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Wrestling / Vince McMahon

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Vincent Kennedy McMahon Jr. (born August 24, 1945) is a third-generation Professional Wrestling promoter, and the former chairman and CEO of WWE as well as an American football executive, actor, sporadic wrestler, and the patriarch of the McMahon Wrestling Family.

McMahon is also the man who revolutionized professional wrestling forever by taking the World Wrestling Federation and turning it from a regional territory into a mainstream national promotion in the mid-1980s, where it enjoyed massive success and eventually turned into the multi-billion dollar empire we now know as World Wrestling Entertainment.

He also has decades of on-camera experience in the promotion, first as a play-by-play announcer, and, after 1997, as the evil boss character in charge of the promotion. The subtle shift in his performance deserves to be studied at Juilliard; while Vince McMahon wore bow ties and bugged his eyes out a lot, Mr. McMahon led a family of super-villains, feuded with God himself, mocked Jim Ross' declining health, attempted to run an American football league twice, and dressed up as a judge so that he could throw Eric Bischoff in a garbage truck.

McMahon stepped down from his position as CEO of WWE in June 2022 pending an internal investigation into a sexual misconduct allegation, with his daughter Stephanie taking over in what was meant to be only for the interim, before stating that he was retiring outright from the industry in July 2022. He changed his mind by January 2023 and forced his way back into his executive chairman role in the WWE's Board of Directors ahead of upcoming media rights negotiations in 2024 and a potential sale of the company, claiming based on his position as majority shareholder that no media rights deals or company sales can be completed without his approval. However, by September 2023, when the WWE finalized its merge with Endeavor (the parent company to the UFC) to form the new parent company TKO, he was reduced to a minority ownership position (marking the first time the WWE/F was primarily run by someone other than a McMahon) and was barred from any creative controlnote , with day-to-day business being run by Nick Khan and all creative direction henceforth instead being headed by his son-in-law, Triple H.

Near the end of January 2024, McMahon was subject to yet another lawsuit by ex-employee Janel Grant, who levelled further allegations of misconduct, including sex trafficking and rape. Within a day of the reports, Vince would resign again, leaving WWE and TKO once more.

"Vince didn't screw TV Tropes. TV Tropes screwed TV Tropes."

