When Vince McMahon purchased the wrestling promotion of his father, he received a company which was one of the most popular wrestling promotions in the world but was far from the global brand it is today. At the time, promoters were still operating by the territory system, which basically limited each promoter and his/her brand to his/her territory. The younger McMahon, however, saw this arrangement as archaic and believed it to be an obstacle to true success. Throwing caution (and common courtesy) to the wind, Vince McMahon took his recently inherited promotion into the territories of rival bookers, driving them out of business and raiding them of their stars.
Whether this was ruthlessness or business acumen - or a combination of both - on the part of Vince McMahon is up for debate, but one thing is impossible to deny: he is a very, very intelligent man. He saw the potential of professional wrestling and turned it into a mainstream phenomenon, taking his promotion all over the world and cementing his place as the single most important man in the business.
But despite all his brains, McMahon has made more than a couple of mistakes over the past few decades. Many of those mistakes have been documented in court transcripts, audio recordings, and photographs. In this article, we’re going to be focusing on the final one of those three. Unsurprisingly, there were quite a lot of incriminating photographs of Mr. McMahon to choose from and it was pretty difficult to settle on which ones to include in this article, so we went with some of our personal favorites.
Here are 15 photos Vince McMahon doesn’t want you to see.
15 Court Case
In the early 1990s, the then World Wrestling Federation seemed to be on the brink of extinction after Vince McMahon was charged with encouraging his performers to take and supplying them with steroids.
The steroid trial got underway in 1994 and saw a number of former WWF employees testify against McMahon, including Kevin “Nailz” Wacholz. Prior to the trial, McMahon had neck surgery, which left him in a neck brace for much of the proceedings, which many suspected he had done with the intention to make himself look more sympathetic.
Although McMahon was eventually found not guilty, he has attempted to put the trial in the past, never mentioning it on television or in documentaries. For that reason, he would like pictures such as this one, which shows him arriving for a day in court, neck brace and all, to remain on the lesser visited side of the internet.
14 Main Event Killer
At the 2013 installment of TLC, the WWE Champion Randy Orton faced the World Heavyweight Champion John Cena in a match to unify the two championships. Orton came out on the winning end of a match which was wholly rejected by the WWE Universe. The fans wanted Daniel Bryan to be in the main event and were not happy to see him relegated to a three-on-one handicap match against The Wyatt Family.
Despite the fact the fans hated the main event and jeered the living hell out of Orton and Cena for the majority of their time in the ring, Orton and McMahon can be seen here looking pretty happy with themselves. Vince sits back in his chair, smiling smugly to himself, presumably at the thought of a little troll like Daniel Bryan not being the world champion.
Vince has always liked to pretend that he listens to the fans and gives them what they want, but this picture shows him looking totally unconcerned with what they think.
13 Father vs Daughter
WWE has run some pretty controversial storylines in the past and Vince McMahon has been at the heart of many of them. But few storylines have proven more controversial than Vince’s angle with his daughter, Stephanie, which resulted in the two squaring off in an I Quit match.
Vince, who had Sable in his corner, pummeled Stephanie for much of the match. To make it all the more awkward, Stephanie was accompanied to the ring by Linda. The above photo makes it clear that Vince had no intention of taking it easy on Stephanie in the ring.
The history books list Mr. McMahon as the victor of this encounter, though he would very much be the loser if this photo were to come to the attention of today’s so-called “social justice warriors”.
12 Rest In Peace
During the 1980s and early 1990s, Vince McMahon was a pretty fun guy to work for. He had no problem going out with his employees and getting drunk or playing the occasional prank backstage.
This picture shows him having a bit of a laugh with the boys behind the scenes, posing in a casket which looks as though it was designed for The Ultimate Warrior. Paul Bearer, who was managing The Undertaker at the time, looks on with a smile spread across his face.
While this photo was obviously taken in good-natured jest, the early deaths of Golden Age wrestlers which have been plaguing WWE for the past decade or so give it a whole new meaning. Nowadays this photo could be seen as being in poor taste, especially when you consider the fact both The Ultimate Warrior and Paul Bearer have passed away.
11 Stand Back
In the late 1980s, when the World Wrestling Federation was at its most cartoonish, Vince McMahon decided to introduce the Slammy Awards. The Slammy Awards of the golden age of pro wrestling were a far different affair to the Slammy Awards which fans have come to know in recent years. The 1987 Slammy Awards show attempted to mimic the high-profile award shows of the day, such as the Academy Awards. That meant mimicking all the tacky glitz and glamor commonly associated with showbiz.
