His role on-screen is perhaps the most villainous in the entire history of the WWE. Vince set the bar to new heights on what it really means to get some serious heat from a live audience. From the Corporation to his own religion of “McMahonism”, it seems like Vince has truly done it all on-screen.
Outside of the ring however, Vince and his $1.2 billion net worth remain rather quiet. Since taking over, Vince has kept a very strict policy pertaining to his involvement backstage with the company. What exactly does he do? Is he still on RAW every week? Does he help write storylines? Well, this article will discuss and answer these questions, and so many more.
Let’s make one thing clear before we start: at the age of 70 (and set to turn 71 on August 24th), the billion dollar boss is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon. According to his peers, Vince is still working the same hours, like a mad man. In addition, according to his son-in-law Triple H, McMahon still trains like a beast late at night. This guy’s some kind of special. Here are 13 things you never knew Vince McMahon does backstage during a live show. Enjoy!
13) Sits At The Gorilla Position During RAW and PPVs
For years and years now, Vince seems to be a mainstay at the gorilla position before every RAW and PPV show. McMahon foresees all final decisions (as you will see later in this article), from what the commentators say to how long a match is. At the gorilla position, Vince plays the role of producer and director. Since leaving the commentary booth in the mid 90s, McMahon has taken control of every episode behind the scenes via gorilla. Despite his age, the 70 year old continues to go strong showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Cheers to another decade!
12) Manages Triple H and Stephanie at the Gorilla Position
One of the biggest differences backstage during a WWE telecast is the involvement of Triple H. For years now, Vince has been looking for someone that he can mold into the next McMahon for decades to come. McMahon has admitted himself, that he pleaded with Triple H to trade in his wrestling attire for a corporate role with the company. After he finally made the transition, Hunter has enjoyed some tremendous success, most notably down in NXT creating a unique wrestling brand which has such a great, old school feel to it. In addition to NXT, Hunter has joined Vince at the gorilla position, aiding McMahon in producing and directing the show. Hunter is also very involved with the talent. According to several rumblings backstage, McMahon is grooming Hunter and Stephanie for his position when he finally decides to ride off into the sunset. It should be noted, however, that this won’t be happening anytime soon.
11) Talks To Talent Following a Match
When you’re the boss, you can do whatever you want. For Vince, this is definitely the case. His position is not only limited to the gorilla position during a show, as he’s been also rumored to very blunt with talent following a match. Just ask The Miz, who recalls a story of Vince approaching him immediately after one his matches telling him to stop looking so “goofy” all the time. He has also ripped into the talent for several other reasons, which include match or promo timing, in-ring botches, not selling a gimmick enough and a variety of other things. Vince is a perfectionist, so if you’re new to the company, expect a lot of feedback following a match.
You can just imagine how vocal Vince is backstage nowadays with the “New Era” in full swing.
10) Organizes General Meetings
In addition to one on one meetings, McMahon also sets up general meetings with all the talent. Superstars are asked to attend a show several hours before, and during this time they usually have several meetings with the executives. Although McMahon does run the meeting and what is said, he does not present the info; this is usually done by an executive like Kevin Dunn, for example. The meetings are used more for motivation than anything else, but they also discuss anything specific that the company wants to stress on that given night.
These general meetings tend to take place much more frequently on the road to WrestleMania, where the company hopes the talent can further elevate their performances on route to the biggest show of them all for the company.
9) Camera Work
As an executive producer that foresees all decisions, Vince also has a prominent role in deciding which camera to use during a match or promo. Now generally, the crew in the truck has the proper knowledge and flexibility to know what Vince likes and what he does not, however, McMahon is connected to the crew during the entire show and lets them know if there is an angle he does not like during a match or promo. McMahon demands a high quality production, and this is rather obvious when you really see how much the company’s product has grown professionally during a live telecast. Vince continues to be very demanding till this day and expects the absolute best from all those involved with the filming of all live television shows like RAW and PPV events.
