Vince McMahon has been the supreme leader of WWE since he purchased the company from his father in 1982. As a result, he’s also more or less the person in control of the entire professional wrestling industry, and he achieved that status very shortly after said takeover. No one person has been more integral to the wrestling business than Vince McMahon, and yet at the same time, he’s done plenty of things to denigrate his own company legacy, and sometimes fans even question whether or not Vince actually likes wrestling in the first place. Maybe that’s going a bit far considering the man is at least a big enough fan of certain superstars to fund their entire lives, but it’s still true that Vince has disrespected wrestling history on seemingly endless occasions.
This isn’t a simple matter of technical wrestling versus sports entertainment, since Vince has made some extremely questionable moves in the sports entertainment department, as well. The reality is, Vince and in fact most of his family have shown an obvious pattern of disrespect towards WWE history in such a manner it often seems like they’re ashamed of themselves more often than they are proud. WWE has of course also done an incredible amount to honor and celebrate their past too, so it’s not like history doesn’t matter to the company, but Vince himself seems to forget about his own legacy more than anyone else with some of the more confusing business decisions he’s made over the years. Keep reading to discover 15 times Vince McMahon disrespected his own company and the WWE Universe, typically by way of insulting the work of his employees or downplaying the success of people he didn’t like anymore.
15. Fake Diesel and Fake Razor Ramon
Diesel and Razor Ramon, or Kevin Nash and Scott Hall as they are better known today, leaving WWE in 1996 was a major loss for the company that left Vince McMahon and others scrambling with how to replace two of their top stars. One option was simply to offer Nash and Hall a larger amount of money than WCW was doing, but McMahon wasn’t doing that great financially at that point and couldn’t spare the expenses required to court them back into his company. Instead, he created two of the worst characters in wrestling and WWE history, Fake Diesel and Fake Razor Ramon, better known as Kane and Rick Bogner today.
While there are plenty of people involved in making this idea as horrible as it is, Vince is the one who can be blamed for coming up with the idea and allowing it to unfold on television. In doing so, he was disrespecting both Nash and Hall by acting as though they were disposable, disrespecting the fans by acting as though they could possibly fall for the ruse, disrespecting Kane and Bogner by not acknowledging them as individuals, and disrespecting his announcers by forcing them to treat the farce like a serious idea. Jim Ross got it worst of all by being the man who introduced the pair and kept going with the ruse after the fans caught on and booed it out of the building like Vince knew they would, apparently not caring it was the wrong kind of booing, and fans actually were pissed off that their intelligence was being insulted like this.
14. Constantly Mocking Jim Ross
Jim Ross was the centerpiece of Fake Razor and Fake Diesel making their debut, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg for how regularly Vince McMahon disrespected the work of one of his most valued and loyal employees. The respect Jim Ross has amongst fans is truly unparalleled, as in an era where virtually every announcer is nitpicked and micromanaged to the point no one is allowed to even be good, fans look to the legendary matches called by JR and get to witness one of the greatest announcers in all of sports and see just how much better JR was than anyone else in the game. Ross is also a wrestling historian himself who has contributed to the business and WWE in countless ways, but Vince McMahon’s favorite way to reward JR was always to mock and insult him on television.
The worst incident was the Raw when Vince created a parody video acting as JR’s proctologist and McMahon literally pulled Ross’s head out of his ass. Fans who have the time can easily look up plenty of other times McMahon treated Jim Ross downright inhumanely, and the passage of time doesn’t make it any easier to watch. Vince disrespects the entirety of his company when he disrespects JR, since even McMahon had to admit JR was the best in the world at his job by putting him on television every week, and thus continuing to insult and mock him only hurt the image of the entire show.
13. Cyndi Lauper’s Return To Raw
“Rowdy” Roddy Piper is a WWE Hall of Famer and one of the all time greatest performers ever to work for Vince McMahon, and it was on Piper’s Pit where Cyndi Lauper made her first WWE appearances and launched the rock and wrestling connection in full effect. Lauper’s status in wrestling history has been heavily downplayed over the years, but chalk that one up to her being too big a star to focus on something she spent a few months with during the height of her fame. It would be fair if Vince McMahon just didn’t mention her, and focused on Piper’s other accomplishments in the sport, but instead he decided to shine a spotlight on the two in the most bizarre way possible decades after their initial encounter.
