Vince McMahon

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Vince didn't screw All The Tropes. All The Tropes screwed All The Tropes.

Vincent Kennedy McMahon, Jr. is a third generation wrestling promoter, chairman and CEO of WWE and patriarch of the McMahon Wrestling Family. He is also the man who revolutionized professional wrestling forever by taking the World Wrestling Federation and turning it from a regional territory into a mainstream national promotion in the mid-1980s, where it enjoyed massive success and eventually turned into the multi-billion dollar empire we now know as World Wrestling Entertainment. McMahon also has decades of on-camera experience in the promotion; first as a play-by-play announcer, and, after 1997, as the evil boss character "Mr. McMahon".

That Other Wiki has an extensive article on his life and career.

Vince McMahon provides examples of the following tropes:
  • A God Am I: Vince once started his own religion called "McMahonism" and compared himself to God during a promo he cut while inside a church.
    • Had done this earlier in the 1990s, but that only lasted for one show.
  • Abusive Parents: Vince grew up in a trailer park in North Carolina with his mother and a series of stepfathers; one was an alcoholic who regularly beat Vince with "anything he could get his hands on." Vince would later lament in a Playboy interview that he thought it was "unfortunate that he died before I could kill him. I would have enjoyed that."
    • In the same article, he talked about the fact that he was sexually abused by his mother. His upbringing seems to go a long way towards explaining his more erratic behavior (like the incest storylines he kept trying to do).
    • Meanwhile, Vince's on-screen character is himself both mentally and physically abusive towards his kids when he's really being nasty. He's even wrestled them - his son Shane numerous times, and his daughter Stephanie a few days before her Real Life wedding.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: Bubba Ray Dudley explained on an episode of WWE Story Time about the time Spike was drunk, and Shane thought it would be funny to call Vince in the middle of the night. When Spike got the phone, he went on a drunk rant until he learned that Vince was on the other end. Despite the shock of both Shane and Bubba, Vince busted out laughing.
  • Arch Enemy: Stone Cold Steve Austin, D Generation X from 2006 onwards, and anyone who dares to "cross the boss".
  • Author Appeal: It's historically known that Vince loves big, muscular men, and he will push them, regardless of talent.
    • I would say technical wrestlers are his more personal appeal, as the big men usually only get titles when they are over, and the practice pre-dates the current Vince. Solid wrestlers, though, will usually get pushed to the upper midcard. Either way, high-flyers tend to get the short end of the stick.
    • Vince's inclination towards muscular was more apparent in the 80's where they were pushed even if they had talent but were forced to hide it, (Hulk Hogan) or like some, had no (Ultimate Warrior) skill in the ring. As time went on, smaller yet more talented wrestlers were given chances. At this point, Vince tends to push charisma over everything else, in-ring talent included.
    • It has been said that, with some (but not very many) exceptions, he insists on people being of a certain height. Two-time World Heavyweight Champion Rey Mysterio, Jr. would suggest otherwise, but Mysterio is probably the second most popular wrestler in the company at the time of this writing, behind only John Cena. That being said, when WCW folded, it took his entire creative staff pushing him for him to sign Mysterio to a very low minimum guarantee.
    • Part of the "bigger guys" thing is simply that they have more of a physical presence, since it's easier to make a guy look intimidating when he's bigger or taller (and it gives the announcers a go-to factoid to repeat during a dull part in a match.) While WWE isn't filled with complete giants right now, most of the wrestlers considered "average-sized" by WWE standards (guys not pushed as giants, such as Cena, Edge, Morrison) are at least 6'2" and over 220 pounds, which is considered above average for the typical man. The only really prominent smaller guys are Mysterio and Evan Bourne, who are closer to the American average of 5'9".
    • He also has a thing for Squick storylines; his daughter Stephanie confirmed that he wanted to use her first pregnancy to push an incest storyline, with him as the father. He also OK'd the Katie Vick saga, probably the most horrible storyline to feature on a pre-watershed television programme. Made worse by the fact it was played for laughs.
  • Author Avatar: Vince's on-screen persona is just an exaggerated version of himself. or so it is claimed.
  • Bad Boss: His on-screen persona. As a heel anyway.
  • Benevolent Boss: The odd occasion he is a face however, he is usually a tough but fair Father to His Men.
  • Badass Grandpa: "It's not very often that you see a sixty-year-old man with a HERCULEAN physique like mine!"
    • Terry Funk called him "the most hardcore man in the business" because he's a multi-millionaire who doesn't need to be hit over the head with chairs week in and week out, but does so anyway to promote a story. TERRY F'N FUNK, the father of all Garbage Wrestlers.
  • Bald of Evil: After he had his head shaved by Donald Trump.
  • Becoming the Mask: It's very hard to tell where Vince McMahon, the man begins and Mr. McMahon, the character, ends.
  • Berserk Button: Don't sneeze in the proximity of the man. Just... don't.
    • It's been said that Vince gets angry when HE sneezes, as he wants to control everything and a sneeze is something he can't control.
  • Big Bad: As a Heel. On the occasions that is is a Face, he's the Big Good. Since he's the boss of the entire company both on-screen and in real life, he's one of the few people who can be BOTH the Big Good AND the Big Bad in any form of fiction. Though he plays the Big Bad a lot more often, and sometimes his face turn is just part of his Evil Plan and he's Evil All Along(such as him being the Higher Power).
  • Big "Shut Up!": He's MASTER of this trope, spewing it out to hilarious effect.
  • Born in the Wrong Century: Known to be woefully out of touch with popular culture. Metallica wanted to perform St. Anger, the theme for the 2003 Summerslam event, live at the PPV but Vince shot down the idea, not knowing how big the band was. Sacked the gimmick of Pirate Paul Burchill, as he didn't get the Jack Sparrow homage (the gimmick was dropped less than a month before the first sequel came out, which was what the gimmick was supposed to ride the coattails of). And he thought Scott Hall's catchphrases such as "Make way for the bad guy!" was of Hall's own accord.
  • Bring My Brown Pants: Vince wet his pants once after Stone Cold held a gun to his head, which turned out to be a fake gun.

