The opinion of Vince McMahon is the one that has mattered more than anyone else in the wrestling industry over the past few decades. McMahon took WWE to the mainstream and it is now a household brand in America with a global presence. The vision was clearly a successful one, but the beliefs of McMahon aren’t always right. Vince is set in his ways and will often overlook a talent for very peculiar reasons. Some wrestlers have been hated by McMahon due to their appearances, personalities or style. Others have had personal issues with him.
A business like WWE is full of personal drama that starts at the top of the company. McMahon has made his fair share of enemies with wrestlers having falling outs. Most find their way back into the WWE family, but a few have been blackballed. We are going to take a look at the various wrestlers Vince has hated at some point during their time in the wrestling industry. Was McMahon right about them? The stories will each show what they’re doing these days. Some wrestlers are successful and others have become afterthoughts in wrestling history. A few names have mended fences with Vince, but there are still some enemies out there. These are fifteen wrestlers Vince McMahon hated and the journeys of what they are doing today.
15. Hulk Hogan: Retired
The relationship between Hulk Hogan and Vince McMahon is one of the most fascinating stories in wrestling history. McMahon made Hogan the face of WWE as the company moved into the mainstream. The inception of WrestleMania and the celebrity crossovers coincided with Hogan being the man that WWE sold to the media. Hogan became the biggest star in the industry and helped get WWE to the next level thanks to McMahon’s vision.
The egos of both men saw them each believe they carried the other to the promise land. Hogan left WWE numerous times throughout his career with bitter falling outs almost every time. McMahon despised him for not supporting WWE during the steroids scandal in the 90s and eventually joining WWE. The two are on good terms today with Hogan returning to the company in 2014 until a racist scandal forced him out. Hogan is living off money won in a lawsuit regarding the sex tape that revealed the comments and is hoping for one more WWE return.
14. Nailz: Runs Car Garage Business
Hundreds of wrestlers have hated Vince McMahon at some point during their careers, but only have a handful of them have ever actually been able to physically attack him. The forgettable wrestler Nailz had a shocking interaction backstage with McMahon. There were apparently financial promises broken by McMahon and Nailz was going to get it corrected. John Nord allegedly guarded the door for Nailz to shout at McMahon.
Bret Hart revealed in his book that he was down the hallway and heard the cursing before a loud crashing sound of Nailz attacking McMahon. The two parties challenged each other in court with lawsuits flying both ways and an intense hatred. Nailz saw his wrestling career end shortly after the incident blackballing him from WWE. Since 2007, Nailz and his family have been running a car garage with his time in wrestling long over.
13. Rob Van Dam: Semi-Retired WWE Legend
There is a popular belief among WWE wrestlers that you must develop a good relationship with Vince McMahon before he trusts you to be a world champion with his confidence behind you. Rob Van Dam is someone that should have been a far bigger star, but his lack of interest in buddying with McMahon hurt him. The laid back attitude and stoner reputation of Van Dam made McMahon already have a few strikes against him. It held RVD back on multiple occasions when he was popular enough to be the top face.
The incident that made McMahon hate Van Dam featured RVD turn down the opportunity to wrestle for the troops in Iraq. WWE went over to the difficult conditions of putting together a show for soldiers stationed there. The show was deemed optional by WWE, but Van Dam was the only wrestler to say no. WWE tried to talk him into going, but RVD refused claiming he wanted the off time and didn’t want to deal with that travel. It was another strike against him becoming a top star. Van Dam is still celebrated for his legacy in WWE and should be in the Hall of Fame one day.
12. Eric Bischoff: TV Producer/Podcast Host
One of the most personal and intense hatreds Vince McMahon held for another person in the wrestling was towards Eric Bischoff. As the man running the show in WCW, Bischoff took the war to WWE by putting together shady tactics. Bischoff would steal talent, reveal WWE results on television and even convinced Madusa to throw the WWE Women’s Championship in the trash on a live episode of Nitro.
McMahon and Bischoff hated each other during the intense years of the Monday Night Wars. Bischoff challenged McMahon to a fight on live WCW PPV and Vince was allegedly going to go if not for Stephanie McMahon’s college graduation being the same day. WWE eventually won the war and Vince proved to be the bigger man by hiring Bischoff to play on-air talent. The two made peace during Bischoff’s time in the company. Bischoff currently runs his own production company with Jason Hervey and hosts a wrestling podcast to remain in the industry.
11. Vader: Semi-Retired
Many of the reasons for Vince McMahon hating certain wrestlers are valid. One that had no logic behind it was disdain for Vader. WWE signed Vader following his incredible runs in WCW and various Japanese promotions. Vader was one of the best big men in the industry perfectly playing a monster heel, but having the ability to keep up with aerial wrestlers. WWE never used him well and he always came off like a mid-carder at best.
