Trivia / Vince McMahon

  • Actor-Shared Background: SCSA always said, "the best character is yourself turned up to eleven". Vince is always at 11, by default!
    • 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 being sexually abused by his mother. It goes long way towards explaining his more bizarre storylnes (like the incest angle he kept pushing to do...and the one he actually did!).
    • Mr. McMahon 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 Hunter. (That little stunt got him disinvited for their reception.) His daughter Stephanie confirmed that he wanted to use her first pregnancy to push an incest storyline, with him as the father. It was Vince's cathartic attempt to work through his childhood trauma.
    • Vince wants the reputation of being a "respectable" company, but none of the responsibility (ie. insurance, retirement plans, designated corporate hierarchy).
    • Ted Turner is another good man who loves wrestling. Many of us grew up up WWF vilifying him with "Billionaire Ted" skits.
      "HE TOOK MY TALENT, DAMMMT!"
      Um, Vince didn't you do that in the 80's, to the AWA...?
      "TURNER WAS TRYING TO KILL US BY OUTSPENDING US!"
      Yeah, kinda like you did to all the territories... in the 80's.
      "YERRR FIIIIIIIIRED!"
      • Vince climbed to the top of the wrestling business by carpet-bombing said business: freezing out his competitors (strong-arming networks into not airing other shows and threatening pull WWF off their channels), locking out the big arenas (intimidating arena mangers into being WWF/WWE-exclusive), and poaching talent from every promotion in North America. Years later, even Vince admitted that killing the territories was a mistake. Now the WWE is put into the position of finding new performers and training them from scratch.

        To put it in perspective, the now-defunct NA territorial system employed thousands of prospective performers; the WWE employs a few hundred.
    • He supports the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and PROTECT-IP, the ultimate control freak + corporate cash-grab bill. (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)
    • At the 2005 Royal Rumble, he rushed into the ring to restart the main event (after John Cena and Batista eliminated each other). In the process of doing so, he tore his right quad. He had to recite his lines sitting in a corner of the ring while in excruciating pain. (He then refused medical help, limping off backstage by himself... where he tore his left quad.)
  • Author Appeal:
    • It's historically proven that Vince loves big, muscular men, and he will push them, regardless of talent. High-flyers tend to get the short end of the stick.

      It was even more apparent in the 80's, when they either had talent but were forced to hide it (Hogan) or had zero skill in the ring (Warrior). As time went on, smaller—yet more talented—wrestlers were given chances.
      • As of 2015, the most popular person on the show 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, then was given jobber duty. Of course, Masters came back much smaller because he had stopped taking steroids. Make of that what you will.
    • 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.
      • 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.
    • With some exceptions, he insists on wrestlers being of a certain height. When WCW folded, it took his entire creative staff pushing him for him to sign Mysterio to a very low minimum guarantee. He wound up become the company's #2 draw, behind John Cena.
      • 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. WWE seems to float a feces-related angle (sometimes even involving the McMahons) once a year. It’s WWE’s 'duty.' Tee hee.
  • Creative Differences: He hated Mick Foley's famous "Hell in a Cell" match (from King of the Ring '98). In fact, he mentioned on an episode of "The Monday Night War" that he'd exorcise 2 things from Attitude Era: The first being Owen Hart' s fall, and the second would be that cage match.
  • Doing It for the Art: Vince McMahon has said he will do anything for publicity, and that he'll never ask anyone to do something he wouldn't do himself. Just the fact he'll step through the ring ropes and let himself get slammed and bloodied. We may not like the way he does it, but he desperately wants this company to succeed.
    • 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.
    • Even though they are not critically adored, the film branch of WWE isn't just to enact further control over his talents' careers (as Kurt Angle hypothesized). VKM loooooooooves being a movie producer, even more than being a wrestling promoter.
  • Dueling Works:
    • WCW used to practically throw money around like it was nothing. They had better production values, sets, bigger names, even Michael Goddam Buffer (and he ain't cheap!). No wrestling company has the capital to really challenge WWE like Turner did.
    • Turner bought out Crockett's Promotion because he wanted a southern-based cable network (TBS). Before buying out JCP, Turner even let Vince air wrestling on TBS, but southerners hated Vince's product. It wasn't about Ted trying to drive him out of business, he just knew his market.
  • Executive Meddling:
    • He wants to move away from that southern, inbred, hillbilly stereotype of wrestling. It's funny, because "pro wrestling" is an art practiced from coast to coast; it was in no way unique to the south. In fact, he even admitted "Pro wrestling is what my dad did".

