YMMV: Vince McMahon

  • Acceptable Targets: It's a running gag how much Vince detests Canada, not helped by the Montreal fiasco. He was actually pushing a U.S./Canada feud in the nineties.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: His current run as Face could be seen as him still doing what he did as heel - manipulating people, bending his own rules and using his connections for his own needs - but this time being Genre Savvy enough to know he can get away with it if he'll stick to targetting Heels.
    • Alternative Author Avatar Interpretation: In Ted DiBiase's autobiography Every Man Has His Price, he claimed that, right before he walked into Vince's office to find out about the "Million Dollar Man" gimmick, Pat Patterson told him that the gimmick he was getting would be the one Vince himself would use if he was a wrestler. According to DiBiase, Vince explained it to him as a wrestling version of Donald Trump. This suggests that Vince's weird Trump fixation, which became most blatant in 2007, went back at least to 1987, and possibly earlier.
      • The October 26, 1998 issue of New York Magazine ran an article on Vince and the then-WWF which noted that, according to Vince, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin is "really playing the part of Vince McMahon." In a sense, DiBiase and Austin both represent sides of Vince's personality. DiBiase represents how a lot of cynical people/critics/censors/etc. see Vince, as the evil Corrupt Corporate Executive who uses money and power to push people around and doesn't care about any damage he might do along the way to getting what he wants in the long run or whatever he is trying to achieve at a given moment. Austin could represent how Vince sees himself and his attitude toward critics/censors/etc., as a defiant no-nonsense rebel, since Vince just wants to run his shows and doesn't like anybody getting in his way. It's when these two sides combine on TV that he is at his most over-the-top and most interesting.
      • Then, of course, there are the other sides which aren't explainable in this way, namely the nerdy, generic announcer, and the caring patriot/humanitariannote  who flies the whole crew over to Afghanistan or Iraq every year for the Tribute to the Troops specials, except for the Fort Hood and Air Force base incarnations.
  • Awesome Ego: Vince McMahon initially pissed off everyone in wrestling by swamping the cable market, telling promoters to take their old fashioned rules and stick it up their asses. He also slept with all their wives and mistresses, and later bought WCW for 1 cent. (True story.)
  • Base Breaker: The greatest example in professional wrestling, with one notable exception. He's either an incredible businessman who took a carny-run business and turned it into an entertainment juggernaut, or he's a ruthless asshat that did everything in his power to crush his opposition and then whined about the same thing happening to him.
    • He's either A Father to His Men, allowing his wrestlers second chances and paying for their drug/alcohol rehab, or he's a Mr. Burns imitator who classifies his workers are "Independent Contractors" so he doesn't have to shell out health insurance or give them an offseason. (I never knew independent contractors were so dependant on terms and conditions...)
    • He's either a creative genius who single-handedly birthed the cable wrestling industry as we know it, or a confused old man with an infantile sense of humor who holds way too much creative power. The one thing everyone can agree on is Vinnie Mac is a master showman. (Better on the mic than Trips and Nips, certainly.)
    • Another near-unanimous opinion, it seems, is that he's stayed at the top too long and it's time for him to step down or at least consider think about stepping down. The problem is, he has given no indication he's retiring anytime soon.
  • Canon Sue: It's really amazing how many angles have been written of Vince kissing, fondling, or otherwise sexually interacting with a hot Diva. It's kind funny/sad on Vince's DVD when they talk about the angle in which Vince would make out with Trish Stratus in front of his comatose wife as just something that was part of the story as if Vince had no control over that little plot development.
  • Crazy Awesome: Terry Funk, who is probably the person with the most authority on the subject ever, thinks the most hardcore man in WWE is Vince. Why? Every other wrestler falls off of cages and gets hit with chairs because, on some level, they need the paycheck. Vince doesn't need to do any of that but still does because he likes to entertain the fans. Also, HBK has stated Vince won't ask any of his wrestlers to do anything he wouldn't do himself (HBK flew down to the ring on a wire for WrestleMania XII— the first guy to test out the harness was Vince). Mick Foley, the other man with high authority on hardcore, agrees with Funk.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: See The Scrappy and Fallen Creator on his trivia page. The fans have lost complete faith in Vince after 2015, and most have resigned themselves to the fact that things are not going to get better until Hunter takes over completely. The issue is that he's given no indication that he's retiring or dying anytime soon, and many don't have the patience or the will to endure anymore, as indicated by the declining ratings for RAW and the absolute rage across the Internet.