The reason for the lack of strong booking behind Vader was McMahon strongly disliking him. Vince hated the look of Vader and allegedly referred to him as a slob in meetings discussing talent. The use of Vader helped the stories appear more valid with a disappointing run in WWE. Vader has continued his wrestling career as recent as this year. Unfortunately, his health isn’t great with a couple of doctors telling him his heart issues will give him two years to live. Other doctors have given him more optimistic news and we can only hope that is the valid analysis.
10. Christian: Retired/WWE Network Talent
Christian is one of the most underrated talents in recent WWE history. From the tag team work with Edge during the Attitude Era to the entertaining singles career, Christian always gave his all to the job. The biggest moment Christian received came in 2005 when he started calling out all of the top wrestlers, especially John Cena. It felt like they were setting up a huge singles feud for the WWE Championship. Christian never received a singles title shot on PPV.
This played a role in Christian leaving WWE the following year to progress his career in TNA. Vince McMahon hated the look of Christian and never believed he could be a top star. Former WWE writers claimed McMahon actually wanted to edit a giant blue dot over Christian’s face because Vince thought it would improve him. Christian returned to WWE and won McMahon over enough to have a couple of short World Championship title reigns before retiring with the company he calls home.
McMahon and Christian made a joke about the hatred Vince held for Christian in an episode of Edge and Christian’s comedy show. Christian was forced to retire due to injury issues, but still works for WWE for the aforementioned WWE Network Show and other on-screen appearances.
9. Raven: Semi-Retired
Raven had a couple of stints in WWE that failed to make an impact. The first one as Johnny Polo saw him primarily work as a manager and commentator to get his personality over. Shane McMahon became a good friend of Raven during this time period and the two actually became drinking buddies. Shane was still learning the ropes doing various jobs for WWE and he gravitated towards Raven.
One would think having a McMahon in your corner was a good thing. It wasn’t for Raven when Vince McMahon found out his son was getting drunk every night with one of the talents. Raven claims Vince resented him for being a bad influence to Shane. The fact that Raven took part in a class action lawsuit against WWE many years later regarding the “independent contractor” aspect of the contract likely earned him more hate. Raven works the occasional indie show and has resurfaced in various WWE productions discussing his history in ECW.
8. The Headbangers: Indie Wrestlers/Occasional WWE Wrestlers
The forgotten Attitude Era tag team of the Headbangers had a solid run in WWE. Mosh and Thrasher were heavily featured on WWE television for about a year. Vince McMahon apparently disliked the style of the Headbangers and it ultimately caused their chances of success to disappear. The tag team run end when Thrasher suffered an injury. Both members struggled to get consistent television time with Thrasher getting released in 2000 and Mosh following him in 2001.
McMahon’s hatred of them dampened over the years and he allowed the Headbangers to return in 2016 on the Smackdown Live brand. Mosh and Thrasher worked a few matches in the tag team division. They weren’t offered contracts and likely are already done with their short run, but the duo continues to wrestle on the independent circuit. Mosh is a full-time wrestler and Thrasher is currently working as the GM of a health club in Florida.
7. Buff Bagwell: Gigolo
Vince McMahon purchasing WCW gave us the first time we would see the two legendary promotions battling against each other under the WWE banner. The original plan was for WCW be a separate brand continuing to work on its own. That all ended when the first match between Booker T and Buff Bagwell on WWE television showed fans having no respect for the WWE product. Bagwell rightfully earned more of the blame than Booker for a horrible performance.
McMahon loved the look of Bagwell and wanted him positioned with Booker among the top WCW names. It came back to bite him. Bagwell refusing to show up to work the next week led to McMahon loathing Buff and firing him just a week into his WWE career. WWE never brought back Bagwell and he has been buried in various WWE productions over the years. Bagwell still wrestles occasionally on the independent scene and has another gig in the gigolo field.
6. Jeff Jarrett: Failed Promoter
A bitter departure during the Monday Night Wars saw Jeff Jarrett hold up WWE for money or he was going to take the Intercontinental Championship belt with him to WCW. Vince McMahon allegedly owed Jarrett money and didn’t realize Jarrett’s contract expired the night before the PPV event that he was expected to drop the title to Chyna at. Jarrett received the money he demanded and did the job, but it was a horrible move for his career.
McMahon held a grudge against Jarrett for the way he did business. The night of WWE purchasing WCW having a simulcast featured McMahon speaking on both Raw and Nitro. One of the segments featured him flat out saying Jarrett would never return to WWE. The words were true. Jarrett formed TNA and failed in trying to compete with WWE. Now he is trying to do the same with Global Force Wrestling, but it failed before it even started. Jarrett has to be wishing he could find a way back to WWE.