8) In the Commentator’s Head Sets
Despite what many wrestling fans believe, Vince actually never really left the commentator’s booth. He is in the ear of the commentators during every show, giving them specific recommendations on what to discuss (as if their 20 page script wasn’t enough). Vince has been known to be quite harsh when dealing with the commentators. According to rumors, McMahon was very hard on Michael Cole when he finally took the reins full-time from Jim Ross. Rumors indicate that McMahon would constantly yell in Cole’s headset during several live televised events, until Michael finally got the hang of things. You’d be surprised to find out just how many things actually go into a telecast from the commentary booth; from words you can’t say to constantly promoting social media trends, you must always be on your game. Not to mention having your boss in your ear throughout the entire show. That must be fun…
7) Segment Timing
The structure in terms of timing is also controlled by the boss himself Vince McMahon, before every show. Vince writes down exactly how long each segment should be, and he then passes along the message to Billy Kidman who times every segment during live TV, via the gorilla position. As you can probably imagine, things get pretty crazy when segments start running too long. According to several reports, Vince has lost his cool on several occasions because of promos or matches running way too long. This is especially stressful during live television, as you can probably imagine.
6) Meets With Creative Team
One of the biggest changes to the WWE product in the modern day is the role of the writers. This has caused an outrage from many wrestling fans, claiming half of the writing team doesn’t even watch the product… During the Attitude Era, the scripts were literally worked out on the day of an event, if you can believe. Shows were worked on a day to day, as opposed to today’s system which writes storylines months in advance. The 90’s shows were usually written poolside on a piece of paper by McMahon, Pat Patterson and Gerald Brisco. Today, the company hires a team of writers responsible for not only general storylines, but for each Superstar as well. This change hasn’t been received well with several wrestling enthusiasts, including Vince McMahon, who has blown up on his creative staff several times. After taking a step back, it has been said that Vince is once again taking a prominent role in the storylines we see every week. Not surprising….
5) Meets With Wrestlers
Still today, McMahon does hold one on one meetings with the talent, although it should be noted that this is more of a rarity today. The WWE has specific executives that deal with talent, like Mark Carrano who is the head of talent relations. Nowadays, with such a busy schedule, McMahon holds meetings with Superstars only pertaining to very important matters, such as a contract discussion or character boost. Some Superstars today admit that they rarely talk to Vince who is usually very busy and hard to get a hold of, as you can imagine.
4) His Own Backstage Area
Since the 90’s, McMahon has always had his very own backstage area, no matter which venue the company is at. As we know, not every arena is luxurious. In Daniel Bryan’s emotional farewell documentary, Bryan enters Vince’s office which appears to be like a long closet, certainly not the most glamorous. However, Vince is a busy man and requires a private office during every live event show. So luxury or not, the boss doesn’t care as long as he has his privacy, a chair and a desk.
3) Social Media Buzz
One element McMahon has thrived with throughout the years is changing with the times. Vince demands a highly advanced company which is modern in relations to today’s society. With this being said, Vince puts a huge amount of work in social media buzz, more so today than ever before. McMahon stresses the importance of constantly promoting all their media outlets, like their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram Pages. Not to mention, wwe.com and of course the WWE Network, which seems to get mentioned about once every half hour during a WWE televised event.
2) Uses On-Screen Gimmick When Ratings Are Low
Regardless of what WWE fans may think, Vince actually doesn’t like to use his gimmick on-screen. McMahon has said time and time again that he wants to only operate the company behind the scenes. So why is he always coming back, you ask? It’s simple: ratings. Despite his on-air displeasures, McMahon is a huge hit on television. According to ratings, when Vince shows up people watch. On several instances Vince has tried to take a backseat only to return because of a ratings decline.
Just recently during the road to WrestleMania, McMahon made full time appearances giving a helping hand to the Roman Reigns – Triple H storyline. In addition to his popularity, Vince is also beloved by the USA Network officials who encourage Vince to show up as much as possible. The Network loves anything dealing with the McMahon family. Not really surprising to see both Shane and Stephanie involved in such prominent storylines. It’ll be interesting to see, however, how long it takes before Vince once again makes a full time return.
1) Vince STILL Rules
At the end of the day, yes; Vince does in fact still rule all. Every decision must be confirmed by McMahon, so don’t be fooled by all the executive positions within the company. At the age of 70 and turning 71 in August, Vince is showing no signs of slowing down any time soon. Always remember: even though he’s not on screen, his position backstage still remains the same, as prominent as ever. Even though he still has a long way to go, his work ethic remains unmatched in the WWE ranks.