someone of his stature to subject himself to the kinds of stuff he pays other people to do and yet he does because if a job is worth doing, it's worth doing right.
  • Enforced Method Acting: The Montreal Screwjob, oddly enough. With Vince being caught on camera yelling at the ref to ring the bell, there was no way to pretend it didn't happen in kayfabe. Having made himself into a villain, Vince ran with it and created the "Mr. McMahon" character.
    • During his late 1998 angle with Mick Foley, Vince explicitly told Mick not to tell him what he was planning to do in their bits and that Vince would just react naturally to the stupidity. It led to some of the funniest bits ever on WWE programming.
    • At the 2005 Royal Rumble, he rushed to the ring to restart the main event after John Cena and Batista eliminated each other (itself a complete mishap of amazing timing). In the process of entering the ring, he tore his right quad. He had to do his part sitting in a corner of the ring in excruciating pain. He then refused medical help, returning to the backstage area alone... and tore his left quad.
  • Executive Meddling:
    • If the stories are to be believed, then Vincent Kennedy McMahon is the undisputed king of this trope. Don't be fooled by the fact that there are "writers" and "producers" involved in WWE storylines. If Vince McMahon likes it, it's brilliant! Small comfort. Vince is even obsessed with micro-managing just about everything in his life — Up to and including stifling his directors and crew on movie sets, his own sneezes (ACHOO DAMMIT), and the sleep patterns of guests on his private plane (SLEEP IS THE COUSIN OF DEATH DAMMIT). Shit is bananas.
    • Apparently, it's not uncommon for him to make these kind of impulsive changes. The Ambrose v. Rollins match at Battleground turned into a brawl, adding gas to an already massive fire those two had and making SummerSlam feel even bigger. Hogan getting another title run at W9 just for being so God Damn American, on the other hand, doesn't seem like such a good idea in hindsight... oh Vince, you're a coin toss.
    • It's been said that even the Haitches (Nipple and Triple) aren't immune to Vince changing their material with seconds to go before filming.
    • Mick Foley's book "Countdown to Lockdown" confirmed what a lot of people already knew, that Vince has a habit of providing loud and heated "feedback" to his announce team in the interest of keeping things on-track, mostly on matters of Insistent Terminology and pushing particular storylines. This brought him to grief with Foley when he was on the announce team for close to a year; Foley did extensive research and consulted with the wrestlers themselves to provide highlights and talking points to make his commentary more interesting. For the most part, his announcing tenure was a great critical success, but by the end of his contract Foley was low on morale and decided not to renew his contract. Though he very much enjoyed announcing, he couldn't deal with the stress of knowing an angry Vince McMahon could start yelling in his headset without warning at any given moment.
    • It's probably a big reason why he doesn't push guys who made it big in other companies, as he doesn't feel comfortable putting the spotlight on guys he didn't make and therefore aren't loyal to him. (Understandable given the behavior of The Ultimate Warrior, Madusa, Jack Swagger, Mr. Kennedy, and the list goes on and on. Perhaps the deepest cut of all was Hulk Hogan joining WCW and testifying against him in court.) Unfortunately, workers who have the temerity to start careers in someplace other than WWE are shoved to the midcard regardless of prior accomplishment or work ethic, and usually drop out after a few years.
    • He's made exceptions in the past, particularly during times when he was starting out (bringing in Hulk Hogan, who had gotten over huge in Japan and the Midwest) or when he was under the gun (bringing in Ric Flair in the early '90s, and building his company around a bunch of WCW rejects such as Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, Dustin Rhodes, Triple H, Mick Foley, and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin in the middle/late '90s). Brock Lesnar is the Shining Light of MMA and McMahon continually backs up bigger and bigger trucks full of money to keep him on the card. (Brock is aware of this and ruthlessly turns Vince over a spit every time his contract is renewed.)
    • He's also made exceptions for people he feels were kept down in other organizations and could do very well otherwise. Examples include Chris Benoit, Chris Jericho, Eddie Guerrero, and Rey Mysterio Jr..
    • Vince actually takes some glee in successfully pushing wrestlers rejected by other companies (it shows Vince is so much smarter than those other promoters, you see). Of the above examples, only Austin was planned for anything above mid-card in WCW and that ended as soon as Hogan arrived.
    • He supports the Stop Online Piracy Act and PROTECT-IP, the Internet's ultimate Control Freak + Greed bill. Which would be fine if he made more matches available on the network, but poor Vince is still just getting the hang of this "Dee-Vee-Dee" thing.
      • Understandable from a business perspective, as a large majority of WWE's income comes from pay-per-view revenues and there's no easy way to build in copy protection to television broadcasts.
    • Paul Heyman was originally brought in as a sounding board to help motivate WWE to think outside the box. By Paul E's own admission, his contrarian positions "wore thin" quickly and he was packed off to a smaller compartment in the company. Critics attribute WWE's recent difficulties to these: Vince's former advisors who were able to say "no" to him (e.g. Pat Patterson) have all left the company, and the remaining staff won't stand up to him.