5. Goldberg: WWE Superstar
The signing of Bill Goldberg in 2003 provided optimism of fans to witness the WCW legend come to WWE and square off with many top names for the first time. WWE refused to book Goldberg as an unbeatable monster that would beat guys within a few minutes. That was the magic that built him in WCW. Longer matches exposed Goldberg and made him flop horribly during his first run in WWE.
According to Goldberg, Vince McMahon disliked him and didn’t believe he was a team player. Something changed thirteen years later with WWE bringing Goldberg back to market the WWE 2K video game around. Fans developed interest in Goldberg leading to the company having him wrestle again. The result of him shockingly destroying Brock Lesnar in 86 seconds at Survivor Series 2016 has him continuing the second run in WWE. McMahon changing his tune is making WWE finally use Goldberg correctly when he’s hitting 50 years old.
4. Jim Ross: Podcast Host
Jim Ross is regarded as the greatest play by play announcer in WWE history. As the voice of the Attitude Era, Ross’ voice is synonymous with the majority of legendary moments for WWE. Ross has always been highly respected by the wrestlers and the wrestling fans, but one man always looked down him. Unfortunately, it happened to be the most powerful person in wrestling. Vince McMahon disliked Ross for differences the two shared with miniscule things like JR’s accent annoying McMahon. WWE frequently featured segments of Ross being humiliated likely suggested by Vince.
Ross was removed from the commentary far earlier than most believe he should have been due to McMahon believing he was too old to be on-screen. WWE eventually fired him with McMahon blaming him for Ric Flair going off the rails on a panel hosted by JR. Despite having reason to, Ross never bad mouths McMahon and still holds respect for him. Ross hosts his Ross Report podcast weekly as one of the more well-known wrestling pundits providing expertise along with a touring one-man show.
3. Bruno Sammartino: Retired Legend/WWE Hall of Famer
The first huge star to be considered the face of WWE would have to be Bruno Sammartino. Vince McMahon Sr. loved the work of Sammartino and allowed him to hold the WWE Championship for a collective 4,040 days totaled for two reigns. With Vince McMahon Jr. taking over and making drastic changes, Sammartino hated what WWE was turning into. Vince and Bruno developed a strong disdain for each other that went public.
Sammartino blamed McMahon for the rampant use of steroids in the industry and claimed he was killing wrestling with the edgy content during the Attitude Era. McMahon retorted with negative opinions about Sammartino as well. Everyone assumed they would never make peace, but Triple H pulled off the impossible. Triple H talked Bruno into letting WWE induct him into the 2014 Hall of Fame class. Sammartino lives a retired life in his older age and it is great he was able to mend fences with McMahon.
2. Bret Hart: Retired Legend/Runs Loan Company
One of the most high profile examples of a wrestler clashing with Vince McMahon came in 1997 when Bret Hart left WWE. McMahon signed Hart to a massive contract, but no longer wanted to pay it and talked Bret into leaving for WCW. Hart refused to lose his hated backstage enemy Shawn Michaels in his final match and it pissed off McMahon enough to do the impossible. McMahon orchestrated the Montreal Screwjob of having Hart lose the match without his agreement.
Hart punched out McMahon in the locker room to take the war to the next level as he left the company. McMahon appeared on Raw the next night taking shots at Bret throwing heavy shots towards him. Things were very ugly between the two in a way that appeared unlike any other McMahon beef. Hart eventually returned to WWE in a shocking turn of events and actually won a match over McMahon at WrestleMania 26. Bret is enjoying life with his family today and they run a loan company for small businesses in Canada.
1. CM Punk: UFC Fighter
The ugly ending to CM Punk’s relationship with WWE is still one of the most relevant wrestling stories of the past few years. Vince McMahon actually liked Punk for the majority of his WWE career. Following the Chris Benoit tragedy, the media fired at WWE for the large amount of drug use going on in the company. A straight edge figure like Punk being popular provided proof some wrestlers in WWE stayed clean. Punk worked his way to the top of WWE with fans making him among the most valuable performers.
Frustration started to mount when Punk felt opportunities he deserves went to other wrestlers. McMahon allowed Punk to talk out and things would get ugly between the two sides. Punk revealed that WWE sent his termination papers on the day of his wedding as a way to slap him in the proverbial face. Something like that happening with such a big star wouldn’t have been allowed if McMahon didn’t know about it. Punk remains anti-WWE and refuses to make peace. The dream of a UFC career is still being chased, but it isn’t going well. Punk would rather get destroyed in MMA than return to McMahon’s company.