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  • Aborted Arc:
    • He faked his own death in 2007 with the infamous limo explosion. This was quickly dropped for good reason, as it would have been in very bad taste to continue the arc. The explosion ended up on the OMG! DVD though.
    • The storyline where he "sold" Raw to Donald Trump was supposed to last considerably longer than it did (a week). It was cut early due to stockholders who didn't understand Kayfabe panicking and the price of WWE stock dropping. According to some reports, similar reasons may have killed the "faked death" storyline as well, even if not for the above-mentioned reasons.
  • Abusive Parents: Well he made his son fight The Undertaker and choked out his daughter with a pipe.
  • Answers to the Name of God: Vince once started his own religion called "McMahonism" and compared himself to God during a promo he cut while inside a church. He did this earlier in the 1990s, but that only lasted for one show.
  • Arch-Enemy:
  • As Himself: On Celebrity Deathmatch where he fought - and lost to - Austin, a Recurring Character on the show.
  • 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 those who had talent were free to coast on simple matches (Hogan) or had zero skill in the ring (Warrior). As time went on, smaller—yet more talented—wrestlers were given chances, if only because nearly going to jail for steroid distribution had Vince scrambling to distance himself from the suggestion that his talent was on the gear.
    • 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.
  • Author Avatar: Vince's on-screen persona is just an exaggerated version of himself.
    • Ted DiBiase, when presented with his Million Dollar Man gimmick, was reportedly told that it was the gimmick Vince himself would use if he were to become a wrestler.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: For someone who believes he should never be on the winning end of a feud, Vince came out on top of all of his feuds in 2003: Firing Hulk Hogan as "Mr. America,"note  bullying one-legged Zack Gowan and winning their match at The Great American Bash, masterminding Brock Lesnar's Face–Heel Turn and eventual WWE Championship victory over Kurt Angle (not to mention removing the aforementioned Gowan from WWE in the process by having Lesnar throw him down a flight of stairs), arranging for Eric Bischoff to invade McMahon's house so Bischoff could force himself on Vince's wife while letting him get off scot-free for it, defeating his own daughter in an I Quit Match in order to get her removed as Smackdown GM, and burying The Undertaker alive with the help of Kane. True to a standard Vince arc, he was left a bloodied wreck despised by everyone around him by the end of it, but maintained all the power plays and victories he had gained unnegated, heavily downplaying the Pyrrhic Victory aspect, especially due to portraying Vince at his most sociopathically petty and control obsessed anyway.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: As part of his Workaholic lifestyle, he will hold booking meetings in his home and get all dressed up for them.
  • Bald of Evil: After he had his head shaved by Donald Trump during Wrestlemania 23.
  • Best Served Cold: Vince has the elaborate vengeance plans of a 10-year-old. Case in point: WCW Night of the Champions. Was there really ever any doubt? Everyone knows Vince stood by helplessly for 84 weeks as Eric Bischoff steamrolled him in the ratings, jeering and mocking him all the while. Vince could have taken the high road and let the promotion have its final day in the sun before the great changeover. Instead, he proceeded to make himself and Shane the focal point of Nitro, turning what could have been Flair and Sting riding off in glory and turning it into one big McMahon love-fest / PPV ad. Not that Eric wouldn't have done the same, and worse.
    Bob Holly: Everybody backstage thought, 'We're going to have way too many guys now...' We were worried that we would get lost in the shuffle but we weren't job-scared. The guys who were job-scared were the ones who had walked out on Vince to go to WCW.
  • Big Bad: As a Heel. On the occasions that he is a Face, he's the Big Good. Since he's the boss of the entire company both on-screen and in real life, he's one of the few people who can be BOTH the Big Good AND the Big Bad in any form of fiction, though he plays the Big Bad a lot more often, and sometimes his face turn is just part of his Evil Plan and he's Evil All Along (such as him being the Higher Power to the Ministry of Darkness).
  • Blatant Lies: If he starts a sentence with "In the interest of fairness...", it guarantees that whatever follows will be absolutely unfair to somebody involved.
  • Blind Without 'Em:
    • Sometimes, Vince thinks the proceedings so important that he puts on his famous "cheaters" (reading glasses) to make sure he doesn't misread a cue card, or mis-dial a phone number. He does anyway.
    • Supposedly, the reason a spotlight is used to guide him on his way to the ring as of lately is because he isn't able to see otherwise, be it because of his age or for other reason.
  • Bring My Brown Pants: Vince wet his pants once after Stone Cold held a gun to his head, which turned out to be a fake gun.
    "Stone Cold" Steve Austin: McMahon 3:16 says I just pissed my pants!
  • Bullying a Dragon: He can make many cower before the control he has over the company, but all too often he'll overestimate just how much abuse his wrestlers will endure to keep their jobs over kicking his ass. His biggest mistakes tend to involve trying to control certain wrestlers (e.g. The Undertaker) that he has no chance of controlling.
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • Forget the countless Stunners, Rock Bottoms, chairshots and other abuse he's taken ever since the first Stunner on the September 22, 1997 Raw. The guy sacrificed a freaking CORVETTE for the cause of Austin getting a laugh.
    • He could be this even when he was the generic announcer/interviewer. He once attempted to interview Ray "The Crippler" Stevens, who simply stood there as a perfect Smug Snake with Cool Shades and Badass Armfold and was completely silent and never acknowledged Vince during the entire segment.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Vince really enjoys being evil at times, and has acknowledged that he will probably go to Hell when he dies. Eric Bischoff once stated that the only being closer to being the Devil than him was Vince, who was standing right in front of him. Vince's reaction? A smile.
  • Caught with Your Pants Down: A literal example (and on a live edition of RAW, no less!) occurred when Torrie Wilson pretended to seduce Vince and his wife Linda caught him in his underwear. This was implied to be a scheme by Linda to get back at Vince for his philandering.