      He can call it sports entertainment all he wants, but to the rest of the world it's wrestling. Vince doesn't want to even be put in the same category as other promotions.
      • He 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.
      • In the end you could have Vince Gilligan, David Chase, Aaron Sorkin and Matthew Weiner writing for RAW and it'd still be a coin toss, because all their ideas will be put through Vince's filter. Jim Ross talked about this on Opie & Anthony. He said that sometimes Vince would yell nonsense through the headset, and then after few moments, Vince would say, "Thank God you didn't say what I told you to say, that would've made no sense."
      • 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, mostly on matters of terminology and pushing 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 make his commentary more in-dpeth and 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 go work for TNA. Though he very much enjoyed announcing, he couldn't deal with the stress of knowing an angry Vince McMahon would start YELLING INTO HIS ONE GOOD EAR WITHOUT WARNING.
      • Beyond The Mat shows Vince with the headset giving instructions to his commentators. That was filmed in 1999.
    • Whenever things start to go wrong, Vince drills down into micromanagement mode, obsessing over the details of the main event or the top guy's promos and leaving the overall story arc in limbo. It probably doesn't help that the closest thing he has to an Editor is Triple "I do a 20-minute promo to start the show, and I'm a bad guy, but I'm also cool" H.
      • 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 passengers aboard his private jet (SLEEP IS THE COUSIN OF DEATH DAMMIT). Apparently, it's not uncommon for him to make these kind of impulsive changes to the booking, as well. It's been said that even Steph and Haitch aren't immune to Vince changing their script with seconds to go before filming.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Vince's Control Freak tendencies do have another benefit: they prevent wrestlers from putting themselves over the product and the company. When TNA hired every single person on the cover of The Death of WCW (at the same time, no less), a starstruck Dixie Carter was extremely lenient with their behavior and demands and basically allowed them to do whatever they wanted, at the cost of what the fans wanted, and it led to TNA's Dork Age, the ramifications of which they still haven't recovered from. Vince also hired every single person on the cover of that book, but nobody bags on him for doing that because he has long since proven able to keep them all in line.
  • 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.
  • Lying Creator:
    • Vince will have you believe that he is the one who killed WCW with his superior product. He didn't kill WCW, he just bought it for cheap after Time-Warner stripped the brand of its value.
      • In-storyline, Triple H single-handedly brought down WCW. The funny thing is that WWE will have you believe Triple H was already a main event threat.
    • Since Vince completed his aggressive campaign to destroy all relevant competition (which began in December of '83), the business has never been smaller since its debut on network TV in 1952. There are less places for the talent to work, there are less people attending live events, there are less people watching it on TV. The business is smaller for everyone but Vince, and he and his people do a clever job manipulating people into thinking it was "always going to end up this way" or "the business has simply evolved" or some such.
  • Marth Debuted in "Smash Bros.": Most people associate the "Mr. McMahon" character with him post-Montreal, but he played a prototype of this character in a crossover with the USWA, which also featured Jerry Lawler.
  • Mean Character, Nice Actor:
    • Wrestlers will defend Vince to the death and 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.
  • Protection from Editors: Creative is just the kindling of the fire, the accelerant and spark were always Vince McMahon.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: The Montreal Screwjob. Vince was caught on camera yelling at the ref, so there was no way to pretend it didn't happen. Having turned himself into a national villain, Vince ran with it and became "Mr. McMahon".
  • Running the Asylum: 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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