    • For years, Vince has taken a direct and personal hand in WWF/E booking, with extremely mixed results. Sometimes the results are great, such as when he kept Vince Russo in check during the Monday Night Wars and turned the then-floundering WWF around. And then there are the results that don't work, like the whole Katie Vick angle.
  • Fallen Creator: He's getting really, really close to the status after Survivor Series 2015. Fans were given what was considered the most bland, uninteresting, and predictable ending possible, simply because he didn't want Roman Reigns to get booed when he finally won the title. Then the dirt sheets came out and revealed that his plan to get Reigns over was to basically rehash the Daniel Bryan storyline two years before, seemingly ignorant of the Seven Year Rule and the fact that the performer is nowhere near as over as Bryan, or even Dean Ambrose, his final opponent in the tournament, to make it work. Whereas the reputation of Eric Bischoff fell apart because he proved he had only one real trick (the nWo), Vince's is falling apart because he's proving that he has only one real trick as well: Austin vs. McMahon. Which has been done to death with nearly every heel authority figure since the late 90s. Even the fans of the Attitude Era had gotten sick of it by the time of the formation of the Corporate Ministry (where it was revealed that Vince was the Higher Power trying to screw over Austin, commonly cited as the point where the storyline Jumped the Shark). That's not even getting into how he's trying to make Reigns into another John Cena, when fans didn't even want the original Cena (or at least, not as he is now).
  • The Insomniac: According to his son-in-law, Vince only sleeps for two or three hours a night.
  • Marth Debuted in Smash Bros.: Most people associate the "Mr. McMahon" character with him post-Montreal, but he actually played a sort of prototype of this character in a crossover with the United States Wrestling Associationnote  on USWA television.
  • Mean Character, Nice Actor:
    • Due to the clannish nature of sports entertainment, there are legions of fans who will defend Vince McMahon to the death, and his wrestlers will do almost anything he asks of them. To his credit, he will also listen to their opinions despite the aura of fear he inspires.
    • For instance, the Wellness Program: Vince doesn't technically have to spend money on heart screenings or sending addicts to revolving-door rehab (most famously Scott Hall), but he does it because the company benefits. A lot of his former employees have credited him for helping get their lives back together, paying for rehab, taking care of their finances and offering them legend contracts and jobs. Even Jeff Jarrett thanked Vince and Co. for showing support for him and his family after his wife died as a result of cancer.note 
    • Mick Foley has mentioned in several of his books Vince's concern for Mick's well-being (telling after the infamous Cell match that he appreciated all Mick's done for the company but for Mick to never do something that dangerous again); he also complimented Vince on allowing the books to be published with criticisms of WWE intact. He also stated he doesn't entirely understand why Vince doesn't show this side of him to the public world.
    • Several wrestlers have also noted that unless you do something extremely damaging to the company or personally offensive to him, Vince won't hold a grudge and will give you a second chance if keeping you around is good business.
    • Bret Hart during his initial WWE run considered Vince like that, and even after the screwjob they still had a heart to heart after Owen's funeral like a father and son who needed to reconcile. They did.
    • According to Matt "Spike Dudley" Hyson, Vince's limitations on the cruiserweight division were more out of concern for workers' safety rather than a lack of interest in the high-risk style. He said this after being fired. This is justified by the sheer amount of travel and working dates for wrestlers on a full-time WWE schedule.
    • Along the same lines, after Owen Hart injured Austin with the botched tombstone piledriver at SummerSlam 97, all Austin wanted to do was get back in the ring and kick Owen's ass in retaliation. Vince, having been acknowledged as the boss a year earlier courtesy of Jim Ross's "shoot" promo though still playing a neutral character, tried to get Austin to work within some kind of rules, acknowledging Austin's popularity and how the fans wouldn't want to see him get hurt again.
    • Ken Shamrock said that even though WWE no longer talks to him, McMahon was better about paying him than Dana White or anyone else affiliated with UFC.
  • Money, Dear Boy:
    • Even if the territories had stood together when they really needed to, it's doubtful anyone could have anticipated an industry figure achieving the success of McMahon Jr still publicly breaking kayfabe in order to reduce operating costs, such as the infamous New Jersey tax case of 1989. At least Jack Pferer had a grudge.
    • Vince McMahon is the Simon Cowell of wrestling; Cowell doesn't produce music most of us would listen to in a million years but his bands have made millions. Vince has always been more concerned about getting the WWE over as a product and attaining mainstream "respectability" than about the actual wrestling, but he is a genius. It is what is really.
  • Old Shame: Vince reacts badly when people mention the XFL, the World Bodybuilder Federation, And "Stand Back!"
    • Also don't test him on the steroid scandal of the 90s.
  • Promoted Fanboy: He's acknowledged that, growing up, his favorite wrestler was Dr. Jerry Graham.
  • Written by Cast Member: During his days as an on-screen character, it was clear that he was doing everything he could to have storylines revolve around him. Now that he's no longer an onscreen personality, there are people who speculate he's living vicariously through John Cena's character…which explains a lot about Cena's booking, truthfully.

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