By Alex Al-Kazzaz
Last week, Vince McMahon officially announced his retirement from the wrestling industry. In light of the current situation, McMahon is dealing with involving alleged sexual misconduct allegations. On June 17th, McMahon voluntarily relieved himself of his position as World Wrestling Entertainment's Chairman and CEO.
As far as McMahon retiring, it wouldn't be surprising if at least 80 percent of pro wrestling fans didn't buy it. In other words, it's quite unclear if McMahon truly is retiring or if he plans to return once his current legal issues are concluded and resolved. Although Paul Levesque otherwise known as Triple H is now the company's head of creative direction. Levesque is also the company's Executive Vice President of Talent Relations. So it looks as if McMahon is retired for good.
Fans all have different opinions on McMahon as well as his methods/strategies on running the business with the storylines, talents, etc, but overall, the pro wrestling fanbase should be thankful whether they agree with McMahon or not as far as pro wrestling goes.
Since taking over in 1982, McMahon has had more than his fair share of historical moments that fans will remember. To say that McMahon changed the face of the pro wrestling business would be a major understatement.
So let's take a look at some of his well-known moments whether famous or infamous. Here are his top 5;
1. Taking over the company
McMahon took over his father's promotion in 1982, which at the time was the World Wide Wrestling Federation. The company soon became the World Wrestling Federation. Back in the day, professional wrestling was regional/territorial and the WWWF was the New York/New Jersey territory. McMahon had a different vision for the business and part of that vision was to make the WWF nationwide and eventually global.
As the wrestling world knows today, McMahon's plan was to systematically take over the pro wrestling world and rule it with an iron first! Therefore, one of the first moves was splitting the WWF from National Wrestling Alliance, which at the time was the governing body for all the wrestling territories in the United States as well as Japan, Mexico, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
Soon after splitting away from the NWA, McMahon began raiding all the territories by taking their talents, most notably Hulk Hogan from the American Wrestling Association who became the WWF's #1 guy for many years. Other wrestlers that McMahon took from other territories included "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, Jesse "The Body" Ventura, "Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff, Jimmy "Super Fly" Snuka, The Iron Sheik, Andre The Giant and the endless list goes on. McMahon's hostile takeover was genuinely happening and soon his company was traveling and working shows around the country and the WWF was growing rapidly. And over the years, McMahon systematically put all other promoters out of business.
In 1985, the first Wrestlemania took place at Madison Square Garden and that was it. The WWF was on top of the world. In addition, the fact that McMahon featured celebrities such as Cyndi Lauper, Muhammad Ali, and Mr. T. By the way, Mr. T was in the main event with Hulk Hogan, which was a great way to draw attention to the event. This showed that McMahon had an ability of taking high-risk chances to ensure his company's success in the present and the future. So many celebrities have been part of Wrestlemania over the years. McMahon's chances certainly paid off. McMahon changed pro wrestling FOREVER.
2. Beating The United States in court
The 1994 steroid scandal. When McMahon was accused of giving his wrestlers illegal anabolic steroids. In 1991, a former doctor who worked for the WWF was convicted of providing illegal anabolic steroids. During the doctor's trial, it was discovered steroids were being provided to the company and its wrestlers at the WWE Headquarters. McMahon would be indicted in 1993.
A total of eleven wrestlers testified in the trial, including Hulk Hogan. One particular wrestler by the name of Kevin Wacholz who wrestled under the name "Nailz" claimed McMahon coerced him into taking steroids. However, Wacholz had been fired from the company in 1992 after an alleged physical altercation with McMahon. McMahon's defense argued Wacholz's claim, saying he was a hostile witness due to personal animosity towards McMahon.
McMahon would have faced a prison sentence had he been found guilty. However, in July of 1994, McMahon would be acquitted.
3. The Montreal Screwjob
The night where the "Mr. McMahon" persona was born. The Montreal Screwjob is very hard to explain. There are so many sides to the story, different claims, different opinions, etc. An unscripted move that took place in the main event WWF title match between Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart at the 1997 Survivor Series in Montreal, Canada.