  • Fallen Creator: He would rather make a hundred dollars with his own idea than a million dollars with someone else's, and extends to the performers under his employ, where Kevin Nash once said that Vince would rather make his own star rather than a star. While this has been beneficial at times, over the years it's become blatantly clear that it's also a detriment as Vince has become more out of touch with the modern wrestling audience. Those who look at history more objectively these days point out that the Attitude Era, the company's most profitable and successful period, was basically just Vince removing the leash and letting the performers run wild and do what they want. "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and The Rock, the two biggest stars from that period, were basically playing themselves, but "turned up to 11".

    These days, as wrestling enters a downtrend, it's been noted that the working environment in the company has become creatively stifling, with the characters of several superstars, most notably Roman Reigns, having been micromanaged, and that management has been in-fighting over the creative direction of the overall product. Vince, as the one who has the final say, thus gets most of the blame for the terrible/predictable/bland booking decisions that are made, with many campaigning for his removal (feet-first, most likely, unless the Board gets fed up) so Hunter can take over, of all people.
  • Epileptic Trees: More than one internet commentator has suggested that Vince is a dark puppetmaster controlling TNA from behind the scenes as a dumping ground for any wrestlers too old/unconventional, as an end around antitrust legislation, and as a way of making his product look good in comparison.
    • Poison Oak Epileptic Trees:
      • 2015 did not start out promising, and aside from some genuinely shocking moments, it ended up being a terrible year of booking disasters where practically the entire roster got buried to put Roman Reigns over as the new face of the company, all the while Reigns' character was micromanaged to make him another John Cena, to the point that many are starting to pity the performer for having to try and get over with such a bad character. By the time of Survivor Series, RAW had lost over a million viewers, a quarter of their usual viewership. Things have gotten so bad that the more cynical are starting to wonder if Vince is deliberately sabotaging the company. That way, when he finally croaks, the company dies with him and people will say that the only reason WWE was successful was because of him.
      • Others think that he's really cooked up this elaborate "New Coke" plan, where Reigns becomes such a Replacement Scrappy that fans, smarks or otherwise, will support Cena if they feud or when Cena (inevitably) wins his sixteenth world title. This was because many smarks, after having to endure Reigns being the sole focus of the show while Cena took time off, actively began to miss Cena and praise him over Reigns. If this is true, then Vince may be the greatest Magnificent Bastard in wrestling history for concocting the slowest burn of a storyline to get his preferred guy over after a decade of mixed to negative reactions. If it isn't, then he's lost his goddamn mind and is out of touch with not just the audience, but also reality.
  • He Has Become Complacent: The real problem with Vince in recent years, as cited by many. There was a time when he listened to the fans and didn't surround himself with "glad-handing, nonsensical, douchebag Yes Men". But with the fall of WCW, he gained a monopoly over the mainstream wrestling audience and used it as an excuse to do what he wanted, regardless of what his audience wanted. All the people who weren't Yes Men to him in his inner circle either retired or fell out favor and left, and were gradually replaced by cooperate stooges who only told him what he wanted to hear. As time goes on and the age gap widens between him and his intended audience, Vince has lost sight of what the fans wanted, which only spurns him on to do what he wants instead and spite them when they try to make their voices heard. It takes them borderline rioting for him to get the message and do what they want. The problem has become glaringly obvious in recent years, and reports are coming in that it's started to drive a wedge between him and Triple H, his prospective successor and son-in-law, with major disagreements between them over the creative direction of certain Superstars and the recent running of RAW, which Hunter is supposed to be in charge of, even though it's clear that Vince and Kevin Dunn still run the show, especially when you compare it to how Hunter runs NXT. According to both Hunter AND Steph, any script they write for RAW has to get his approval first, and Vince almost always demands rewrites to fit his tastes.