  • Character Catchphrase:
    • As a heel boss:
      • Earlier in his run as a heel, he used "Vince didn't screw [X]. [X] screwed [X]." after "Bret screwed Bret" became an Ascended Meme.
      • "In the interest of fairness...," right before he'd announce something that was absolutely unfair to whoever was involved.
    • As an announcer (You can tell he was the biggest mark for his own product):
      • WAAHH...TWOOO...HE GOT HI—nope, nope
      • We are SOLD OUT here with this capacity crowd!
      • BIIIIIIIG back body drop!
      • "Anything can happen in the WWF!"
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Vince often betrays his employees, whether they be Faces, Mooks, or even The Dragon, whether it be because they failed him, they were no longer useful for him, or because he feels that a major story is "ungrateful" to Vince, who believes he "created" them. Sometimes he just does it as part of an Evil Plan or even solely for shits and giggles.
  • Clark Kent Outfit: Given that Vince usually appears in suits, it's always impressive to see just how buff he is under there.
  • Compelling Voice: Vince's charisma and powers of persuasion are legendary. Even people who dislike him personally or have deep philosophical disagreements describe sitting down with Vince and agreeing with him as he explains point by point whatever lunacy he wants them to do on camera. It's been explicitly compared to the Jedi Mind Trick.
  • Complexity Addiction:
    • Vince McMahon tends to simply screw wrestlers he's feuding with, even if it takes an Evil Plan to do so, rather than just simply fire them, despite the fact he fires others for lesser things. This is mainly because Vince prefers to torment anyone who stands up to him.
    • Double Subverted at one point during his feud with "Stone Cold" Steve Austin in the Attitude Era, in which Vince finally fired him after Austin refused to make either The Undertaker or Kane the new champion. However, Austin wasn't too happy with this, and took Vince hostage the following night on RAW. Shortly after it was revealed Austin had been rehired by Vince's own son Shane, however at Survivor Series 1998 it was revealed that this was all just another master plan of Vince's as Austin was screwed out of the championship once again. When he fired Dude Love after he lost to Austin at Over The Edge, he said that he won't fire Austin because he "just makes me richer" while Mick Foley just "made him sick".
    • Played straight with the Ministry of Darkness arc where it was revealed Vince was behind the stable the whole time to get the World Title away from Austin. Nevermind that A.) Austin wasn’t even the Champion when the stable began and B.) part of the plan involved Vince turning face against his son Shane which included actively helping Austin retain the title when Shane was absolutely capable of screwing Austin out of the belt at the 1999 Backlash.
    • Subverted in 2003 during Vince's feud with Hulk Hogan. Vince tried a complex scheme to fire Hogan, but failed... so he simply decided to not book Hogan, and instead just pay him to stay home. "Mr. America" would soon appear to avenge Hogan's honor, incensing Vince into another long feud to expose his disguise; however Mr America unmasked himself to be Hogan to the MSG audience, thus giving Vince, now done playing games, the loophole he needed to fire Hogan.
    • Much in the same way, when feuding with Shawn Michaels, he chose not to fire him, and tried instead to force him to willingly sign his own retirement form. When Shawn refused, Vince still decided against firing him and just making his career a living hell. Unlike with Hogan however, even after countless times this backfired on Vince, even leading to a humiliating feud with the reformed D-Generation X after he turned on Triple H as well, he never cut his losses and fired either of them, adamant he'd make an example out of them first.
    • The following dialogue between Randy Orton and Vince's daughter Stephanie in 2009 seems to indicate that this is just some pathological addiction of the entire McMahon family.
      Randy Orton: FIRE. ME. NOW.
      Stephanie McMahon: Firing you... would be too easy. We have bigger plans.
    • Justified with Orton, as he'd won the Royal Rumble and was thus promised a world title match at WrestleMania, and had threatened to sue WWE and get a court order to stop WrestleMania from taking place if he was fired before the event. He changed tack and started demanding he be fired after realizing how much it would hurt the McMahon family to not have the event take place.
    • Sometimes this kind of thing comes back to bite Vince and the family as a whole in the ass, such as when Randy then turned the mini-feud he had going with the McMahons around with a Evil Plan of his own in order to get his hands on the World Title, during the same storyline in which the above quotes took place!
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: "Mr. McMahon". One gets the strong impression that Vince would sell his own mother if it gave him a better percentage.
    McMahon: Even my FAMILY! Even my IMMEDIATE FAMILY bought it!
  • Cult: Vince was the "Higher Power" controlling The Undertaker's Ministry of Darkness.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • Most of Vince's fights with his wrestlers (especially his WrestleMania matches) are this since Vince isn't a wrestler and much of his in-ring talent involves being willing to take a brutal ass-kicking.
    • A notable exception being the street fight against Ric Flair at the 2002 Royal Rumble; the match was actually very even, with Vince dominating the first half. Giving his physique compared to Flair's, it was actually fairly believable.
    • When he faced CM Punk in late 2012, he actually had the upper hand for most of the match (partially because CM Punk had gotten cocky given Vince's above track record, and another because he had pushed Vince's Berserk Buttons for far too long).
    • His WrestleMania "match" with Pat McAfee after Austin Theory’s match has him absolutely wipe the floor with him, delivering kicks and punches without McAfee getting any offense in. Of course, it’s all fun and games until Stone Cold arrives and stuns everybody (Vince included, obviously).
  • Deal with the Devil: Whenever a wrestler aligns themselves with Vince, the commentators often call it this. The "Kiss My Ass" club is an entire bandwagon of wrestlers who did this.
  • Determined Defeatist: To his credit, when he vows to destroy you, he damn well means it, even if you're perfectly capable of dishing it back. Most of his ill fated matches are in fact booked by him, willing to risk another beating just for an opportunity to get his hands on his enemy.