On June 16, 2012, Lauper returned to WWE on Monday Night Raw, reuniting with Wendi Richter, another WWE Hall of Famer integral to her time with the company. The women spoke with current WWE Diva’s Champion Layla El about their time in the company and the legacy of “Captain” Lou Albano, and while it’s fair to say the segment wasn’t exactly, the commentary team’s reaction was flagrantly disrespectful. Knowing Vince McMahon feeds them exactly what to say, it’s clear Vince was the reason Michael Cole was openly calling Lauper and Richter terrible and begging for them to end what he was calling the worst segment in Raw history. Heath Slater interrupted the segment to echo Cole’s comments, and again, Slater isn’t to be blamed, but rather Vince for telling him to say it.
12. Letting Hulk Hogan Call The Shots
In fairness, this next entry is mostly about Hulk Hogan disrespecting WWE, but Vince McMahon was complicit as always through his status as the man in charge allowing the Hulkster to do whatever he wanted. WrestleMania IX has been discussed extensively as being almost definitely the worst WrestleMania ever, and a big part of the problem was Hulk Hogan deciding to come back to WWE after a brief hiatus. That wouldn’t have been too bad if he understood it might take a few days before he was the starring attraction again, but Hulk wanted none of that, and demanded he win the WWE World Heavyweight title that night. Vince immediately succumbed to Hogan’s wishes.
Hulk wouldn’t defend the title again for another three months, at which point he’d lose it to Yokozuna at King of the Ring. In the meantime, Hogan was busy in Japan, where he had booked a large number of shows with New Japan Pro Wrestling. Vince was fine with this, too. Vince didn’t even have a problem when Hogan went on Japanese television and called the WWE World Championship worthless, and said wrestling in America was garbage compared to Japan. Hogan may have been the one saying terrible things about WWE, but Vince was the one who handed him the World Championship with no questions asked and let him do so, silently approving of the burial of his company Hogan was about to unleash.
11. Re-Hiring Vince Russo
Vince Russo is probably the most controversial name in wrestling never to step in front of a WWE camera. Well, that’s not entirely true—he made extremely rare appearances on D-shows like Livewire in the mid ‘90s, but he never appeared during a show that actually had a sizable fan base. That is, until he went to WCW, when he destroyed the brief legacy he had built for himself in rapid and epic fashion. Vince Russo was the head writer of WWE during the Attitude Era, and as a result takes credit for some of the most successful years in company history. Russo no doubt had a hand in writing some of the storylines and characters that were most popular during that era, but it was hardly a one-man show. For that matter, if it were a one-man show, that man was McMahon, who ultimately had the final say on whatever idea Russo came up with.
Russo left WWE for WCW in 1999 citing creative burnout, and without McMahon to oversee his wildest ideas, he ran the company out of business in a year and a half. Again, that’s not entirely true, and this case it’s because it’s more complicated than that, but the important part is, Russo did a really bad job in WCW and he’s a big part of why the company imploded the way it did. The wrestlers in particular knew this, and never wanted to see Russo again as a result. Nonetheless, McMahon re-hired Russo in 2002, disrespecting the many wrestlers and fans who knew that was a bad idea from the start. In this case, McMahon’s folly immediately revealed itself, and Russo left in only a few months.
10. Firing CM Punk On His Wedding Day
The major way in which Vince McMahon continually disrespects his company has been through horrible treatment of some of his most important and popular superstars. McMahon has long held the philosophy that while individual wrestlers can obviously bring certain qualities to the table, he’s ultimately the Dr. Frankenstein controlling these monsters, and is therefore responsible for their every success as a result. Because Vince created all of his superstars in his mind, he can throw them away and forget about them at a moment’s notice, erasing their legacy and standing with the fans and focusing on the new McMahon-appointed stars of tomorrow.
One of the most recent superstars to feel the wrath of this mentality was CM Punk. Punk left WWE in 2014 after a myriad of complaints related to McMahon, Triple H, and the WWE Wellness Policy that allegedly exists to monitor the wellbeing of its employees. Punk initially intended to spend some time away from the company and renegotiate his contract later, but instead, McMahon officially fired Punk on his wedding day. McMahon’s love story with his own wife is long and storied, so he must have understood how incredibly disrespectful that was to his past employee and the countless fans he had created for the company. Punk’s many fans were outraged by McMahon’s treatment of their top star, and still occasionally chant his name as a result.
9. The Montreal Screwjob
It’s been almost two decades since Vince screwed Bret, or Bret screwed Bret, or however you want to look at it, and people still can’t seem to stop talking about the Montreal Screwjob. Every fan of the WWE Universe needs to know the basics of the story by now, so we’ll be quick. Bret Hart was the WWE World Champion going into Survivor Series 1997, set to defend the title against Shawn Michaels. Vince wanted Bret to lose the title, and Bret refused, so Vince, Shawn, and referee Earl Hebner conspired to trick Bret in a manner they could manipulate into making it look like Bret submitted when he actually didn’t. The plan was basically successful, Bret left for WCW, and Vince and Shawn both turned into bigger stars by way of how despicable fans thought the overall act was.
