“No chance in hell.” They are the words made famous by the entrance music for the chairman of the WWE, Vincent Kennedy McMahon. At 70 years of age, McMahon is known as much for what he does on screen as off; his accomplishments are known the world over. He owns the largest wrestling promotion on the planet; he has bought out his competition and at one point had such a stranglehold on the sport that he had a monopoly after WCW and ECW were no longer in operation. He has been called a visionary, stubborn, controlling and, by some, the devil. He is a polarizing figure that captures your attention when he is on the screen.
However, for all of McMahon’s achievements he has had his share of mistakes. While some are public knowledge, he’s also experienced a number of challenges in life that go beyond wrestling. And though he has a very good average when it comes to producing successful events, the things he didn’t do well also stand out. Did you know that Vince McMahon wasn’t always known as Vince McMahon? Some things about Vince McMahon aren’t highlighted by the company regularly because they would rather you did not remember them. Why do you think that may be? Whatever the reason, Vince McMahon has done many things that the WWE has swept under the rug. Here are the 12 things the WWE wants you to forget about Vince McMahon.
12. XFL Could Have Been the CFL
One of the most forgettable ventures in McMahon’s career without question had to be the XFL. The league consisted of eight teams which were all owned by the league, divided into two different divisions. The league’s intention was to compete with other major sports, and to operate during the NFL’s off-season. But even though they weren’t in direct competition with the National Football League, the XFL still failed to generate any success. The league was a joint operation between NBC Universal and the WWE.
Strangely enough, instead of creating his own football league, McMahon could have just got involved in the Canadian Football League. As has been previously reported, McMahon was approached by the CFL to purchase the Toronto Argonauts franchise. When that didn’t materialize, McMahon partnered with NBC Universal and created a league that employed gimmicky methods of scoring and a “human coin toss.” The names of the teams were clearly inspired by wrestling nicknames. The league didn’t catch on and closed its door soon after opening, becoming a punchline. McMahon himself has gone on record as calling the venture a “colossal failure.” The ratings for the games dropped precipitously after its first week on the air, and never recovered.
11. He Went From Billionaire Back To Millionaire Within Months
One of the things Vince McMahon has been known for is the incredible wealth he’s earned over the time he has owned the WWE. To know how much money McMahon has, just look at the cost of some of his properties. These include a $12 million penthouse, $40 million mansion, $20 million vacation home, and a 47-foot yacht. At one time Forbes magazine stated that McMahon’s total worth was estimated at $1.1 billion. While he has often claimed to be a billionaire, Forbes’ acknowledgement secured that claim. But Vince didn’t maintain that status. Consider the estimated loss he suffered in 2014. In the year that saw the WWE debut its WWE Network, McMahon initially returned to the billionaires list, with an estimated worth of $1.2 billion. However, later on that year McMahon’s worth dropped to $750 million. While that is more money that most will ever see in their lifetime, McMahon still lost a reported $350 million due to devaluing of WWE stock as a result of poor business results, mainly the WWE Network. To McMahon’s credit he did ride the wave and has once again returned to becoming a billionaire this past year.
10. He Was Reintroduced To His Birth Father When He Was Twelve
As mentioned previously, Vince McMahon was initially Vince Lupton as he had taken his stepfather’s name when he was a boy. The reason for this was that his father, Vince McMahon Sr., had left Vince Jr. with his mother. When Vince Sr. left the family, while Vince Jr. was a baby, he took with him his eldest son, Rod. It wasn’t until Vince was twelve years old that he was reintroduced to his father, having spent his life to that point living with his mother and his stepfather. It is clear that Vince didn’t have much of a relationship with his father when he was younger, but that changed. After being reintroduced to Vince Sr., he showed interest in following in his father’s footsteps by accompanying him on trips, and even wanted to be a wrestler at one point. It was Vince Sr. who told his son that promoters do not appear on the show with the talent and should keep their distance. If only Vince Sr. had known what would eventually come about for the company that his son took over from him.