  • Dirty Old Man: His affairs with Trish Stratus and Candice Michelle are only the most famous; who knows just how many he's had?
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Like any traditional Bad Boss, he thrives on this trope. Sometimes even so much as indirectly undermining his power and logic in the slightest manner is enough to ensure you spend the usually very short remainder of your career living utter hell.
  • The Dreaded: Many have Oh, Crap! reactions when they learn of Vince's arrival, since it usually means someone is going to be fired or worse.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Vince's earliest participation around the ring was as a commentator in the 70's, and while rather loud and cheesy (as were most wrestling commentators at the time), he's virtually unrecognizable compared to the ridiculously theatrical, often cartoonishly vile persona he would develop later down the line and become famous for.
    WrestleCrap: Vince as a good guy commentator was fine. He was a goofball with his constant “Whatamaneuver!“, but the dude always had oodles of charisma. Unfortunately as a lead commentator, his natural heel charisma was all bottled up. Suffice to say that was corrected in the late 90’s.
  • Enemy Mine:
    • Triple H was such a gigantic jerkass in the Attitude Era that at one point Steve Austin willingly aided him in a match against Hunter and helped Vince win the then-WWF title.
    • He also had a truce with Steve Austin when he saved Stephanie from the Ministry of Darkness. Subverted, of course, in that Vince was in on it all along.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: One storyline had Mankind blackmail Vince into giving him a title shot by attacking Shane and refusing to stop unless Vince gave him a WWE title match against the Rock. Vince was clearly anguished by his son's pain and granted the request.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Vince was horrified to see that Brock Lesnar tossed Zack Gowen, one-legged wrestler, down a set of stairs. Vince pleaded with Brock not to do it, without success.
    • He was also aghast when Diesel used Mad Dog Vachon's prosthetic leg as a weapon.
  • Evil All Along: Vince was the Higher Power of the Corporate Ministry, and his brief face run was just part of his Evil Plan to get the title off of "Stone Cold" Steve Austin.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Vince is a Large Ham regardless of alignment, but he really enjoys playing the evil dictator-like boss of WWE.
  • Evil Is Petty: Thrives on this when in Bad Boss mode. If you betray or mock him, he'll dismantle your career and livelihood. If you even just indirectly insult him or undermine his power over you, he'll probably do worse.
  • Evil Plan: Vince pulled quite a few of these, especially in his early days as the evil boss character. Examples include the Survivor Series 1998 screwjob(which was a Kayfabe remake of the Montreal Screwjob a year earlier, only replacing Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels with Mankind and The Rock, and the whole Ministry of Darkness/Corporate Ministry/Higher Power plot.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Vince’s deep, gravelly voice is instantly recognisable and the subject of countless impressions and parodies.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Vince used the Montreal Screwjob to turn himself into the Big Bad of his own company. The turn itself was very slowly building over a year's time, beginning with seemingly small conflicts and frustrations voiced by his wrestlers, starting with Jim Ross and Bret Hart delivering anti-McMahon promos during the fall of 1996; these were characterized in a way that fans were able to laugh these off. However, more subtle hints were dropped in 1997 during subsequent conflicts between McMahon and Hart, and after McMahon was attacked for the first time by a man who would become his nemesis for the next several years: "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. During his last several weeks as lead play-by-play announcer in the fall of 1997, McMahon's formerly babyface commentary style began a slow tweener-to-heel-leaning shift, and the transformation was complete the night after the Montreal Screwjob, when McMahon delivered his famous "Bret screwed Bret" promo.
  • Family Business: Vince is a third-generation wrestling promoter, just like his father and grandfather.
  • Faux Affably Evil: After his initial Face–Heel Turn following the Montreal Screwjob, Vince tried to come across as a Benevolent Boss and Reasonable Authority Figure in order to mask his true Bad Boss and Corrupt Corporate Executive self, and tried to justify his actions to the fans and employees such as "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. During his feud with Austin however he soon gave up on this and became the card-carrying Big Bad that he's famous for now.
  • Flanderization:
    • Vince's character has degenerated more and more into self-parody in recent years, becoming more cartoonishly evil as time went on, as he seemingly grows increasingly desperate to feud with someone but can't seem to decide on who. By the time his feud with DX happened in 2006, Vince came across less like a serious threat and more like a Dean Wormer/Cobra Commander hybrid. Of course, this may be one of the few examples of a writer flanderizing his own character.
    • Vince's walk, initially it was a semi-confident stride. Now it's a full blown comical strut.
  • Foil:
    • "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. You won't see a better hero/villain combination this side of Batman and The Joker. Austin is an irreverent, violent Texan redneck who couldn't care less about following rules or respecting authority. Vince is the besuited businessman from the suburbs of Greenwich, Connecticut and is the authority Austin refuses to obey and makes the rules that Austin refuses to follow.
    • Considering the religious aspect of his character, Shawn Michaels proved a great foil for Vince's Satanic Archetype after the former returned to WWE as a born-again Christian and a consummate, perennial babyface.
  • Freudian Excuse: A few of his more subtle Heel feuds are in fact started because his employees, even supposed Faces, are genuinely complacent, disrespectful or downright volatile towards him, sometimes at very inopportune times. Just his replies of extreme Disproportionate Retribution can easily make them the lesser of two evils. These are of course also overshadowed by cases Vince thinks he's a mistreated employer but is just insanely petty.
  • Foreshadowing:

  • Groin Attack: Needless to say, this has happened more than a few times. Most infamously at WrestleMania X-Seven, when Linda rose from her wheelchair and kicked him square in his "grapefruits".
  • Hijacked by Ganon:
    • He turned out to be the 'Higher Power' that the Ministry of Darkness answered to, revealing that the entire Ministry of Darkness gimmick was all a scheme against Steve Austin at the expense of McMahon's own family. It later became the Corporate Ministry.
    • Happened again with the McMahon-Helmsley storyline, though done much differently, as he didn't mastermind the whole thing. This time he simply hijacked it by pulling a Face–Heel Turn against The Rock by costing him the main event of Wrestlemania, which led to both of Vince's kids, who had been The Starscreams up to that point, loyally returned to his side, and Triple H, whom he had been genuinely feuding with for months, became his new Dragon, and the direction of the storyline changed into a Rock vs Vince feud, with Vince doing everything to try and keep the title away from the Rock and Rock having to overcome the odds Vince stacked against him, similar to "Stone Cold" Steve Austin before.
    • When the New World Order was revived in 2002, he revealed that he (in kayfabe) had orchestrated the whole thing in the first place to destroy WCW, as had been inferred when the angle began back in 1996. His plan now was to destroy the WWF because Flair owned half the company.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • Vince tries to pull a screwjob on CM Punk to keep him from walking out of Chicago with the WWE Title but all it does is distract John Cena, who had Punk locked in an STF for the second time in the match and thus likely poised to tap, and instead let Punk win the title. Then Vince goes on the fricking headset and calls for Alberto Del Rio, right in front of Punk, to cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase that he won that night on Punk to take the WWE title. Naturally, the only guy other than Edge who's actually cashed in on people twice would see this coming, dispatch Del Rio with a swift roundhouse kick, blow Vince a goodbye kiss on the guardrail, and run off into the throng of cheering Chicagoans with Vince's most precious title belt.
    • Then the next night on Raw, he tries to go through with his promise to fire John Cena (the biggest star in the company) for losing the match. Despite the fact it was his own fault this even happened in the first place. Before he can say the word, however, Triple H arrives to make the bittersweet announcement that the Board of Directors has decided to kick Vince out of power and put Hunter in his place. Really, Vince has no one to blame but himself.
  • Humiliation Conga: Happens to him on a semi-regular basis, but he seems to get humiliated annually at WrestleMania.
    • DX put him through many during their feud with him.
    • The entire Money in the Bank 2011 WWE Championship storyline with CM Punk and John Cena leading to Mr. McMahon's dismissal from power in favor of Triple H was the ultimate Humiliation Conga for the character.
    • The "McMahon Family Reunion". Triple H had editorial comments and "Take That!" Kiss with Stephanie.
  • I Call Him "Mister Happy": One hidden camera segment had Vince at a urinal, whipping it out with his famous introductory "Andre The Giant!"
  • I Lied: "Hey Zack Ryder, RAW's in Long Island tonight, and you've got a big night ahead! You're gonna be the star of the show out there tonight—PSYCHE! It's actually your Superstars script, buddy."
  • Intimate Open Shirt: He hears about a woman outside his office waiting to see him. Assuming it's Candice Michelle, he unbuttons his shirt and drops his pants. When it turns out to be Momma Benjamin, cue Oh, Crap! and rapid buttoning of the shirt.
  • Insistent Terminology: In kayfabe and in real life, Mr. McMahon has some... particularities over what talent in WWE are allowed to say, sometimes for rather arbitrary personal reasons.
    • "Sports Entertainment" or "Live Entertainment", not "Professional Wrestling", and he apparently gets very upset if you mention the "W" word in his presence. This also means his talent are "superstars", not "wrestlers" (and "divas" for women's champs), which nearly caused Joey Styles to burst a capillary with rage.
    • Even worse, he's taken to calling it "Live Entertainment" as of 2010.
    • Instead of fans, it's the "WWE Universe".
    • They're "championship titles", NOT "belts". CM Punk referenced this during a Jimmy Kimmel Live! sketch in which he met a young John Cena fan. Apparently belts are only the replicas you buy in stores.
  • It Runs in the Family: The whole McMahon family, including the in-laws. Vince is a third-generation promoter. His kids are fourth-generation promoters, and have shown themselves to be as reckless and borderline crazy as he is.
  • Large Ham: The largest. As a Heel, he takes it straight into Evil Is Hammy. But in any case, Mr. McMahon the character is just as over-the-top and expressive as the most animated of his wrestlers. Not a single promo goes by where Vince isn't shouting at the top of his lungs at some point or another.
    "SHUT UP!"
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Vince has gotten this several times, and it's always glorious. One of the most notable examples was when he forced everyone from Jim Ross to Trish Stratus to literally kiss his ass...only for them to get payback when the Rock forced him to kiss Rikishi's 400-pound ass while they watched.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Way back in 1997 a New York Post writer named Phil Mushnick targeted professional wrestling. He hated the sport, hated the fans, wasn't content to change the channel and wanted to take away people's rights. Jim Cornette spoke his mind on the issue and after another segment where fan opinions were voiced Vince read out the address to send Mr. Mushnick their opinion, before stating he can think of a letter to send himself. At the time few knew Vinnie Mac ran the WWF and as owner he would rightly have a few choice comments to make.
  • Louis Cypher: Vince was the "Higher Power" of the Ministry, a Satanic cult, and branded himself a counterpart at war with God in "McMahonism". As well, during the McMahonism storyline, Vince imitated Triple H's water-spitting entrance using holy water, then turned to his son Shane and said, "That kind of burns a little!" giving a hint of actual demonic influence. No wonder Shane asked him off-screen after that if he was going to Hell.
    Jim Ross: Some say he's the devil himself.

