There is no doubt that Stephanie McMahon is one of the most powerful women in the world today. She is a businesswoman, co-founder of the Connor’s Cure charity, and the Chief Brand Officer of the WWE. You may have heard of her husband as well, Triple H; he’s only Chief Operating Officer of the WWE and a future WWE Hall of Famer. Once Stephanie’s Dad Vince retires, the keys to the kingdom will be passed down to pro wrestling’s most powerful couple.
The McMahon Family has been synonymous with professional wrestling going back to Stephanie’s grandfather, Vincent J. McMahon, who created the WWWF. This eventually became the WWF. Her father, Vincent K. McMahon, is the current chairman and CEO of the WWE. Her mother Linda McMahon was also a CEO of the WWE until she decided to get into politics.
Stephanie has been involved with the company from an early age, so the WWE Universe has watched her grow at nearly every stage of her life. It’s made for a unique opportunity to create an article showcasing photos of her life “inside” the WWE from 1985 to today. While she wasn’t in the spotlight during her school years, she debuted on television at age twenty-three and has had a television role ever since.
This article covers many different facets of Stephanie’s career, including her storyline debut, and various different iterations of her rise to power including her current role in “The Authority.”
15. Merchandise Catalog Model – 1989
Kids these days don’t really know what a catalog is, let alone the joy you’d feel as a kid when the Christmas catalogs for JC Penney or Sears would come in the mail. Well, before the WWE Shop was prevalent on the internet, Stephanie McMahon could be seen in the WWE Merchandise Catalogs, modeling the latest in WWE swag. Since she wasn’t really in the spotlight at this age, no one knew that the kid who was modeling the t-shirts was the boss’s daughter. But even then, if you knew, would it really change your mind about buying that awesome Rockers t-shirt?
14. Hanging Out With Mom As A Teenager
Sometime between her modeling days and when she debuted on WWE television this picture was taken. Those fans of the “Attitude Era” will recognize the lady on the right as well as Stephanie’s mother, Linda McMahon. Linda was president and CEO of the WWE before she left for a career in politics. Linda would have a big role in several story lines throughout the years, especially in the Attitude Era. Most famously, she was involved in an angle against her husband Vince. This storyline reached its height at WrestleMania 17 when she would cost Vince in his match against his son Shane.
13. WWE Television Debut – 1999
At the age of 22, Stephanie McMahon would debut on WWE television in her first major angle as a character. There was a major feud brewing between Vince McMahon and The Undertaker. Stephanie would end up being abducted by the Undertaker at the end of the Backlash pay per view. The next night on Raw, she would be tied to the Undertaker symbol and forced to marry the Dead Man before Stone Cold Steve Austin came in and made the save. The surprise here was that the Rattlesnake would help the McMahon family. This would be the start of a long run on television for Stephanie.
12. First On-Screen Relationship – 1999
After escaping the grasp of the Undertaker, Stephanie would develop an on-screen relationship with Test. This would draw the ire of her over-protective brother, Shane McMahon, who would start a feud with Test to try to get him to quit his relationship with Stephanie. Test and Stephanie would continue to stay together and would end up having their wedding ceremony on Monday Night Raw. In one of the more famous moments in Raw history, Triple H crashed the party and showed footage to everyone that he had beaten Test to the punch and got married to Stephanie in a drive thru in Vegas while she was passed out.
11. The McMahon/Helmsley Era – 2000
Eventually Stephanie would reveal that Triple H did not drug her and that getting married in a Vegas drive thru was planned all along to start the McMahon-Helmsley era at the start of the millennium. Triple H would take out Stephanie’s father Vince McMahon; this made them the de facto rulers of the WWE during that era. During this time in power, Stephanie would actually hold the WWE Women’s Championship for a total of 146 days. This would be her only reign as a woman’s champion in the WWE. Also during this era, Stephanie would feud with her own mother, and be in a love triangle with Triple H and Kurt Angle.
10. An Enhanced Stephanie Purchases ECW – 2001
Stephanie McMahon would take a few months off of television and surprisingly resurface right in the middle of the McMahon power struggle during “the Invasion.” Her brother Shane bought WCW out from underneath Vince’s nose, and then later on it was revealed that Stephanie would purchase ECW to form “The Alliance.” Unfortunately, the Invasion storyline was poorly written and underachieved compared to the heights it could have gone. Stephanie not only acquired ECW, but in her time away from the WWE she acquired a new set of breasts that definitely was not a subtle change from when she was last seen on television.
9. The General Manager Of Smackdown – 2002
In the summer of 2002, and just before Stephanie turned 26, she had her first taste of “Authority” as the general manager of Smackdown. On the other side of the coin, the Monday Night Raw general manager was none other than Eric Bischoff, who made a very surprising return after Vince McMahon purchased WCW. When she wasn’t banging heads with Bischoff, Stephanie brought back the coveted United States Championship and created the WWE Tag Team Championships for titles on the Smackdown end of the brand split. The reign would end when her mother Linda threw in the towel in Stephanie’s match with her own father, and Stephanie would be off television for some time.
