Like James Brown and B.B. King before him, Vince McMahon paid the cost to be the boss. While turning his father’s World Wide Wrestling Federation into the global sports entertainment empire WWE, the company’s CEO and owner Vince McMahon has made his share of enemies along the way. Although the majority of American professional wrestlers to achieve major success in the past half century have McMahon to thank (and vice versa), a select few have gone the exact opposite route, blaming the WWE figurehead for a cadre of both direct and systemic problems with WWE and the wrestling industry in general.
A few of these complaints are obviously the cries of people with failed careers, possibly drugged up fever dreams of people who let success go to their heads. Others were wildly successful, with or without McMahon, and may have legitimate complaints to lobby against Vince considering their track records. Not that the nobodies’ complaints should be immediately ignored—it can be hard to say what’s really real in the human circus of professional wrestling. Vince has done his share of regrettable business deals and there are a few things he’s responsible for he might prefer we’d forget. Read on to find out which past and present employees call him out on it the most.
15. Kamala – Accused WWE Of Racism
Kamala the Ugandan Giant, real name Jim Harris, was a big star in southern wrestling promotions like Mid-South Wrestling and World Class Championship Wrestling in the early 1980’s, eventually signing with WWE in 1984. He feuded with Andre the Giant, Hulk Hogan and Jake Roberts before leaving in 1987, returning in 1992 to feud The Undertaker. Although he feuded with several top names, Kamala was never hugely successful himself, and he feels he knows why. Speaking with the Voice of Choice Nation Wrestling Vault show, Harris said, “If you get along with Vince, do him sexual favors, you’ll get along good with him.” Plenty have noted Vince’s voracious sexual appetite for women and he’s admitted to cheating on his wife, but Kamala is one of very few to claim this extends to his business practices with his wrestlers as well. Kamala has also accused McMahon and WWE of racism, but we’d like to point out it was Jerry Lawler, not Vince, who came up with the offensive Ugandan Giant gimmick.
14. Bret Hart Says What We Already Knew
Bret Hart is a five-time WWE World Champion and Hall of Famer. He and WWE finally ended their disagreements in 2005, but from 1997 until that point, the Hitman was one of McMahon’s most vocal opponents, with good reason. The 1997 Survivor Series is forever infamous in WWE history due to the Montreal Screwjob, where McMahon legitimately lied to Hart about the outcome of a match, in Hart’s opinion “robbing” him of the WWE World Championship. McMahon made the decision because Hart’s contract had ended and he was set to appear in WCW in the near future. Hart responded by destroying WWE technical equipment and punching McMahon in the face, giving him a black eye. Actions speaking louder than words, Hart’s diss may have hurt McMahon most of all.
13. Goldust Says He’s A Prick
Goldust has had an on-and-off career with WWE. His father Dusty Rhodes was a wrestling legend, his brother Cody Rhodes, also known as Stardust, has worked for the company for the past decade, and Goldust himself is a former three time WWE Intercontinental Champion and multi time former WWE World Tag Team Champion. In various interviews, Goldust has complained of Vince’s lack of respect for his career outside of WWE, upset over never being called by his family name Dustin Rhodes on WWE television despite going by that name for years before signing with the company. He also repeatedly called McMahon a “prick” whenever he wasn’t working for him, although he regularly turned around and re-signed with the WWE shortly after doing so. As of this posting, he again works for Vince, acting in regular comedy segments with R-Truth. He probably isn’t complaining this time, since he’s had some success with comedy before.
12. Josh Mathews Says What Lots of Fans Think
Josh Mathews got his start in professional wrestling as a contestant on the first season of Tough Enough. After placing as a runner-up in the competition, he had a short career as an independent wrestler before signing with WWE as an interviewer and play-by-play announcer. He is currently the lead announcer for Total Nonstop Action. Reflecting on his past boss in an interview with the Sam Roberts Wrestling Podcast, Mathews said, “I just look at [Vince] as someone who doesn’t get it anymore, and who has lost so much touch with what his product is.” Many fans sympathize with Mathews, citing failing WWE ratings as proof McMahon is no longer the genius he once was.
