Like in any other business, getting on your boss’ good side can never be a bad thing. Forming a relationship with your boss can eventually lead you to moving up in the company, something that certainly applies in the WWE. All the wrestlers on this list have at least once carried the title through a long and successful title reign. Vince certainly has his favorites and it’s very apparent who they are judging by all their success in the company. Despite his (at times) hard-headed business style, behind the scenes Vince is quite the sensitive character, and he has been known to be quite the father figure to many past superstars. His business sense is sometimes quite ruthless, but as he frequently says, he does what’s “best for business” and leaves personal issues aside. On a personal stand point, McMahon has created bonds that will last him a lifetime. Let us now take a look at who these ten superstars are. Here are the top 10 wrestlers Vince McMahon has a soft spot for.
10) Hulk Hogan
A love hate relationship pretty much sums up these two. On a personal standpoint, they are extremely close and have a huge amount of respect for one another, but on a business standpoint they have clashed many times before. When talking about their personal relationship, Hulk referred to Vince as someone that will do anything for you, even give you the shirt off his back, though from a business standpoint Vince is much different according to Hogan; its either Vince’s way, or no way. Despite their rocky relationship business wise over the past few years, Vince feels forever indebted to Hulk after everything he’s done for the wrestling business. McMahon’s first ever golden boy was Hogan, and together they took the wrestling world by storm. Due to their great personal relationship, many believe Hulk will be present for WrestleMania 32 despite everything that’s happened with Hulk as of late. At the end of the day the decision comes down to Vince, but it’ll be interesting to see how this plays out.
9) Big Show
At the age of 43, Big Show is still going strong. It’s no secret that a big reason for him still being relevant in the company is his terrific relationship with not only Vince McMahon, but Triple H as well. Ever since Vince took charge of the wrestling business he’s always had a strong appreciation for the larger than life athlete, and getting Big Show to leave WCW for WWE was a dream for Vince. Big Show was given a massive push as soon as he debuted, along with a very generous contract. Despite Big Show losing some steam in the past couple of years he still manages to remain relevant because of his status within the company. Look for Big Show to be a part of the WWE for a long time, even when he retires surely the WWE will have something for him internally.
8) Stone Cold Steve Austin
Like Hulk Hogan, McMahon and Austin have a very similar relationship. On a personal level they are the best of friends, but on a business standpoint they have clashed heads several times, causing Austin to walk out of the WWE more than once. Austin admits McMahon has played many different roles in his life, roles such as a father figure, brother, mentor, best friend and even enemy. Austin attributes the enemy standpoint to being specifically business related. Today, Austin says they are on great terms despite a couple of trademark issues. No matter what happens both will never forget that they together took the wrestling business by storm and revolutionized it forever.
Like the Big Show, JBL has managed to stay relevant at the age of 48. McMahon has always been quite high on JBL, so much so that he gave him a WWE Championship run lasting 280 days. In addition, after asking for a release JBL was later welcomed back with open arms and joined the WWE announce team full time. Many were surprised to see JBL back, particularly because he asked to leave and was also quite the bully backstage. Despite this, Vince always liked the former champion and welcomed him back with open arms. This is something we’ve seen Vince do a lot with many other superstars. He also has kept the door open on a possible return for the next entrant as well.
6) CM Punk
Despite leaving the company on terrible terms, McMahon admits he would still welcome Punk back with open arms. This is largely due to the close relationship the two had with one another. CM Punk also admitted that McMahon got very emotional when Punk asked for a release. Punk claims McMahon wept when he asked to leave the WWE. A bit of fuel was added to the situation when McMahon sent Punk’s release papers on the day of his wedding. McMahon went on the record and apologized for that mix up, and claimed he was unaware. Punk did not take too kindly to the apology and did not accept it. Despite all his criticisms for the WWE, Punk claims he had a strong relationship with Vince personally and claims Vince was just very stubborn when it came to business. Only time will tell if their personal connection will bring them back together one day.
5) John Cena
No doubt being the franchise player for all these years, John Cena and McMahon certainly have a father and son-like relationship. According to Punk, Cena always got his way when dealing with McMahon. He claims their relationship was in fact like a father and son type of bond. Cena has become not only the face of the WWE but also a locker room leader. Cena is also not afraid to speak his mind, even though him and Vince have clashed several times over storyline ideas. According to sources, Cena often gets his way because of their relationship with one another. Just recently, it was said that Cena wasn’t too happy with his girlfriend Nikki immediately being stripped of her title by Charlotte because of the “Divas revolution”. The apparent plan to have Charlotte win was apparently immediately scrapped and Nikki was allowed to carry the title a little longer because of Cena’s requests. There is no doubt that Cena has a lot of power because of his status in the company and his relationship with Vince today.
4) The Rock
No doubt Vince’s golden boy, no wrestler has ever represented the WWE better on a global stage than The Rock has. The feeling is mutual with “the great one.” In a recent interview The Rock calls McMahon a mentor and father figure. Rock also claims that as time goes on, he is more and more appreciative of everything that Vince has done for him and most of all he is appreciative of the relationship they share till this very day. Like Cena, McMahon gave The Rock a lot of power to do what he wanted, only a select few get this opportunity. McMahon was set on having The Rock be a mega star and succeed greatly in doing so. Today, the two are still closer than ever and keep a great relationship with one another, despite their busy schedules.
3) Shawn Michaels
This relationship got to the point that some wrestlers claimed that the two were lovers. Many could not understand how Shawn had so much power in the 90s, despite being very disrespectful to his peers and to McMahon himself. Like a few others, McMahon gave Shawn the power to do whatever he wanted. According to former wrestlers, whatever Shawn wanted, Shawn got. An obvious example of this was how Shawn was always working in the ring with close friends, as opposed to other talent. In addition, Michaels would often get in Vince’s ear and tell him what to do with other talent, which infuriated many. Wrestlers called this era of wrestling, one of the darkest era’s in history which was essentially ran by Michaels and his “Kliq”. Shawn admits he got away with a lot and often drove Vince crazy. He is forever grateful for everything Vince put up with. McMahon recognizes Michaels as one of the greatest in ring superstars of all time and always loved his passion for the business. Michaels still remains under a “legends” contract today.
2) Triple H
This one’s pretty obvious; their connection truly is like father and son. McMahon continues to mold his son in law as the next generation to take over the company one day. This is something you don’t just give away to anyone. For years McMahon pleaded to Hunter to trade in his wrestling gear for a full time position in the front office, and eventually The Game agreed and made the swap. McMahon’s plan to mold Triple H as the future of the company internally is working better than expected, as Hunter has grown leaps and bounds over the last few years using NXT as his very own platform to show off what he has to bring to the table. McMahon will certainly be at ease knowing that the business he grew is in great hands with someone he considers an actual son, rather than a son in law.
1) The Undertaker
When Vince was asked who his favorite superstar of all time was he did not even hesitate to say “The Deadman” The Undertaker. His respect for Taker stems from years and years of hard work. McMahon acknowledges Taker’s loyalty, longevity and extraordinary commitment to his character as reasons for why he truly is the best. McMahon went on to say that the Undertaker is an extraordinary person and the best professional of all time. McMahon claims no one worked their craft better than The Undertaker. Vince feels forever indebted to “The Deadman” for all his contributions on and off screen over the last 20 plus years. The two will forever remain the best of friends.