There are few things in this world more curious than Vince McMahon.
Most wrestling fans know that the eccentric billionaire has a laundry list of quirks. He hates sneezing as he sees it as a sign of weakness, he didn’t know what a burrito was despite having eaten them before, and he regularly pitched incest angles involving him and his family.
In addition to these oddities, Vince is also known to be rather quick to anger. His reactions range from the comically petty to surprisingly severe and can be caused by all manner of things. He is never going to be mistaken for a good person, but he is at his worst when he gets rattled by something or someone.
Most recently he has been reported to be furious over Tazz taking to the mic at AEW Fyter Fest to mock the WWE’s Covid response, calling them a “sloppy shop”. Despite Tazz being completely correct, Vince is still seething that someone would dare call him out on his dangerous actions.
The list of things that have set Vince off is seemingly endless but here’s five of the most prominent times that the Genetic Jackhammer was more than a bit bothered.
Those Damn Kids are Flipping On The Lawn Again
The Tazz incident coincides with another example of Vince getting shook by AEW. It seems that whenever the rival promotion has a big show, Vince just has to counter programme it in a blatantly transparent act of pettiness.
He did so when he ran an Evolve Network special and pushed NXT to the USA Network to counter AEW’s debut on TNT. So too has he created NXT Great American Bash to run over the same two weeks as Fyter Fest.
No matter how much Triple H and company spout that this is not a direct response to The Elite, the fact remains that it is just that. Vince can’t stand the idea of AEW having a big successful show so he carts out some contrived nonsense to draw eyes away from it. It’s actually a little tragic.
You have to think that if he put the same energy into making his own programming watchable again then he wouldn’t need to worry about other companies nipping at his heels.
Who Told You To Smile?
Cast your minds back to 2007. A year of great ups and tragic downs for the WWE. One of the more questionable angles was an increasingly paranoid Vince taking a long walk through the backstage area, his entire roster lining the halls as he strode along, only to meet a supposed fiery demise in his limo moments later.
It was intended to be sombre moment, but it’s likely that all you can think about is the great big smile that was plastered across Paul London’s face. It certainly all Vince focused on afterwards.
Supposedly nobody had actually relayed to London what was happening in the segment so his grin was one of awkwardness and possible confusion. To his boss it was reason enough to de-push and ultimately release the superstar.
The success he had been enjoying alongside Brian Kendrick was stripped away and the exciting performer found himself with very little to do prior to his late 2008 release.
All of this despite the fact that the segment was shot multiple times and London had smiled in every take. Doesn’t the WWE sound like a fun place to work?
Me Take Responsibility? That’s Unpossible!
In 2003 everyone’s favourite maniacal sometimes billionaire appeared on a Real Sports documentary called Deaths in Pro Wrestling. It was a gruelling interview, in the same vein as his spat with Bob Costas a few years earlier.
This time around he was interviewed by Armen Keteyian who pressed him on the premature deaths of numerous wrestlers who had worked for him. Armen sought to get Vince to take some sort of responsibility for the untimely deaths to no avail.
Vince became heated very quickly and even tried to slap the notes from Armen’s hands. He clearly had little in the way of reasonable response to the questions being posed to him and so resorted a sort of faux macho temper tantrum to assert his dominance over the host.
He refused to take any sort of responsibility for the deaths, which is hardly surprising, and looked seconds away from punching the far smaller man opposite him. To say he lost his cool would be an understatement. It wasn’t a good look for Vince or the industry as a whole for mainstream audiences.
December To Dismember… ECW’s Credibility.
There isn’t a fan out there who can legitimately claim to have liked WWECW’s sole solo PPV. It was an unmitigated disaster from start to finish with all of the charms of Paul Heyman’s original renegade promotion having been stripped away, leaving behind a sterile husk that no one had asked for.
It might have been a little different if Heyman had been able to book the show his way. If that had been the case then the popular rising star C.M. Punk would have walked out with the ECW Championship and fans would have left with less of a sour taste in their mouths. Vince wasn’t about to let that happen though.
In a case of what can only be described as wilful self-destruction, Vince overruled Heyman and had big boring Bobby Lashley go over instead. It effectively killed the brand in one fell swoop. As did the plotting of the Extreme Elimination Chamber which saw the fan favourites of Punk and RVD get eliminated right off the bat. The Big Show lasted until the end though so happy days, I guess?
Afterwards Vince placed all of the blame for the monumental failure squarely on a dejected Paul Heyman’s shoulders. It was the end of Paul. E. Dangerously in the WWE for a long time and all because the boss got rattled by his own bad decision making.
83 Weeks Later
Perhaps the biggest period of time in which Vince was continuously rattled was the Monday Night Wars. If it seems that AEW are getting to him now, just go back and watch him scramble around as Nitro destroyed Raw in the ratings for 83 weeks on the trot.
This is the one example where Vince is not to be mocked, however. He took this as an opportunity to learn. He realised that his old product had grown stale and so he updated the company by bringing about the beloved Attitude Era.
In defeat Vince struck gold and reinvigorated the then WWF for years to come. It goes to show that sometimes being knocked off kilter is exactly what he needs. It forced him to adapt and overcome near insurmountable odds.
If AEW can boost their profile to WCW’s level in the mid-90’s then Vince may well be rocked into real action once more. God knows the industry needs it as Raw and Smackdown have become the dullest of all the wrestling programming out there.
In these 83 weeks, he gave the world a true blue-collar hero in Stone Cold, and captivating megastar in The Rock, and a lovable rogue in Mankind. He let creative freedom reign and it was glorious.