During the show, a young and enthusiastic Vince McMahon took to the stage with a gang of beautiful, dolled-up backing singers to perform “Stand Back”, a song written as a warning to his rival promoters. “Stand in my way,” McMahon growled into the mic, “I promise you’ll lose.”
This still from the performance shows McMahon in the zone, belting out “Stand Back” while the aforementioned beautiful women add a bit of sex appeal to the performance. This can be compared to those embarrassing pictures you posted on Facebook when you were in your early teens which seem to keep coming back to haunt you. WWE has tried to keep images and videos of the song hidden over the years, but as we can see, these things have a way of getting out there.
One of the things which have made NXT so popular among wrestling fans is the apparent lack of input from Vince McMahon regarding talent and storyline development. According to multiple sources, Triple H has full control over the product and decides who does what. However, this picture would suggest otherwise.
Here we can see Vince McMahon in gorilla position, looking over the shoulder of Matt Bloom - AKA Tensai, A-Train, Prince Albert, and a dozen other names - as Shinsuke Nakamura makes his debut at NXT TakeOver: Dallas.
Although Vince allows his son-in-law to run the NXT brand, this photograph shows that he is not totally removed from the brand and could likely shut the whole thing down if he wanted to.
9 A Night In Chyna
Chyna used to be one of the biggest names in WWE’s Women’s division. In fact, there was a period where she was one of the biggest names in WWE, regardless of gender. However, after she left the company she made some questionable life choices which resulted in WWE wiping her from the history books.
There was almost no mention of the former WWE Intercontinental Champion until her death in 2016, and even then she was paid minimal attention. Her death was acknowledged by a number of WWE Superstars, but Vince McMahon did everything he could to stay away from it.
This is presumably because McMahon feels that, as the owner of a PG company, he should be steering clear of former adult stars, regardless of the impact they had on the company. A picture such as this one could be damaging to Vince McMahon and WWE as a whole. As you can see, it captures McMahon and Chyna during her time with the company. She holds him in a headlock with his face resting atop one of her breasts, which funnily enough foreshadows her later career.
8 Instruction Manual
It is widely known that commentators in WWE must abide by a series of guidelines while calling matches, but this photo shows those guidelines go far beyond what any of us could have imagined.
This is a leaked image of a memo sent out to WWE commentators, straight from the desk of Vince McMahon. It outlines what on-air officials can and can’t say (mostly what they can’t say). WWE commentators are the target of much hate and criticism from fans, but this proves that it is not their fault their announcing is so thoroughly uninteresting.
Vince demands his announcers never be vague in describing injuries to a body part, nor does he want them to be unnatural in their reactions. That’s actually pretty reasonable. However, he also insists they avoid using words such as “he/she”, “obviously”, and “Taker” (in reference to The Undertaker).
7 With Hulk Hogan
Shortly after WrestleMania 32, the transcript of a racist rant Hulk Hogan embarked upon several years prior leaked online and pretty much destroyed his reputation. Vince McMahon made the call to release Hogan (though he didn’t actually call Hogan himself) and every trace of The Hulkster was wiped from the WWE history books.
Obviously, eliminating every trace of Hogan from WWE history was pretty difficult as he was the cornerstone of the company for so many years. While officials managed to remove his image from the company website and the WWE Network, there were some things they couldn’t control. For example, pictures of Hulk Hogan with WWE Superstars were available on other websites not owned by WWE, which means this picture of a smiling Vince McMahon with an equally happy Hulk Hogan was easily accessible.
Of all the pictures of McMahon and Hogan, you have to believe that this is the one McMahon would like to strike from the record. This is because this picture was taken only a couple of months before he was released from his contract. Hogan had already made his infamous sex tape and said those terrible things about his daughter’s African-American boyfriend, yet Vince chose to associate with him. It’s entirely possible McMahon was unaware of Hulk’s racist leanings, but you’d have a hard time convincing the media of that.
6 With Donald Trump
As long as we’re talking about Vince McMahon associating with documented racists, let’s take a moment to discuss this picture.
Here we can see McMahon with the President-elect of the United States of America, Donald J. Trump. It was known for years that Trump had some pretty outlandish ideas and opinions, but it was during his 2016 presidential campaign that he revealed the full extent of his racism, homophobia, and general bigotry.
While Vince distanced himself from Hulk Hogan after his racism controversy, he refused to come out either for or against Donald Trump. He has remained silent since Trump’s victory, knowing it would be PR suicide to congratulate him, but also aware of the fact it helps to have the President-elect in your corner.