  • Major Injury Underreaction: Royal Rumble 2005 initially ended with the mother of all botches when the remaining wrestlers, John Cena and Batista, were accidentally eliminated at the exact same time, with Vince stomping down into the ring to act as damage control. However, after catching his knee on the ring while entering, he ended up tearing one of the quads in his legs, and — while forced to do so sitting down — spent the next minute barking orders at the wrestlers and refs on a 1v1 reset, almost assuredly masking the pain he was in. Once the matter was settled, he refused assistance in getting out of the ring and stood up on his own, tearing his other quad.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Vince was the "Higher Power" masterminding the Ministry of Darkness/Corporate Ministry.
  • Mr. Alt Disney: McMahon has always wanted to be seen as the "Walt Disney" of wrestling, and after returning from a brief, involuntary, retirement in 2023 started sporting a thin moustache and slicked back, dyed black hair very much in the mold of Uncle Walt.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: During Mankind's infamous King of the Ring 1998 Hell in a Cell match against The Undertaker, Vince came out and rushed to Foley's side with everyone else after the insane spot where the Undertaker threw him off the top of the cell through the Spanish announcers' table. When medics, referees and other staff are crowding around Mick and trying to load him onto a stretcher, Vince is stone-faced, but you can still see he's visibly upset at what happened to one of his men in the name of the business. After the bruising match finished (and it went on for a long time after that spot), Vince supposedly came to Mick backstage and said to him "Mick, you have no idea how much I appreciate what you just did, but I never want to see that again."
  • New Era Speech: On the December 15, 1997 Raw, he delivered a huge promo where, invoking USA Network's slogan of the time "The Cure for the Common Show," he said, "The WWF extends far beyond the strict confines of sports presentation into the wide open environment of broad based entertainment," effectively proclaiming the beginning of the Attitude Era, though not using those specific words. He proceeded to compare Raw to Jerry Springer, King of the Hill, Days of Our Lives, and Seinfeld. Then came the big Wham Line, as Vince drew a clear line in the sand between the company's past and its present and future:
    McMahon: We in the WWF think that you, the audience, are quite frankly tired of having your intelligence insulted. We also think that you're tired of the same old simplistic theory of "Good Guys vs. Bad Guys". Surely the era of the super-hero urge you to say your prayers and take your vitamins is definitely passé. Therefore, we've embarked on a far more innovative and contemporary creative campaign, that is far more invigorating and extemporaneous than ever before.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Nearly every Vince match is one of these. Not only does he get absolutely destroyed by whoever he's facing, but the good guy usually delivers a beating so brutal it would turn them Heel if it was against anyone else.
    • Part of the reason Bret vs. Vince didn't work out well was probably because the Lighter and Softer approach WWE has implemented means Bret couldn't really beat the holy hell out of Vince like Shawn Michaels or Hulk Hogan could years before. That, and Bret - having suffered a career-ending concussion and a stroke in the twelve-plus years between the Montreal Screwjob and WrestleMania 26 - was in no shape to actually wrestle. That being said, the crowd did indeed roar with approval when Bret locked in the Sharpshooter.
    • A couple notable subversions; his match with Ric Flair over control of the WWE in the early 2000s had him dominate the Nature Boy. He also got the better of CM Punk in their 2012 brawl.
  • Non-Action Guy: Vince runs the ring rather than wrestling in it. While he has enough moves to throw a few effective blows and supplies well in cheap shots, he will usually either cower or get his teeth kicked in whenever forced into a legitimate match.
  • Non-Idle Rich: Like many other business tycoons, Vince could have stayed behind the scenes without ever appearing in the public eye. Instead, he's done everything from commentary at ringside to doing skits where he wets his pants on live television to taking vicious beatings in the ring himself. This is even part of the reason that he brought his children into the company, because Vince has no life outside of wrestling - ahem, "sports entertainment" - and is obsessively devoted to the business that if they weren't involved too he would literally never see them otherwise.
  • Not What It Looks Like: Vince tried this excuse when Linda literally caught Vince with his pants down after he tried to seduce Torrie Wilson. Needless to say, Linda didn't buy it.
  • Oh, Crap!: Vince has displayed looks of utter terror when he's about to suffer something really bad, especially from someone he's wronged:
    • When Stone Cold Steve Austin pretended to shoot him with a toy gun, prompting him to wet his pants;
    • When Chris Benoit and Chris Jericho displayed the video of him singing "Stand Back" on the Titantron;
    • And especially when the Rock forced him to kiss Rikishi's ass to permanently shut down his "Kiss My Ass Club".
  • Overlord Jr.: Apparently, shortly after he bought the WWF, Vince's dad sent letters to each of the NWA promoters, which basically said "my kid is coming for you, get ready". They didn't listen.
  • Papa Wolf: Subverted during the Higher Power storyline. Vince acted like this when his daughter Stephanie was threatened by The Undertaker and the Ministry of Darkness, however it was then revealed that Vince was the Higher Power who masterminded Stephanie's kidnapping all along. Since then for the most part Vince has been portrayed as treating his family cruelly - unless they're on the same side, in which case he plays this pretty straight.
  • Parent-Child Team: Teamed with his son Shane McMahon often, during their feud with D-Generation X and as a part of The Corporation.
  • The Power of Hate: You gotta give credit: as malicious and brutal he is to his enemies, he is at least resilient about it. He was driven to a borderline Villainous Breakdown at the hands of DeGeneration X, but remained vigilant just because he was that intent on destroying them.
  • Power Stable: The Corporation, Corporate Ministry, McMahon-Helmsley Faction/Regime, and Team McMahon. There was also a tag team version of a Power Stable known as the Power Trip, which still held the WWE, Intercontinental, and Tag Team title belts at the same time despite only consisting of "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and Triple H.
  • Rage Quit: As mentioned under Complexity Addiction, Vince generally favours warring and toying with wrestlers that cross him to Make An Example Out Of Them. If the feud proves particularly fruitless or enduring however, he may resort to just cutting the formalities and firing them anyway should it remain his only means of "winning". Vince attempted a Cruel Mercy punishment for Hulk Hogan at first in their 2003 feud for example, paying his salary but banishing him from wrestling ever again. When Hogan loopholed around this with his "Mr. America" alias, Vince was incensed and worn down enough to just fire Hogan and be done with it the moment his identity was exposed.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: McMahon was especially good at these, particularly when he was perfecting the "Mr. McMahon" character in the spring of 1998, berating faces and heels alike with no shame or guilt, as though he were still proud to look at himself in the mirror every morning. One of his best was one he did with Mick Foley on the June 1, 1998 edition of WWE Raw. Foley had tried unsuccessfully, as McMahon's hired gun, to defeat "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, the most recently a day earlier at "Over the Edge." McMahon publicly called Foley an embarrassment to his company, friends and family, and tough-talking coward — at one point, Foley was ready to slug McMahon with a steel chair, but backed off as McMahon told him that he would revoke various trust funds for his children and parents and drive him to ruin. After several more minutes of calling Foley a miserable failure, he fired him, by which time Foley had collapsed into tears.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: The first image in his Mr. McMahon Titantron was a shot of his face, which was all black-and-white except for his eyes, which were colored red.
  • Ring Oldies: "It's not very often that you see a sixty-year-old man with a HERCULEAN physique like mine!" Terry Funk called him "the most hardcore man in the business" because he's a multi-millionaire who doesn't need to be hit over the head with chairs week in and week out, but does so anyway to promote a story.
    • One of his hallmark moments had to have been his sudden reappearance in the 2012 Cena/Punk feud. Long story short, Vince challenged Punk to a fight and went toe-to-toe with him at the end of the episode. This was crazy awesome in kayfabe as Vince is nearing 70 and Punk was the WWE Champion at the time, but a look at the background info will show that Vince decided on about six days' notice to appear on RAW in person and carry out this storyline in an attempt to boost ratings after one of the worst Mondays in WWE's recent history. In other words, a 67-year-old multimillionaire CEO threw himself into an on-screen brawl (some of the spots included Vince leaping over an announce table as well as Vince and Punk beating the crap out of each other with kendo sticks) for the sole purpose of getting people to watch his TV show. Now that's dedication. Not only did he not mind taking some nasty shots, he came close to winning without outside interference to the point that Punk tried to run away.
    • Shown once again on RAW in January 2013, when he was about to fire Paul Heyman. He was scheduled to get hip surgery for a real life issue, so what did he do to have an excuse to be off TV? Take an F-5 from Brock Lesnar, of course.