  • He Really Can Act: While Vince is more known for his work backstage or on the microphone, many agree he shows impressive talent in ring for a non wrestler, taking a lot of carnage and selling far more abuse than a lot of iconic superstars would be willing to. When you consider that he wanted to be a wrestler and the only reason he wasn't able to pursue that dream was because of his father, it makes you wonder how much talent he truly has.
  • Iron Woobie: This may seem like an odd one given his fame and fortune, but he was beaten almost constantly by his step-father and laments openly about not being the one to have killed him because he would have enjoyed that. Paul Heyman once said that Sigmund Freud would need 900 pages to explain exactly how Vince McMahon works. RVD and others have all said that they don't blame Vince because inside he's a broken man. However the reason he's an Iron Woobie is that he never presents himself in a way that makes you want to comfort him. Could also be Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds depending on how much power you think he has. In Freddie Blassie's autobiography Listen, You Pencil Neck Geeks, George "The Animal" Steele said that Vince has about seven personalities and five of them are pretty good. He claimed that he and Don Muraco used to call Vince "Sybil."
    • Given all the blame put on him for the demise of the old school territorial systemnote  via WWE's expansion in the 1980s, many old-school fans would likely agree with the "Destroyer of Worlds" part.
  • Love to Hate: Oh, SO much. And it's a quality he passed on to his daughter.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • [on commentary] THAT'S GOTTA...THAT'S GOTTA BE KANE
    • Vince does not have time for your flippy shit.
    • WHAT A MANEUVER!
    • DAMMIT
    • BUILDING NEW STARS
    • Steve Austin's podcast gave us "BRASS RINGS!" That quote will probably haunt him for a while.
    • Attitude Era spawned a few:
      • INJECT THE POISON...
      • Usually on forums when something of old news or common knowledge is talked about by someone that thinks of it as brand new info a few people would throw something like "OH MY GOD! DID YOU GUYS SEE RAW!! VINCE MCMAHON'S LIMO JUST EXPLODED!!!".
      • IT'S ME AUSTIN! (Aw, son of a bitch.)
      • Vince didn't screw Bret. Bret screwed Bret. Later modified into "Austin screwed Austin," or, "The people screwed the people," or someasmuch.
      • Which became an Ascended Meme, which he used on Steve Austin's podcast when talking about the demise of the wrestling territories in the 1980's.
  • Misblamed
    • While there have been many things reported about Vince Jr. that don't put him in the best light, one of the nastiest was in 1993 when Penthouse magazine printed that McMahon hired Boni Blackstone as an interviewer in the place of Mike McGuirk due to the latter refusing his sexual advances. This case was in fact brought about by McGuirk refusing to pose in Penthouse and she continued to have an amicable relationship with Vince Jr after leaving the WWF. Her reasons for leaving, like many others, was instead the 300 day a year schedule and constant travel. Despite being effectively quashed though, Penthouse did manage to damage McMahon's reputation(even more) in the short term, with such accusations continuing to be thrown at him as late as 2011 when the guilty parties were actually other WWF/E employees who ended up being gotten rid of or resigning.
    • In a decision RD Reynolds has clearly never forgiven him for, after Vince hyped up the so-called WCW/ECW "InVasion" on his show, the WWF proceeded to book it as an extended Squash Match, with Vince's faction completely dominating the pathetic WCW/ECW stable. Adding insult to injury, the sole purpose of the angle was to put Shane McMahon over and keep "Stone Cold" Steve Austin heel for more than a cup of coffee. The Alliance wrestlers who either came in or turned at the outset of the story wearing the banner of their prior companies were essentially treated as mooks to Shane, Stephanie, Heyman, and Austin; in fact, the WWF wrestlers who became or remained heel by feuding with fellow WWF stars, being too hated for fans to treat them as face, or outright defecting to the Alliance mid-way through, were often bigger threats to the WWF than they were. The details behind this, however, point to a culprit outside the company itself.

