Vince McMahon

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Vince McMahon

Vincent Kennedy McMahon (born August 24, 1945), in Pinehurst, North Carolina, is an American professional wrestling promoter. He is currently the chairman and majority owner of World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (WWE), formerly known as the World Wrestling Federation (WWF).


Schooling and early career

McMahon attended Fishburne Military School in Waynesboro, Virginia, where he became the first cadet in the school's history to be court-martialed. He was not convicted however. He graduated from East Carolina University in 1968 with a degree in Business Administration/Marketing. He had married Linda Edwards, three years his junior, in 1966. His first child, Shane Brandon McMahon, was born in 1970.

McMahon was actually raised as Vinnie Lupton. His mother, Vicki, remarried after her first marriage to famed wrestling promoter Vincent J. McMahon failed during World War II. McMahon also has a slightly older brother, called Rodney.

McMahon didn't meet his biological father until he was 12. Living in a trailer park in North Carolina, he had only known a string of abusive stepfathers until his mother revealed that his father was McMahon. McMahon's company, the WWWF, (World Wide Wrestling Federation) and its parent company the Capitol Wrestling Corporation, had dominated pro wrestling in the Northeastern United States during the mid-20th century, when it was divided into strictly regional enterprises.

McMahon grew closer to his real father than his stepfathers, and was fascinated by the wrestling business. He became involved in the business himself after a ring announcer left abruptly over money and his father needed a quick replacement, but his father wasn't pleased by his son's eagerness to be in the business, since he knew how difficult it could be. The elder McMahon was willing to give his son, then a travelling salesman, a shot, however, in Bangor, Maine. In 1971 he promoted his first wrestling card there. In 1972, in addition to promoting, McMahon provided play-by-play commentary for WWWF television, but promotion was his real interest.

Throughout the 70's, McMahon became a prominent force in his father's company, tripling the WWWF's TV syndication and pushing for the renaming of the company to the World Wrestling Federation (WWF). The young McMahon was also behind the famous Muhammad Ali versus Antonio Inoki match of 1976, the year his daughter, the now Stephanie McMahon-Levesque was born. In 1979, the WWWF became the WWF and Vincent K. purchased the Cape Cod Coliseum, which held both hockey and wrestling events. In 1980 he incorporated Titan Sports, Inc., which would purchase the Capitol Wrestling Corporation from his father in 1982.

Against his father's express wishes, McMahon began a national expansion process that would fundamentally change the business. By 1983, Vince had full control and ownership of the WWF and its future direction, having bought out all of his father's former partners, including the legendary Gorilla Monsoon. Vince's father sadly died in 1984, leaving his son behind to carry on his pro wrestling legacy. The first thing he did as full owner of the WWF was to break away from the National Wrestling Alliance, as his vision of a new, national wrestling promotion was incompatible with their old-school promoting philosophy.

As WWF Chairman

The 80's boom

In 1984, McMahon built the new WWF around a young, all-American babyface named Hulk Hogan. Hogan had previously worked for McMahon's father, but had defected to Verne Gagne's AWA promotion in Minnesota. After appearing in Rocky III, Hogan began to exploit his new-found celebrity, and returned to Vince McMahon's all-new WWF. Vince instantly put the WWF title on him in January 1984, and engineered Hogan's insurgence into the mainstream entertainment media, in which Hogan was portrayed as the ultimate all-American good guy. McMahon did not stop there, however, inviting rock and pop stars such as Cyndi Lauper to participate in WWF storylines in what would come to be called the Rock 'n' Wrestling Connection. The popularity of the WWF increased exponentially as the MTV Network often featured wrestling in its programming to follow the exploits of music stars and other celebrities in the wrestling world. McMahon called the incorporation of pro wrestling among other types of entertainment such as music and movies Sports Entertainment. Hogan even co-hosted Saturday Night Live and had his own CBS cartoon series.

Around the same time, McMahon publicly admitted the secret behind kayfabe in professional wrestling: that its outcomes were predetermined, moves planned and rehearsed, and that wrestlers played character roles much like Hollywood actors do. While general knowledge to most wrestling fans, this admission broke the final taboo of the old ways of wrestling, and earned McMahon much ire among old-school fans, wrestlers, and promoters, who were already incensed at McMahon for his invasion into long-held NWA territories. Then-NWA Champion Harley Race was very vocal of his frustrations toward McMahon and the WWF; when promoting a show in his hometown of Kansas City, Race supposedly attempted to burn down a WWF ring. Interestingly, Race jumped ship to the WWF just two years later, and joined in the fun as "King" Harley Race.