11. Goldberg Says Vince Killed Goldberg Gimmick
Bill Goldberg was one of the only true stars created by WCW, Vince McMahon’s primary competition in the 1990’s. After WCW went out of business while Goldberg was injured, he briefly wrestled for WWE from 2003 to 2004. Although he was a main focus of WWE television during his year with the company, feuding with The Rock, Triple H and Brock Lesnar, Goldberg felt his character was never utilized properly. Years after leaving the company, speaking with Fox 23 Tulsa News in 2011, Goldberg revealed he still held bitterness over his time with WWE. Speaking of McMahon, Goldberg said, “I can’t really say anything positive about the man. It’s like working for a carny who is driven only by his ego. Business is out of the window as evidenced by what he did with my character.”
10. Beaver Cleavage Says He’s A Jerk
Most fans probably remember him best as Headbanger Mosh, but we’re calling him Beaver Cleavage as our way of saying we understand why he doesn’t exactly love Mr. McMahon. The former WWE World Tag Team Champion with Headbanger Thrasher is also remembered for being forced to don a series of horrible gimmicks, none worse than 1950’s sitcom parody Beaver Cleavage. After that gimmick failed, under his real name Chaz Warrington, he was implied to be physically abusing his real-life girlfriend, Marianna Komlos. Warrington put up with it, though, because he enjoyed his job and thought Vince was a genius, as he has said in interviews. However, in those same interviews, he goes on to call Vince a “f***ing jerk-off.” According to Chaz, as soon as it was known Chaz wasn’t going to re-sign with WWE, Vince refused to even speak with him.
9. Chyna Says If They Only Knew
Joanie Laurer, famously known as Chyna, has had quite the roller coaster life. Chyna reached unheard of levels of success for a female professional wrestler as the first woman to compete in the Royal Rumble and the first woman to win the WWE Intercontinental Championship. She also had a high profile real-life relationship with Triple H, the ending of which left her extremely bitter with Stephanie McMahon. Her hatred for the McMahon family didn’t end there, as Laurer would publicly share on Twitter in 2012. In a long series of tweets, Chyna repeatedly called out McMahon, threatening to fight him over unreturned phone calls. Insults directed towards Triple H and X-Pac were interspersed throughout her challenges as well. Chyna recently had a relaxed interaction with Triple H following Roddy Piper’s funeral, and hopefully won’t try to start another online battle any time soon.
8. The Road Warriors – Vince Gave Shawn Michaels Preferred Treatment
The Road Warriors, Hawk and Animal, were inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2011. Considered one of the greatest tag teams of all time, they won titles in WWE, NWA, AWA, and a variety of Japanese promotions. Although successful, the Road Warriors seem to recall upon their time in WWE least fondly, primarily due to their strong personal problems with Vince McMahon. On several occasions, Hawk claimed Vince gave Shawn Michaels preferential treatment, assuming it must have been due to a sexual or romantic relationship between the two. Despite the accusations, the Road Warriors briefly returned to WWE in 2003 only five months before Hawk’s death.
7. Jim Ross’s Professional Diss
Jim Ross is a WWE Hall of Famer and is generally considered one of if not the absolute best professional wrestling announcer of all time. Regardless of this, his relationship with Vince McMahon and WWE in general has always seemed somewhat strained, despite the fact he worked for the company for nearly two decades. Ross started with WWE in 1993 after a stint with WCW. He was briefly fired in 1994, but returned later in the year and stayed with WWE until he was fired again in 2013 over comments made at a press rally. However, many reports at the time felt McMahon always had it out for Ross, who never held back when speaking his mind about the direction of the company in closed-door meetings. Ross also regularly ignored Vince’s direction not to “yell” while on commentary, feeling his excitement and connection with the fans was more immediately important than McMahon’s rules. Though JR is very professional with his complaints about his former boss, it’s obvious the two never completely saw eye to eye.
6. Mr. Kennedy Said It Was A Tug of War
Ken Anderson wrestled for WWE from 2005 to 2009 as Mr. Kennedy. While in WWE he quickly rose to the top of the card on the strength of his humorous persona, but apparently Vince McMahon wasn’t a huge fan. Speaking with the U.K. Sun in 2009, Kennedy said of his relationship with McMahon, “there’s really a tug of war going on.” He accused Vince of failing to understand his character, explaining McMahon might understand it better through the perspective of Kennedy’s relationship with the audience, instead of Kennedy’s relationship with McMahon. If subtly calling McMahon out for his ego and self-centeredness wasn’t enough, Kennedy also has issues with John Cena, claiming Cena used his influence with McMahon to get Kennedy fired, a damning accusation against both men. Anderson now competes for Total Nonstop Action under the name Mr. Anderson.