8. A Brief Return To Fire Jim Ross – 2005
After taking a couple of years off, Stephanie returned to the WWE in 2005, for the first time after “officially” marrying Triple H. When she had left as the Smackdown General Manager, she was a face, but her return to the WWE for this moment turned her into a heel. One would assume that since Jim Ross originally came from NWA/WCW, that Vince loves to embarrass Ross. He’s been beat up and fired so many times it’s hard to keep count. That was the reason for Stephanie to return to television here – to fire Ross (who had some legitimate health issues he needed to take care of).
7. A Pregnant Steph Drugs HBK – 2006
After firing Jim Ross, Stephanie McMahon was absent from television for a few months for good reason. She was pregnant with her and Hunter’s first child. Vince McMahon and Shawn Michaels were feuding at the time, and on a March 2006 edition of Monday Night Raw, Michaels would face Shane McMahon in a street fight as a response to Michaels being inducted into the infamous “Kiss My Ass Club.” A pregnant Stephanie was visiting and faked some pain so that Michaels went to get her some water. While he was gone she drugged his drink; this enabled Shane to easily win the Raw main event that night.
6. Stephanie As The Raw General Manager – 2009
The WWE brought former American Gladiators play-by-play guy Mike Adamle in to be a part of the announcing team in 2008. While he was amazing on American Gladiators, he was terrible in the WWE. In an effort to get the most out of the paychecks they were sending to Adamle, he was made Raw General Manager after Vince was injured. When Adamle stepped down, Stephanie replaced him and reignited a feud with long-time adversary Chris Jericho. Following the Jericho feud (Stephanie fired him), her family would go on to feud with Randy Orton’s “Legacy” before she took time off again.
5. Raw 1000 Confrontation With Paul Heyman – 2012
Stephanie would make sporadic appearances after the birth of her youngest child in 2010, but would make a triumphant return to the loaded 1000th episode of Monday Night Raw. She had last appeared briefly in a backstage segment with CM Punk at SummerSlam 2011 before appearing on this historic episode of Raw. Stephanie’s husband, Triple H, wanted Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam after Brock broke Triple H’s arm a couple of months before. This was after he failed to give into Brock’s ridiculous contract demands upon returning to the company. It took Stephanie returning and slapping the crap out of Paul Heyman for Heyman to cave in and accept the match for his client.
4. The Debut Of “The Authority” – 2013
Stephanie McMahon would return to a permanent role in Raw after SummerSlam in 2013 as The Authority with her husband and WWE COO Triple H. At SummerSlam, it was Daniel Bryan v. John Cena for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship with Triple H as the referee. Bryan would win the match, but then Randy Orton’s music hit, and he had the Money In The Bank Briefcase with him. Triple H hit Bryan with the Pedigree, and The Authority was formed with their man Orton as the champion. Stephanie has been at the forefront of The Authority from this point up to the present time.
3. Return To The Ring To Face Brie Bella – 2014
Daniel Bryan defied The Authority and the odds to capture the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 30. It was found the following May that he would need neck surgery. When Stephanie ordered Bryan to give up his championship, he refused. Stephanie then threatened to fire his wife Brie Bella if he would not give up the title. Brie would eventually “quit” to allow Bryan to keep his title, but it would be stripped from him anyway. This led into a feud with Stephanie and Brie that culminated at SummerSlam in a match where Brie’s sister Nikki turned heel on her own twin sister. More importantly, how impressive did Stephanie look in her wrestling gear that night?
2. Introducing Her World Heavyweight Champion Husband – 2016
We now fast forward to 2016 where Roman Reigns has been clashing with The Authority. As you can tell, The Authority has been firmly entrenched within the WWE since its official debut in August 2013. Vince McMahon forced Roman to put his WWE World Heavyweight Championship on the line in the thirty-man Royal Rumble match that Stephanie’s husband Triple H won in his return. This photo is from the Monday Night Raw after the Royal Rumble when Stephanie introduced her husband and new WWE World Heavyweight Champion Triple H. He would deliver a speech that basically said “The Authority always wins.”
1. The Return Of Her Brother, Shane McMahon – 2016
Just last week on Monday Night Raw, there was a bombshell of a return. Vince McMahon was all set to give the “prestigious” Vincent J. McMahon (Vince’s father) Legacy Of Excellence Award. While some thought it was a serious award at first, we all found out it was an angle as he awarded it to Stephanie! Before Stephanie was able to get out a single word of her acceptance speech, we heard some familiar theme music we haven’t heard in a long time. After nearly six and a half years away from WWE television, Shane McMahon returned to the WWE with a vengeance. He wants control again, and will have to wrestle the Undertaker at WrestleMania in order to get it.