The culmination of the Rock 'n' Wrestling Connection was the first-ever WrestleMania event at Madison Square Garden in New York City. While wrestling mega-events were not a new idea (the NWA's Starrcade had existed for several years), WrestleMania, held on March 31, 1985, was innovative in its inclusion of mainstream stars, including Mr. T, Cyndi Lauper, old pal Muhammad Ali, Billy Martin, Liberace, and the Radio City Rockettes. McMahon promoted the event across the country on closed-circuit television (pay-per-view technology was not yet sufficiently developed), pouring all of his and his company's resources into what was widely seen in the business as a long shot. The investment paid off, and the inaugural WrestleMania was a resounding financial success. The show became an annual event, held every March or April, with it already completing 21 incarnations. WrestleMania III in 1987 was arguably the most popular, allegedly drawing nearly 100,000 fans to the Pontiac Silverdome in Pontiac, Michigan and many more viewers on pay-per-view for the much-anticipated showdown between Hulk Hogan and the run-down-but-still-profitable Andr the Giant. The actual attendance was more in the region of 79,000, still a mammoth figure.

Also in 1987, McMahon launched a second annual pay-per-view extravaganza, known as the Survivor Series, held roughly every Thanksgiving. In August 1988, the SummerSlam series was launched, and then in January 1989 the Royal Rumble spectacular was added to the calendar. Things stayed like this until 1993, when a fifth pay-per-view, King Of The Ring launched. By 1996, the WWF were promoting 12 pay-per-view cards one a month: the big five events stayed in their traditional places, while the other months played host to the In Your House shows, which were generally shorter and cheaper to view than the main five shows. In September 1997, the In Your House concept was amended to fill three hours as per the other five main cards, and it has roughly remained this way ever since with McMahon now promoting one, maybe two, three-hour PPV cards each calendar month.

From 1988 to around 1992, the WWF firmly ruled when it came to "sports entertainment". At roughly the same time, some die-hard NWA territories run by Jim Crockett, Jr., badly bruised by McMahon's ego and his garish comic-book heroes, sold up to Ted Turner, thus creating WCW. WCW never really troubled the WWF at this juncture when it came to TV ratings or attendances, but it was generally accepted amongst many that WCW had the edge when it came to "real" pro wrestling.

However, around 1992, things began to change. Alleged steroid abuse among the wrestlers came under scrutiny for example, and Hulk Hogan, whose act was rapidly losing steam and popularity, was quietly phased out of the picture. The equally 'well-sculptured' Sid Justice also vanished, and a comeback run for the 'chiseled' Ultimate Warrior was aborted that year after 7 months. Smaller, more technical wrestlers such as Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels and Ric Flair were prime beneficiaries of this shift in focus, as were rather unorthodox stars such as the "sumo" wrestler Yokozuna. However, silly storylines and characters still abounded throughout 1993 in particular, with an expensive and failed attempt to turn Lex Luger into the next Hogan not helping matters. By 1994, things were slowly turning in WCW's favor, especially when they signed Hulk Hogan.

McMahon was put on trial in 1994, accused of distributing steroids to his wrestlers. As a legal move, his wife Linda was made CEO of the WWF during the trial. He was acquitted of all charges, but later admitted taking steroids himself in the 80's. The prosecution made Hulk Hogan its star witness, and his testimony in the trial severely damaged the two's friendship. Despite not being convicted, McMahon and the WWF took a major public relations hit. The WWF's popularity defintely declined from that point, mainly in part to even more dumb ideas and matches being served up in Vince's enforced absence.