The incident resulted in Hart losing the title to his longtime rival Michaels without Hart's knowledge. Michaels and Hart's rivalry was not only on-screen, it was personal, as well. In other words, there was legit heat between the two.
In 1997, the WWF was facing financial problems primarily due to the competition from rival company World Championship Wrestling. Because of the problems, McMahon told Hart he could not afford to honor Hart's contract with the WWF, so Hart would sign a deal with WCW.
As Hart was on his way out of the WWF, McMahon had to find a way to take the belt off Hart as he was the reigning WWF champion. Because of the increased personal problems with Michaels, Hart refused to drop the belt to him despite McMahon's request. McMahon became increasingly worried about Hart leaving with the title and appearing on WCW programming with the WWF title.
Eventually, it was agreed that the Survivor Series match between Hart and Michaels would end in a no-contest and Hart would forfeit the title the following night on Monday Night Raw. Hart was determined to not lose to Michaels in his home country of Canada.
There was a spot planned for the match where Michaels would put Hart in his own finishing submission hold, the sharpshooter. The match was well-planned out, especially the outcome. However, when it came time for Hart to be put in the sharpshooter, that's where it happened; The referee called for the bell to be rung (under McMahon's orders) and the match ended. McMahon had legitimately double-crossed Hart and Hart had lost the title. Shocked, angry, and betrayed, Hart got up looked at McMahon, and spat directly in his face. Hart was later confronted by McMahon in his dressing room where a scuffle took place, resulting in Hart giving McMahon a black eye.
The entire WWF roster was furious, along with several key employees who were unaware of McMahon's double-cross move. McMahon said in an interview the next night, "Bret Hart screwed Bret Hart," in a heel way, hence the start of the Mr. McMahon evil billionaire tyrant persona.
4. Buying his competition
The Monday Night Wars. The iconic moments of the 1990s as far as pro wrestling is concerned. Interesting how WCW was beating out the WWF for a period that lasted more than 80 weeks! WCW was easily beating WWF in the ratings. But in the end, WCW could not keep their reign.
January 4th, 1999 was the day the WWF finally gained the upper hand in the Monday Night Wars and never relinquished it. WCW Nitro was aired live while WWF Raw Is War was aired on a tape delay. Mick Foley under the Mankind persona won the WWF title in the main event. The match itself actually took place on December 29th, 1998, but it was aired on January 4th. Somehow, WCW became aware of the title change and made the fatal error of leaking the title change on air, resulting in over 500,000 viewers tuning to the USA network where Raw Is War was broadcasted to watch Mankind defeat The Rock for the WWF title with the help of Stone Cold Steve Austin.
WCW lost the ratings that night and never fully recovered. Nitro was at the Georgia Dome that night and Keven Nash who had recently won the WCW title from Goldberg dropped the belt to "Hollywood" Hogan in a manner that saw the reformation of the NWO. This particular stunt is known as the Finger poke of Doom. Fans were not thrilled and strongly suggested that the particular stunt was the start of WCW's downfall.
In 2001, McMahon acquired WCW and effectively ended the Monday Night Wars. In McMahon's case, he bought his competition.
5. Making the "Mr. McMahon" character brilliantly unique
When it comes to Mr. McMahon's character, there are so many great moments. When the birth of the Mr. McMahon persona took place, it was the perfect move as part of the beginnings of the attitude era. The feuds with Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, etc, the fans loved it.
During the Attitude Era, based on the wrestling storylines and content that was being produced, it was only fitting to make the Mr. McMahon character more fitting. The Mr. McMahon persona did extraordinary well during the Attitude Era and the success continued during the Ruthless Aggression Era.
Fans will never forget when Mr. McMahon introduced the KISS MY A** club in 2001. Or his feud with Donald Trump in 2007. The feud with D-Generation X in 2006. There's even the feud with Hulk Hogan in 2003. Who will ever forget the time when Mr. McMahon wrestled his daughter Stephanie in an I QUIT match?! All the high-profile feuds and storylines that Mr. McMahon was part of are all well-documented and well-remembered to this day by the fans.
Like any good WWE storyline, we will see where this will take Mr. Vince McMahon.