  • Sanity Slippage:
    • In 1999, he was the "Higher Power" behind The Undertaker's Ministry of Darkness, which was basically a Religion of Evil.
    • In 2002, Vince was going off the hinges over Ric Flair being co-owner of the WWF. Vince was so convinced that Flair was going to kill the WWF that he decided the only solution was for him to kill it first. So, he injected the WWF "with a lethal dose of poison" — which turned out to be the New World Order, which did not turn out to be any kind of poison at all since, rough and thuggish as they were together, they loved the fans too much — especially Hogan.
    • Vince also went crazy in 2003 when he learned he was going to be in a Buried Alive match against The Undertaker, going as far as to demand that Taker's house be burned down, and that Taker's children were kidnapped and his wife was raped, and was even about to murder Paul Heyman and fire his corpse before Heyman managed to talk Vince out of it. He also turned into a devout follower of an unknown power (perhaps as a Continuity Nod to the "Higher Power" angle) and walked to the ring as a praying, grinning idiot; this would later turn out to be a More than Mind Control relationship with Kane, who ultimately helped McMahon win the match.
    • In 2006, he booked himself against God (and Shawn Michaels) in a PPV match, a feud in which he healed Candice Michelle of a chest cold in an orgasmic frenzy simply by touching her chest and did a rambling prayer promo to himself in the middle of a church. (God "appeared" in the match in the form of a spotlight before "walking out" of the match, BTW, and McMahon, well, he couldn't keep from talking about it that night.)
    • After losing the ECW Championship at One Night Stand 2007, Mr. McMahon started to behave more erratically in the following weeks that would lead to his "death" in a limousine explosion. However, this would soon be dropped abruptly due to the real life death of Chris Benoit. Once WWE was ready to pick up the storyline again, Vince explained that it was a ruse to see what people actually thought of him, including his own family.
  • Satanic Archetype: He gets played up as this a lot, especially evident in his theme song and when he's paired against Shawn Michaels' Messianic Archetype. He's compared to the Devil a lot by commentators, especially Jim Ross, who even claimed that when Vince goes to Hell, he would quickly take it over, implying that Vince was even WORSE than Satan. Vince was also the "Higher Power" of the Ministry, a Satanic cult, and branded himself a counterpart at war with God in "McMahonism". During the McMahonism storyline, Vince imitated Triple H's water-spitting entrance using holy water, then turned to Shane and said, "That kind of burns a little!", giving a hint of actual demonic influence. Over a decade later, the "Boss" puppet of Bray Wyatt's Firefly Fun House is in Vince's likeness and comes in through a door or window with a background styled to resemble hellfire, hinting that the Fun House creatures and even The Fiend himself regard Vince as the devil they serve.
  • Secret-Keeper: In WrestleMania XXX, he was the one who made the final decision that Brock Lesnar would end The Undertaker's Streak, which he kept private. Apart from revealing the decision beforehand to Taker and Lesnar and to his own daughter and son-in-law (who joined him in being secret-keepers themselves), he told no one else about it until months after the show—not Michael Cole, not referee Chad Patton, not even Paul Heyman—in order to up the shock value. Apart from Taker's head concussion, which was not what he nor Vince had planned in mind, it seemed that only Vince and his two family members were preparing for the end of the Streak like mourning family members preparing for a loved one's death—it was just a matter of when. When it was finally time, Lesnar and Taker knew about it and gave off hints of Five-Second Foreshadowing to the audience, with the McMahons (and Triple H) bowing their heads for a moment of the audience's Stunned Silence after the bell.
  • Self-Deprecation:
    • We're talking about a promoter who allowed himself to get his head shaved by Donald Trump, take several wrestlers' finishers, get hit with steel chairs, have his face shoved into Big Show and Rikishi's backsides, getting literally whipped with a belt, and allowed wrestlers to make fun of his "Stand Back" music video...
    • Of note: every WrestleMania match Vince has ever competed in has been a loss for him, with Vince himself believing that he should never be on the winning end of a feud.
    • The Monday Night Wars were finally won basically by airing Vince getting his ass kicked by Steve Austin week after week. Even when he won, he lost!
    • He did a infomercial sketch on The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn where he practically begged viewers to buy his failed XFL football league.
      McMahon: Hey, remember the Memphis Maniax? Of course you don't! That's why you can have all the teams too!
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Once on Raw in 1996.
    McMahon: Hunter has injured his prominent proboscis.note 
    Jerry "The King" Lawler: Not only that, but he hurt his nose.