The Monday Night Wars and WWF Attitude

In 1997, the WWF and its flagship show on the USA Network, Monday Night Raw, were consistently losing the ratings war with WCW and its new show, WCW Monday Nitro, which has premiered in September 1995. Despite the fans' loud yearning for less over-the-top gimmicks like "The Patriot" and "Doink the Clown", the returning McMahon resisted, and the WWF product was very much as it had been in late 80's and early 90's. Meanwhile, WCW's nWo angle, which blurred the division between pro wrestling and reality, was cutting-edge, and viewers deserted the WWF in droves. Eventually, taking notice of his main competition as well as upstart Extreme Championship Wrestling, McMahon started moving the WWF toward more adult-oriented and reality-based storylines. This concept, which the WWF marketed as WWF Attitude, really began with the infamous Montreal Screwjob at that year's Survivor Series pay-per-view. At the event, Vince McMahon conspired to remove the WWF Championship from then-champion Bret Hart, who was soon leaving for WCW. The event went down, and WWF fans witnessed McMahon, who to many was largely known as an announcer rather than the WWF owner, "screw" Bret Hart out of the WWF Title "for real". After Survivor Series, McMahon inserted himself into the WWF show as the evil owner. Mr. McMahon, who (fictionally) conspired and meddled in the affairs of other fan-favorite wrestlers. This ment he was a heel now. He even had his own heel group known as the corporation during that time. This led to the prolific Austin vs. McMahon feud, in which popular beer-guzzling, finger-waving, profanity-spewing anti-hero Stone Cold Steve Austin challenged McMahon's authority every week on Raw, and business really picked up. In 1998, the WWF solidified itself as the wrestling ratings king and never looked back. McMahon later turned face again by having a rival run in against Triple H. On the September 16, 1999 edition of Smackdown!, McMahon defeated Triple H to become the WWF (WWE) Champion with assistance from several people including his son Shane and Stone Cold Steve Austin. He relinquished the belt the following week on Raw and Triple H went on to regain it in a "Six-Pack Challenge" at the Unforgiven PPV which featured Austin as guest referee. In December of that year, McMahon (as a babyface) established himself as a legitimate physical presence in a 30 minute No Holds Barred match with Triple H at the Armageddon PPV. His daughter, Stephanie, turned heel for the first time by turning on her father at the end of the match, thus starting the McMahon-Helmsley Faction angle. At Wrestlemania 2000 McMahon turned heel again by betraying the Rock in the 4 way McMahon corner match for the WWE championship. Later he turned face for the third time by having a rival run in against the WCW/ECW Alliance. After the Alliance broke up he later turned heel for the third time by siding with Kurt Angle. He started a rivarly with Hulk Hogan and wrestled him at Wrestlemania 19 in a street fight match. This was the first time these two fought in the ring. This was also the first time McMahon wrestled at a Wrestlemania event. This was Hogan's last Wrestlemania match. To this day McMahon is now a face for the fourth time ever since he betrayed Kurt Angle by firing him as Smackdown! G.M.

The new millennium and the birth of WWE

In 1999, McMahon took the WWF public; the McMahon family retained the vast majority of voting shares, however. Forbes has put his net worth at $700 million.

In 2001, his company created a joint venture with NBC for a new professional American football league, the XFL. The league folded after one season and is widely regarded as a colossal failure.

Also in 2001, the North American wrestling landscape changed forever when McMahon purchased his then failing rival, WCW. AOL Time Warner, then WCW's parent company, was looking to cut costs dramatically in the wake of its merger. WCW was an easy choice, since it was now losing millions of dollars a year after the departure of figurehead and nWo architect Eric Bischoff. ECW went bankrupt that same year, and McMahon purchased the rights to its video library and trademarks. This WCW, ECW, and WWF "merger" created the biggest and practically only major pro wrestling organization in North America. Since then, however, the WWF failed to hold onto WCW and ECW viewers as well as many of its own viewers, and the wrestling business is largely viewed to be in decline. In fairness, McMahon would be the first to point out that the company is still very profitable, making millions of dollars a year, and its brand recognition is strong.

Having saturated itself with its own talent as well as much of the former talent WCW and ECW, the WWF underwent a talent roster and brand split a year later, creating separate WWF RAW and WWF SmackDown! (a new WWF show broadcast on the United Paramount Network beginning in 1999) brand both with exclusive title belts.

In May 2002, McMahon changed the WWF's name to World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) in the midst of an ongoing lawsuit with the World Wildlife Fund over the use of and trading using the WWF initials.

Personal life

McMahon married his high school sweetheart Linda Edwards on August 6, 1966. They have two children, Stephanie and Shane, both of whom are WWE executives. McMahon and Linda live in Greenwich, Connecticut, and are the grandparents of Shane's son, Declan James McMahon, who was born on February 13, 2004.

External links


Signature Moves

Titles and accomplishments

Preceded by:
Triple H
WWE Champions Succeeded by:



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