Pictures such as this one, which shows McMahon and Trump smiling together, both proud members of the billionaires club have not been shared by WWE as the company doesn’t want to draw any attention to itself. However, you’ve got to believe this is hanging high on the wall of Vince’s office.
5 In Memory Of Chris Benoit
In the immediate aftermath of the death of Chris Benoit, when the events surrounding his passing were still unclear, WWE held an emotional tribute show to the former World Heavyweight Champion. The event opened with Vince singing the praises of Benoit and discussing how much of an impact he had on the wrestling business. This was followed by several video packages of tearful WWE Superstars remembering their fallen comrade.
The following night, after it became known that Benoit had murdered his wife and child before taking his own life, McMahon appeared a second time to state neither he nor his employees would be mentioning “Mr. Benoit” ever again.
Like with Hulk Hogan, every trace of Benoit was wiped from WWE records. Also, like with Hogan it was impossible for WWE to wipe him or the tribute show from the internet. This picture is a still from McMahon’s emotional address to the WWE Universe the day news of Benoit’s death broke.
4 Giving The Finger
WWE is a PG company and has been for quite some time now. That means the use of blood or obscenities is forbidden, unless, of course, the company is really trying to get somebody over.
This is a far cry from the Attitude Era when WWE Superstars were allowed to say and do whatever they liked. Back then, Vince McMahon held the belief that everything should be as raunchy as possible. As we can see from this picture, he incorporated that belief not just into the performances of his employees, but to his own performances as well.
In this image, we see Mr. McMahon with a massive gash across his forehead as blood - likely real - pours down his face and into his mouth. Clearly unhappy to be in such a situation, he flips the bird at his aggressor, something we would never see today and are unlikely to ever see again.
3 Strip Tease
On a 2002 edition of SmackDown, Vince McMahon announced that the pressures of running a multi-billion dollar company had become too much and that he would be hiring a personal assistant. Furthermore, McMahon decided that he would be holding one-on-one interviews in the ring for everybody to see.
Obviously, being the personal assistant to a guy like Vince McMahon is a high paying gig, so WWE Diva Stacy Keibler decided that she would do whatever it took to get the job. Much like how she got her job with WWE in the first place, Keibler decided to use her sex appeal to seduce Mr. McMahon into hiring her.
To rapturous applause, Keibler performed a strip tease for the Chairman of the company while he tried not to have a heart attack. This picture was snapped while Keibler sat on McMahon’s desk with her legs outstretched and resting on his shoulders. We can all guess what McMahon was looking at at this moment, and we can all guess the uproar which would come if this angle were carried out on WWE TV today.
2 Good Ol’ VKM
WWE has been running anti-bullying campaigns for a number of years now. WWE Superstars are regularly deployed to talk to school children about the importance of loving each other and letting everybody be themselves without fear. However, it seems Vince McMahon himself has never attended one of these seminars.
McMahon, for some inexplicable reason, has never liked Jim Ross, who was the voice of WWE for over a decade. During Ross’ tenure with the company, McMahon took every chance he got to mock him, with this image being the prime example of his bullying ways.
Jim Ross has suffered from Bell’s Palsy for many years, a condition which affects the facial muscles and leaves a portion of the face paralyzed. While the disease is no laughing matter, McMahon had no problem playing it for laughs while he taught Hornswoggle how to do a JR impression in 2012.
McMahon donned a cowboy hat and made a horribly disfigured face in mockery of the Hall of Famer’s condition. There was, understandably, uproar, and the segment was quickly swept under the rug before the mainstream media had a chance to pick up on Good Ol’ VKM’s hypocrisy.
1 Hornswoggle Joins The Club
Speaking of Hornswoggle...
During the more raunchy days of WWE, Vince McMahon had something he called “The Vince McMahon Kiss My Ass Club”, which saw him force employees to literally kiss his ass, usually with the threat of being fired if they refused to do so.
In this photo, we see McMahon welcoming Hornswoggle to the club. Hornswoggle was one of the final people to be inducted into the Kiss My Ass Club, so Vince really went all out. He pulled his trousers down all the way to reveal a very white, very unappealing rear end which his kayfabe illegitimate son was forced to put his lips on.
There was no shortage of images of WWE Superstars kissing Mr. McMahon’s rear to choose from, but we went with this one as the added element of the victim being a little person would make it all the more outrageous if it were to surface today.