  • Smoking Is Not Cool: He HATES it. Cigarettes, cigars, pipes, everything. You can hear him express his disgust here, during Big Bully Busick's (w/manager Harvey Wippleman) Squash of Russ Greenberg on the August 31, 1991 WWF Superstars.
  • Smug Snake: He proudly took credit as being the one behind the NXT Riot, only for the "NXT Seven" to subsequently beat him down for the insinuation.
  • Straight Man: As an announcer, producing some terrific interactions with such color men as Jesse Ventura, Bobby Heenan and Jerry Lawler.
  • The Three Certainties in Life: During a feud with USWA, he claimed that the three guarantees in life are Death, Taxes, and Randy Savage.
  • They Call Me MISTER Tibbs!: A part of his first Face–Heel Turn was Vince insisting people call him "Mr. McMahon."
  • Verbal Tic: Get Vince talking about anything, either in his Mr. McMahon character or as himself, and see how long it takes before he precedes a statement with the words "quite frankly". Odds are good he'll say it within the first minute.
  • Villainous Incest: Defied. Vince intended on doing this angle with his daughter Stephanie, but she declined. He had an incest storyline set up for Paul Burchill and Katie Lea, who were lovers in OVW and put back together in WWE with the same antics but the slight change that they were now related but the switch to PG across the board stopped the implications from being taken all the way. Sexual Chocolate was in an incest storyline but was treated it like a past crime he was trying to atone for so he was not a villain.
  • Villain Protagonist: Vince McMahon is the owner of WWE and the kayfabe universe is his own, so he's basically this. He also tends to center the show around himself and his storylines even though he's the Big Bad. His antics in 2007 (feud with Trump, ECW reign, limo explosion, illegitimate son, etc.) are just some examples.
  • Villain Song: "No Chance in Hell", which initially started as the theme song for The Corporation, and before that, the theme song for the 1999 Royal Rumble, at which Mr. McMahon assured that Steve Austin has "no chance in hell" of winning that year's Royal Rumble. It also got a Dark Reprise simply known as the Corporate Ministry theme.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Vince loves this trope.
    • He completely lost his cool when "Stone Cold" Steve Austin got a group of police officers to arrest him and his stooges. It has to be seen to be believed.
    • After Mankind won the WWF title for the first time in early 1999, Vince, with the Corporation in tow, retreated up the ramp, all the while with Vince shouting "NO!!! NOT HIM!!! ANYBODY BUT HIM!!! NO!!! NOT MANKIND!!!"
    • His feud with DX had him trolled relentlessly enough to have an onscreen nervous breakdown.
  • Villainous Valour: While a lot of the time he's a malicious Bad Boss who is Bullying the Dragon when it comes to his wrestling roster, Vince will often be conveyed as spitefully defiant to the end when it comes to proper feuds. A lot of his matches against trained superstars are arranged by him.
  • The Wonka: Vince's bizarre eccentricities are half of his charm. To summarize from other page entries, he utterly despises sneezing and smoking, carries an electric razor around which he uses multiple times a day to avoid even a hint of stubble, works around the clock while never taking vacations and getting very little sleep, has a fascination with everything from Toilet Humor to Villainous Incest, performs random acts of charity to help employees out, and is a Non-Idle Rich who takes vicious beatings with everything from wrestling moves to kendo sticks while bleeding all over the place. If the Trope Namer had never come along this trope could have been named after Vince.
  • You Have Failed Me: Vince has two words for those who fail him: YOOOOOUUUUU'RE FFFFFFFFFFFFFIIIIIIIIIIRRRRRRRRRRREEEEEEEEDDDD!!!!
  • You Will Be Assimilated: Vince ran both Eric Bischoff and Paul Heyman out of business, and later bought their promotions. He later put both men on his own payroll and partially revived their promotions, albeit in very different forms than their originals.

"IT'S ME, TROPERS! ("Aw, sonovabitch..." "WHAT?!") IT'S ME, TROPERS! IT WAS ME ALL ALONG, TROPERS! ("Damn, I can-NOT believe it...") YOU ALL BOUGHT IT! YOU ALL BOUGHT IT! HOOK, LINE, AND SINKER! EVEN MY FAMILY- EVEN MY IMMEDIATE FAMILY BOUGHT IT! EVERY DAMN ONE OF YOU WERE MADE FOOLS OF! ("You're a fool, JR!") But you know... I really didn't want to do it; the Tropers made me. Those damn Tropers made me fool you, because Tropers, I had to teach you a lesson that you would never, EVER, forget... And now, Tropers... Tropers, now you know: there is no price I will not pay, there is no depth that I will not stoop, TO MAKE YOUR LIFE ON EARTH, TROPERS, A TOTAL COMPLETE LIVING HELLLLLL!"


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Vincent Kennedy Mc Mahon


This Is Scandalous!

Vince McMahon makes a skit parodying and mocking a controversial ad for having a white woman seducing a black man.

How well does it match the trope?

4.65 (20 votes)

Example of:

Main / MalignedMixedMarriage

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