The issue with the Montreal Screwjob isn’t that it did or didn’t disrespect Bret Hart or his contributions to the wrestling industry, but rather that it’s the biggest and loudest example of Vince McMahon not respecting his superstars or his company at large. Bret had a bunch of reasons he didn’t want to lose to Shawn Michaels, and some were better than others, but the biggest reason was that Bret really loved wrestling and wanted to leave the title and the company with respect. Vince clearly didn’t give any consideration to respect, and simply did what he wanted instead, like he always does.
8. The Self-Destruction of The Ultimate Warrior
The Ultimate Warrior had a reputation for, to put it lightly, being a bit unstable, as his entrance music would have long attested. Proving this reputation true, he had a long history of lawsuits and controversy surrounding his exists and returns to WWE. There were times when Warrior was treated as an inhuman superstar capable of destroying mountains and ending Hulkamania, but there were also times when he was presented as literally insane and detrimental to the sport of professional wrestling. The second era is best represented through the WWE produced DVD The Self-Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior, released in 2005.
The DVD was a clear and blatant attack on Warrior’s character, with many superstars openly mocking Warrior and his contributions to the industry. Vince McMahon was, as always, the executive producer of the affair, and therefore the person who gave the final go-ahead to the highly insulting video release. Vince not only disrespected Warrior, but the legions of fans who first started watching WWE due to the very antics the DVD was mocking.
7. The Character Assassination of Steve Austin
The relationship between Vince McMahon and Stone Cold Steve Austin was destined to be a confusing and unique one from the day the two met, even years before Austin first Stunned McMahon at Madison Square Garden. The two had a great deal in common, as self-perceived bad asses who refused to stand down against an authoritative and totalitarian force that just wouldn’t get off their backs. Of course, Vince’s perception was mostly in his mind, and Austin was raging against Vince himself, but in the weird world of wrestling, somehow this translated into the most successful and profitable era in sports entertainment history. And yet, things haven’t always been good between Austin and his arch rival/boss/best friend.
In late 2002, Austin left WWE over complaints about hot shotting a loss to Brock Lesnar. Although Austin was only years removed from playing an integral role in Vince McMahon and WWE resuming their dominant stance in the wrestling world, McMahon immediately began a smear campaign and character assassination against Austin. The short-lived documentary program Confidential aired a full episode about how Austin failed WWE. Fans were upset Austin left, but even more disturbed by the petty and disrespectful response of McMahon, which once again tried to treat his biggest superstars like they weren’t important. Fans loudly responded to McMahon that the superstars did matter, with a resounding WHAT?!
6. Rewriting History To Appease His Son-in-Law
Vince McMahon has a clear pattern of disrespecting his former employees, and by way of that many of his company’s fans, and the legacies those employees created for his very company. He’s also shown a pattern of bucking to the whim of the loudest and most arrogant superstars who somehow manage to get control over his ear, and no superstar has done that more than Triple H. There are plenty of good things to be said about Triple H and the changes he’s begun enacting for WWE, but one thing about him always needs to be stated, and that’s the fact his ego is overpowering and shockingly fragile. Vince constantly rewrites history to better suit his son-in-law’s perception of reality, and it’s reaching a point that fans are noticing and starting to get annoyed.
If you lived through the Attitude Era, you probably remember D-X as a solid midcard distraction. Younger fans, however, are being taught that Triple H and his band of misfits were the reason WWE won the Monday Night Wars, which couldn’t be further from the truth. This is disrespectful to the work of Steve Austin, The Rock, The Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, or the countless other superstars who actually are the reason WWE did so well during that era. It’s also pretty disrespectful to the fans who still stuck around, because they remember the truth, and don’t really like being lied to about moments they lived through.
5. Ignoring Chyna Through Her Worst Years
While it’s annoying Vince has been changing history to make Triple H seem more important, it doesn’t really compare to those previous instances where Vince attacked his own superstars and disrespected their fans in the process. At least in the cases of Austin, Warrior, and Bret Hart, Vince eventually made up with those wrestlers, and the fans likewise were able to gradually forgive Vince for the disrespect on display throughout the unfortunate periods in their lives. Chyna never got that moment of forgiveness, because although the majority of the wrestling world could clearly see she was in desperate need of help for years, WWE fired her as soon as it was clear she couldn’t cope with the fact Triple H cheated on her with Stephanie.