9. He Was Part Of A Feud That Was Voted “Worst Feud Of The Year”
The Mr. McMahon character is usually over the top and highly successful. Just look at the near two year run against Stone Cold Steve Austin between 1997 and 1999, and how that feud helped establish Vince as an onscreen character. However, not every run for the character has been successful. For example, he did not come off well in a feud with those that he has had close ties to through the years. The feud that Vince took part in during 2006, which also involved his son Shane, against Degeneration X was not very successful. DX at that time consisted of Triple H and Shawn Michaels. Michaels had success under McMahon in the mid-1990s until he stepped away from the ring. Triple H is Vince’s son in law, so one would think that their personal relationship would have led to making quality television. But this wasn’t the case according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, which voted their feud as the worst one of the year for 2006. McMahon doesn’t always strike gold and this particular exchange was quite negative in the eyes of voters.
8. He First Met His Future Wife, While Known As Vince “Lupton”
One of the notable facts about Vince McMahon was that he first met his future wife Linda when she was 13 and he was 16. When he met her he had taken his stepfather’s name, Lupton, and he was introduced to Linda by his mother while attending church. It’s incredible to think that the man that has become known as “Mr. McMahon” wasn’t initially known to his future wife by that name. The couple was married in 1966, and have remained married for almost fifty years. Vince’s mother Vicki has since changed her last name to Askew. It was rare at the time for a child to take on their stepfather’s name, but even more surprising was that someone as notable as McMahon didn’t use his biological father’s last name until later on in life.
7. The Stepfather Whose Last Name He Took Abused His Mother
As mentioned earlier, Vince was raised by his mother and her husbands. He mentioned in an interview with Playboy magazine that one of his stepfathers was guilty of domestic violence, stating that Leo Lupton would often beat Vince’s mother, and even attacked him when he attempted to protect and defend her. Like any child that witnesses domestic violence, the visions will always remain and the memories of how he felt at the time won’t be forgotten. In the case of McMahon, not only did he not forget how he felt, he aspired to enact retribution. He is quoted as saying “It is unfortunate that he died before I could kill him. I would have enjoyed that.” This is no different from a parent threatening harm to anyone that would harm their children. Clearly, McMahon’s memories remain as fresh as they were when he was a child.
6. World Bodybuilding Federation
The World Bodybuilding Federation (WBF) was a bodybuilding organization that was founded in 1990 by McMahon, but was only in operation until 1992. Vince’s idea for the WBF was to be competition for the IFBB (International Federation of Body Builders.) At times he denied creating this organization, but he very obviously played a crucial part in it. The show had a pay per view that was co-hosted by McMahon and fellow wrestling commentator Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, and attempted to create characters much like those in the WWF. But after failed agreements with notable competitors such as Lou Ferrigno, and a motorcycle accident that prevented Lex Luger from participating, it seemed like the WBF hit roadblock after roadblock. The pay per view did so poorly that McMahon reached out to his competitor and stated that the WBF would be terminating its operations. This was another venture that showed McMahon’s promoting is best suited to professional wrestling.
5. He Once Owned A Hockey Team And Arena
As the WWF was beginning to achieve mainstream notoriety and popularity, Linda and Vince McMahon ventured outside wrestling to achieve success. It has been noted that during the latter part of the 1970s, the McMahons helped promote hockey in a Massachusetts town known as South Yarmouth. The local team was known as the Cape Cod Buccaneers, and they played their games at the Cape Cod Coliseum. While the Buccaneers may not have been a popular team, they were part of a major developmental league. The Atlantic Coast Hockey League was just a step down from the American and International Hockey Leagues, and preceded the East Coast Hockey League. A number of business owners diversify their interests and allocate their funds to a number of different projects, and the McMahons were no different as they invested in this minor league hockey team and arena. Their investment in both provided them with the networking needed to ultimately make the WWF a success.