      The initial InVasion PPV drew a $10 million gross. The WWE could've multiplied that figure with virtually no effort…but UPN wanted nothing to do with the WCW brand, which had hemorrhaged $62,000,000 in 2000 alone. By 2001 cutbacks had shaved the costs down to roughly $21,000,000, but it wasn't nearly enough to impress the powers that be. Many of the biggest names from WCW were not signed up for this angle only to end up signing with WWF/E anyway within the next year or two after it ended; while guys who made their names in WCW/ECW stalwarts would have a harder go of it than home-grown stars over the next few years in the brand-extension era, they did continue to be kept around and put into somewhat meaningful spots; and in 2014-15 Vince saw fit to hire Sting and use his feud with Triple H to resurrect the WWF vs. WCW concept in spirit with Sting as the face; Paul Heyman and Eric Bischoff were hired as authority figures for the weekly show brands; ECW was briefly resurrected and turned into WWE's third brand, mirroring a sanitized version of its role in the Monday Night Wars; and Heyman still has a prominent role on WWE television as the Advocate for Brock Lesnar. Clearly Vince at the very least sees money and bragging rights in hiring WCW and ECW alumni and, unlike certain other promoters, is able to control them once they're there. Most of the "Vince killed ECW" stuff came from Rob Van Dam's sketchy accounts.
    • Contrary to popular belief, Vince got along famously with Punk — before the lawsuit, that is. Unfortunately, it came down to choosing between him and Triple H, and he probably realized that his siding with Punk would further drive a wedge between the McMahon family. So, ultimately, he let Stephanie and HHH drum Punk out of the company.
  • Moral Event Horizon: When Mr. McMahon started his feud with Steve Austin, he was more or less a stodgy businessman uncomfortable with Austin's behavior. By the time he organized his own daughter's kidnapping just to get the belt off of Austin, he crossed into a psycho who'd do anything just to spite his enemy.
    • He's crossed it numerous times. Another famous example is when abused his aforementioned daughter in a match on PPV, which ultimately ended with him choking her out with a pipe. He also physically threatened his wife the whole time and shoved her to the ground. Lampshaded by the commentators, as Tazz, who had been defending Vince's actions initially, eventually gave up in disgust and agreed that Vince had crossed it. And when Tazz claimed that this was the first time Vince had struck his wife, Cole retorted "that we know of" lampshading the Fridge Horror of how Vince treats his family outside of WWE (kayfabe-wise, of course).
  • Never Live It Down: In 2010, the real world intruded on pro wrestling once again. Back in '05, J.R. was fired by Linda McMahon during Raw Homecoming for failing to keep Stone Cold on a tight leash. This marked the first heel turn of Linda's career, but she was rarely seen on TV after this...for a reason. She kicked J.R. in the nuts to close the show. This clip was played countless times by her opposition during her failed 2010 run for the senate.
  • Older Than They Think: Vince McMahon's first portrayal of the evil "Mr. McMahon" character was actually in USWA in the early 90's, years before he portrayed it in his own company World Wrestling Entertainment, in which he feuded with Jerry "The King" Lawler(who was also employed by WWE at the time, in which their face and heel roles were switched), and would have Lawler fight his WWE wrestlers(who were heel "invaders" in USWA). Interestingly, Lawler become one of Vince's biggest suck-ups during the Attitude Era in WWE.
    • Of course, Lawler generally sucked up to the heelsnote , enough to the point that one time Jim Ross finally had had enough and just said, "Yeah, well, you're an ass!"
  • Protection from Editors: That's the best part about having a dynasty: you can afford not to give a damn what the internet thinks.
    IWC: Vince doesn't understand tag teams and how they could draw!
    Vince: *rolls in money*
    IWC: Vince just pushes big guys instead of great wrestlers!
    Vince: *rolls in money*
    IWC: Vince is a millionaire that SHOULD be a billionaire!