5. Bruno Sammartino Says Vince Is Too Risqué
Bruno Sammartino is a two-time WWE World Champion and holds the record for the longest tenure ever with the title. Despite the fact his first title reign began in 1963, Bruno wasn’t inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame until 2013, and his differences with Vince McMahon until then were well known to the public. Sammartino left WWE in 1988, disparaging what he saw as rampant drug and steroid use in the locker room. He even debated Vince on the issue during an episode of Larry King Live in 1992. Sammartino repeatedly turned down offers to be inducted into the Hall of Fame over the ensuing years, citing his previous complaints and adding that Steve Austin’s character promoted alcoholism, not to mention Sammartino was disgusted by the time Triple H humped a corpse (so were we).
For what its worth, as we’ve mentioned before, chances are McMahon’s father would’ve taken Bruno’s side of the argument. That might not mean too much for Bruno, though, considering the Living Legend had some issues with Vince, Sr. as well.
4. Jamie Dundee Says Vince Killed Wrestling
Jamie Dundee is the son of Memphis wrestling legend Bill Dundee, and he briefly wrestled for WWE as JC Ice. As Ice, Dundee was one-half of the rapping tag team PG-13, members of Faarooq’s original Nation of Domination. PG-13 briefly appeared in ECW and WCW as well. Nowadays, Dundee blames McMahon personally for everything wrong with the wrestling industry. He says McMahon’s lack of humanity is his biggest fault, claiming Vince treats WWE like “a video game with real people.” He feels McMahon’s empire has lead to any wrestler operating outside of the WWE mindset growing apathetic to the industry, and says shows like Tough Enough exposed the business to the point fans no longer are interested.
3. The Ultimate Warriors Says Vince Doesn’t Respect Him
The Ultimate Warrior finally mended ways with WWE in 2014 shortly before his death, being honored with an induction into the WWE Hall of Fame. From 1996 until that point, however, such an occurrence seemed almost impossible. Warrior first came to WWE in 1988 and was fired in 1991. He was fired while still a huge star, and as such the move was shocking although not controversial—it was reported Warrior had missed a large number of shows, and letters between Warrior and McMahon would eventually be published showing Warrior was angrily demanding huge amounts of money to continue wrestling. A similar financial problem occurred when Warrior returned and quickly left in 1996. Ever the consummate professional, Vince responded to Warrior’s claims he was a bigger star than Vince thought by mocking him profusely with the release of The Self Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior.
2. Billy Jack Haynes Says So, So Much
We’ve covered it before, but it absolutely bears repeating: Billy Jack Haynes is insane. A mid-level performing wrestler in the mid 80’s, Haynes quickly faded into irrelevance after leaving WWE in 1988, attempting to start his own unsuccessful promotion before retiring in 1996. Over the course of the next few decades, he would make exponentially outlandish accusations primarily focused on his belief Vince McMahon is systematically murdering everyone who has ever worked for him.
In an infamous shoot interview with RF Video, after rattling off a series of dead wrestlers Haynes was blaming McMahon for killing, he makes the most absurd claim in wrestling history: that Chris Benoit committed his crimes out of jealousy after learning McMahon was the true father of his son. Everyone on this list would agree Vince McMahon is liar, but no lie he ever told came close to those made up by Billy Jack Haynes.
1. Nailz Says Vince Molested Him
Plenty of the people on this list made stuff up about Vince McMahon, but only Nailz, real name Kevin Wacholz, claimed Vince tried to rape him. Nailz didn’t last long in WWE; with the gimmick of an ex-con, he debuted in 1992 to feud with the Big Bossman. Shortly after arriving, he began to challenge the Undertaker before leaving the company in under a year. Bret Hart and Tito Santana both have recounted stories of the day Wacholz was fired, noting they overheard him physically attacking and choking McMahon in his office.
According to Wade Keller of the Pro Wrestling Torch, the way Nailz tells it, he was acting in self-defense after McMahon sexually assaulted him. Two years later, when McMahon was on trial for alleged steroid distribution, Nailz was the only wrestler to testify on behalf of the prosecution, saying Vince encouraged him to take steroids. McMahon would eventually be acquitted anyway. Nailz briefly wrestled for WCW as The Prisoner but was generally blackballed afterwards, most people believing it was far more likely he actually attacked McMahon unprovoked and came up with an outrageous story later on, in order to justify his own actions.