While Chyna’s emotional state was always in flux, and drug addicts can’t be helped unless they want it, fans to this day are still upset over the way Vince and his company treated her and her legacy. While women’s wrestling is gaining an increased level of importance thanks to stellar work in the modern era, Chyna is still the only woman to win the WWE Intercontinental Championship, and her time with the company was hugely important to female fans everywhere. Vince’s decision to erase Chyna disrespected everything she had worked to achieve, but it wasn’t even the worst thing he’s done to women over the years…
4. Firing The Women’s Champion
Madusa appearing on WCW Monday Nitro to throw the WWE Women’s Championship into a garbage can was one of the most talked about moments of 1995, and historically it remains one of the biggest and most direct blows WWE received during the Monday Night Wars. At the time, it seemed like Madusa was the one disrespecting the title and WWE through her actions, but time has since given us the whole story, and it’s a little more complicated than that.
Madusa was the one who made the decision to throw the belt away, though it was at the request of Eric Bischoff. Nonetheless, the reason Madusa chose to do so was a bitter feeling over the fact Vince had just fired her a few days earlier. It’s not that McMahon didn’t like Madusa, or thought she was doing a bad job—he simply felt women’s wrestling wasn’t something he needed on his show anymore, and cut Madusa and all other female wrestlers as a result. Madusa took this as a personal insult and as an insult to women everywhere, which was a completely reasonable reaction. By throwing out the WWE Women’s title, she was basically just doing what Vince did when he fired her.
3. Rewriting The History of the Women’s Title
Women are finally getting their due in WWE, but it was a long, long way for them to get to this point. Not only did Madusa once throw the WWE Women’s Championship into the trash, but the belt has gone through several iterations that have repeatedly been ignored and written over, showing just how much Vince McMahon cares about women’s wrestling. The original WWE Women’s title was created in the 1950’s and held for decades on and off by The Fabulous Moolah. In the late 80’s, Moolah finally relinquished her stranglehold on the title and traded it with a few other women, until Madusa won the title as Alundra Blayze and threw it in the trash as we mentioned above. The WWE brought the title back a few years later, but phased it out in favor of the WWE Diva’s Championship in 2010.
When the WWE Women’s title was replaced, Vince McMahon and his company were erasing the longest lasting belt in company history. It may not have always been the focus, but the WWE Women’s title represented the efforts of an entire gender’s worth of superstars McMahon felt could easily be thrown away and forgotten in favor of his latest brand of divas. Years later, WWE would create a new Women’s Championship, which was a step back in the right direction, but fans were nonetheless still annoyed when it appeared that the company was using the new belt to double down on their decision the original one apparently never existed.
2. Erasing The First WWE Tag Team Titles
While ignoring the efforts of several decades of talented female wrestlers is pretty bad, it has to be admitted that women’s wrestling wasn’t a very big part of WWE until very recently. While that in and of itself could be a sign Vince McMahon doesn’t respect women, it’s fair enough to say that fans never responded or connected to the division loudly enough to force him to do otherwise until just now. Fans have, however, connected strongly for a huge number of tag team superstars that Vince has erased out of history the same way he did to the many female superstars of yesteryear, and perhaps just to prove how easy it is, McMahon disrespected the tag teams out of existence the same way he did it to those women.
The original WWE World Tag Team titles were created in 1971, and a grand total of 164 wrestlers held on to half of those belts until they were unified into the current WWE Tag Team titles that exist today. It would be one thing to treat the title histories as shared, but WWE has instead opted to once again blink the originals out of existence, and pretend five decades of tag teams had nothing to do with the continued success of the company. The burial of these belts was recently completed when The New Day started calling themselves the longest reigning Tag Team champions in history, which is only true if one ignores Demolition.
1. Cutting Lord Alfred’s Pay
Lord Alfred Hayes was never a huge name to WWE fans, although his presence was well known and often felt on Coliseum Video releases that predated the era of the WWE Network. Alfred was a mild-mannered and aristocratic announcer and interviewer who previously was a hated heel in the 70s, but mostly was known to WWE fans as a kind old man who apparently helped Vince McMahon a great deal behind the scenes. Vince was usually respectful and grateful to the people with wrestling experience from before his takeover, and he treated Alfred in high regard for over a decade before suddenly changing his mind due to financial troubles.
His Lordship left WWE in 1995 after McMahon tried to dramatically cut his pay, desperately wanting to keep Alfred around, but not thinking he deserved to get paid for it. Fans were always iffy on Alfred and his quiet role in the company, but there’s no denying how disrespectful it is to take money away from one of your longest tenured and most loyal employees. Alfred quit in anger as a result, and never was able to make amends with McMahon over the incident.