4. The Villainous Mr. McMahon Wasn’t First Portrayed In The WWE
Prior to the villainous Mr. McMahon character being created to feud with Stone Cold, McMahon took part in a feud with current WWE commentator and Hall of Famer Jerry “The King” Lawler. This was cross-promotional feud between the WWF and the United States Wrestling Association. In this angle, Vince McMahon sent a number of his talent to Lawler’s Memphis based promotion to dethrone Lawler from his status as the King of Wrestling. It was the first time Vince got physically involved in any type of match. He would often use unscrupulous methods to get the better of The King. The feud was never mentioned on WWF television, and both Lawler and McMahon would handle commentary even though this angle was taking place in the USWA. The angle reached a fever pitch when WWF Superstar Tatanka beat Lawler to capture the USWA’s championship. Vince went on to rub it in Lawler’s face by wearing the title belt afterwards. It’s incredible to think that McMahon’s heelish antics were never brought to the forefront until after the controversial incident involving Bret “Hitman” Hart, and the onscreen feud with Stone Cold Steve Austin.
3. Sexual Harassment Allegations
On more than one occasion, Vince has had to come under fire regarding harassment allegations. Rita Chatterton, who was known as Rita Maria, was the first ever female referee in the WWF, working for the company in the 1980s. However, during her time there, she alleged that she was the victim of sexual harassment by McMahon. She appeared on a talk show in 1992 stating that McMahon tried to force her to perform oral sex on him in his limousine, and after she rejected his advances he proceeded to rape her. This wasn’t the only time McMahon has been accused of harassment. In fact, a second allegation was made towards McMahon, this time a little more recent. In 2006, Vince McMahon was accused by an employee at a tanning salon of sexual harassment. The incident was reported to police the day of the Royal Rumble, but actually had taken place the day before the Rumble. A couple of months later a Florida television station reported that no charges would be filed against McMahon as a result of the police investigation. But even though charges weren’t filed that doesn’t mean that the allegations are any less legitimate.
2. Steroid Controversy And Trial
One of the biggest controversies surrounding McMahon took place in 1993. He was indicted by a federal court after a steroid controversy which involved a number wrestlers both past and present. The controversy temporarily forced Vince to give up control of the company to his wife, Linda. The court case went to trial the following year, where McMahon was accused by former employees of distributing steroids to his wrestlers. One of the notable witnesses for the prosecution was Kevin Wacholz, who had competed for the promotion under the moniker “Nailz,” and who had been fired after a physical altercation with McMahon. Wacholz testified that McMahon had ordered him to use steroids, but his credibility was called into question during his testimony as he made it clear he “hated” McMahon. His motives were questioned, as the testimony could be construed as retribution towards McMahon for his dismissal. The prosecution’s star witness, Hulk Hogan, testified that, while he used steroids in the past, McMahon never told him to take them, nor tried to sell him steroids. McMahon himself admitted that he had taken steroids during the 1980s. In the end, the jury would acquit McMahon of the charges, and he resumed his role in the day-to-day operations of the company.
1. Proposed Incest Angle With Stephanie
McMahon has been known for coming up with some uneasy angles and storylines, but one was proposed that went too far. During his daughter’s time off camera having children, Vince had an idea to capitalize on her condition and create controversy. But some proposed storylines are even too much for his family. The proposed storyline involved Stephanie, who at that point was pregnant with her husband Triple H (Paul Leveque’s) first child. Vince called her into his office one day and told her he planned to write her condition into the storylines. Pregnancy angles in wrestling, and in particular the WWE, aren’t new, but in this instance it was not only wrong, but criminal. Vince proposed an angle revealing incest within the McMahon family, and that he would claim on screen that he was the father of Stephanie’s child! It goes without saying that Stephanie didn’t support the storyline. She turned the storyline down and stated “I don’t know who would find entertainment in a storyline like that.”