    Vince: *rolls in money*
  • Tough Act to Follow: Pretty much all of Vince's side ventures outside of running the WWE went completely tits-up on him:
    1. Boxing promoter: The Ray Leonard-Donny Lalonde card lost money. He is, however, a surprisingly good boxing commentator.
    2. WWE Films: No Holds Barred, The Chaperone, etc. lost money. (The Marine broke even.) However, things began to pick up with The Call, possibly because it doesn't star a wrestler, and the Marine series is showing healthy life on direct-to-DVD.
    3. WBF (World Bodybuilding Federation): Don't mention this to him. Just don't.
    4. XFL Football League: Even he made fun of this one.
    5. WWE Restaurant: Vince was flush with cash in the 90s, so instead of spending it on, say, emplyoee bonuses or hiring more talent, he opened a restaurant in the Times Square and bought a football league (as you do). It's a Hard Rock Cafe now.
    6. Politics: Vince is obviously a much better public speaker than Linda, but she had to run in his place because of irradiated skeletons that would tumble out of his closet if he did run for public office. He couldn't outright tell his audience to vote for Linda McMahon (only doing it tangentially by running ads saying "Stand Up for the WWE!" and "SmackDown Your Vote!", whatever those meant.) Linda lost the 2010 senate race, despite the wave of Republican victories that year. She lost again in 2012. (Campaign budget: -$97,000,000)
  • Villain Decay: While a serious threat in the late 90's and early 2000's, the feud with DX and alliance with the Spirit Squad (male cheerleaders) pretty much turned Vince into a ineffectual cartoon version of his former self.
    • Granted this decay happened throughout that one arc. At it's earliest points when he was feuding with Shawn Michaels, he was portrayed as genuinely merciless and malicious, using every Mind Screw available to make Michaels' life an utter hell, it was only when he finally unleashed Michaels (and later Triple H's) own long-lost prankster side that he realised he was way out of his league. Even then though, you have to be amazed by his persistence in destroying them.
  • The Scrappy: Not character-wise — where he's Love to Hate-able — but in real life to endless amounts of smarks for his more recent business decisions such as turning the entire promotion PG, frequently pushing smark unfavorites (John Cena, Randy Orton, Big Show, Kane, Roman Reigns, Sheamus, Alberto Del Rio, The Miz, The Bella Twins, etc.) at the expense of smark Ensemble Darkhorses (Daniel Bryan, Bray Wyatt, Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, Dolph Ziggler, Cesaro, The New Day, Kevin Owens, The Four Horsewomen, etc.), being a Control Freak Bad Boss seemingly everywhere he goes, making Take That, Audience! jokes toward said fans, and likely refusing to retire and/or show any leniency anytime soon.
    • After Survivor Series 2015, Vince became so universally despised that fans were either demanding his outright dismissal or retirement, or hoping that he'd keel over and die already. Practically all the X-Pac Heat that his Creator's Pets besides Sheamus have, primarily Roman Reigns', got transferred to him and Sheamus overnight, especially after reports came in the next day that Vince booked the Sheamus cash-in simply because he didn't want Reigns to get booed. His current mismanagement of all the talent, not just the smark favorites, and unwillingness to evolve the product in any way to keep it interesting is destroying his reputation much in the vein of, ironically, Eric Bischoff, with many pointing out that if he continues to be at the helm, WWE will start to go down the way its chief rival, WCW, did, if it hasn't already.
  • The Woobie: In real life he had a bad childhood, with abusive relatives having beaten on him constantly. The tough guy face he puts on is a way to try and gain some control over what happened to him, but this has reached the point where any sign of weakness terrifies him. People like Shawn Michaels and even on-screen nemesis "Stone Cold" Steve Austin have said there have been times, in private, where Vince just broke down crying. Vince also came very close to tears several times on the Ultimate Warrior: The Ultimate Legend special produced after Ultimate Warrior passed away on April 8, 2014. From the fan's perspective, they want him to get help, but not use incest/necrophilia angles as therapy.
    • Jerkass Woobie: Depending on your view of him.
      • Cry for the Devil: If you really don't like the guy, this is how you'll probably view his objectively shitty childhood.