Stone Cold Steve Austin: McMahon 3:16 says I just pissed my pants!

Randy Orton: "FIRE. ME. NOW."

Stephanie McMahon: "Firing you... would be too easy. We have bigger plans."

      • Justified with Orton, as he'd won the Royal Rumble and was thus promised a world title match at Wrestlemania, and had threatened to sue the WWE and get a court order to stop WrestleMania from taking place if he was fired before the event. He changed tact and started demanding he be fired after realizing how much it would hurt the McMahon family to not have the event take place.
    • Sometimes this kind of thing comes back to bite Vince and the family as a whole in the ass, such as when Randy then turned the mini-feud he had going with the McMahons around with a Evil Plan of his own in order to get his hands on the World Title, during the same storyline in which the above quotes took place!
  • Control Freak: It's been said that Vince is obsessed about keeping control over just about everything in his life, and this is probably a big reason why he doesn't push guys who made it big in other companies, as he doesn't feel comfortable putting the spotlight on guys he didn't make and therefore aren't loyal to him. He's made exceptions in the past, particularly during times when he was starting out (bringing in Hulk Hogan, who had gotten over huge in Japan and the Midwest) or when he was under the gun (bringing in Ric Flair in the early '90s, and building his company around a bunch of WCW rejects such as Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, Dustin Rhodes, and Stone Cold Steve Austin in the middle/late '90s).
    • He supports the Stop Online Piracy Act and PROTECT-IP, the Internet's ultimate Control Freak + Greed bill.
      • Understandable from a business perspective, as a large majority of WWE's income comes from pay-per-view revenues and there's no easy way to build in copy protection to television broadcasts.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: "Mr. McMahon".
    • This article points out that Vince seems to be this in real life. The article paints both Vince and head of Creative Stephanie as raging egomaniacs who rule the writing team with an iron fist and quickly throw out or bully anybody who disagrees with them. What's most telling is that WWE's turnover of new writers is astounding (fifty writers in five years, a staggering number.)
  • Cue the Flying Pigs: CM Punk getting Vince to apologize - on LIVE TELEVISION - probably caused more "OH SHIT"s from the IWC than any match, spot, promo, or otherwise in the history of the wrestling industry.
    • On the other hand, he did apologize by saying, "I APOLOGIZE, YOU SON OF A BITCH!" Punk was satisfied, and justifiably so considering it was Vincent Kennedy McMahon, but if it were an older brother apologizing to his sister, one doubts that person's parents would be impressed.
  • Cult: Vince was the "Higher Power" controlling The Undertaker's Ministry of Darkness.
  • Curb Stomp Battle: Most of Vince's fights with his wrestlers (especially his Wrestlemania matches) are this since Vince isn't a wrestler and much of his in-ring talent involves being willing to take a brutal ass-kicking.
    • Curb Stomp Cushion: Though not much on par with his employees, he can pull some nasty kicks and right hooks when given the opportunity (not to mention one mean slap), not to mention being the boss, can often apply stipulations and outside interferences in his favor, usually allowing for at least some amount of tension in his matches. His beatdown at the hands of Bret was one of the few instances he got ZERO offense whatsoever, perhaps another reason it's considered so uneventful (see below).
  • Deal with the Devil: Whenever a wrestler aligns themselves with Vince, the commentators often call it this.
  • Dirty Old Man: His affairs with Trish Stratus and Candice Michelle are only the most famous.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Like any traditional Bad Boss, he thrives on this trope. Sometimes even so much as indirectly undermining his power and logic in the slightest manner is enough to ensure you spend the usually very short remainder of your career living utter hell.
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: Throughout the 80's and more than half of the 90's he was well known to the WWF one of the ringside commentators. Not many fans knew that he was actually the Boss.
  • Enforced Method Acting: The Montreal Screwjob, oddly enough. With Vince being caught on camera yelling at the ref to ring the bell, there was no way to pretend it didn't happen in Kayfabe. Having made himself into a villain, Vince ran with it and created the "Mr. McMahon" character.
    • During his late 1998 angle with Mick Foley, Vince explicitly told Mick not to tell him what he was planning to do in their bits and that Vince would just react naturally to the stupidity. It led to some of the funniest bits ever on WWE programming.
  • Even Vince Has Standards: Granted, he maybe a Heel most of the time, but there are some actions that were he was disturbed with.
    • When Lesnar took Zack Gowen hostage and tossed him down the stairs, Vince was left with horror despite pleading with Lesnar to leave the one-legged wrestler alone and let him go.
    • When Diesel attacked Mad Dog Vachon and took his prosthetic leg in order to use it against his opponent, Vince felt that was the lowest thing he ever seen.
    • An interesting real-life case, the writers had an idea for Heidenreich to be a frozen Nazi, only to be found and managed by... of all people, Paul Heyman, who's a Jew. Vince rejected the idea right of the bat. If an idea for a gimmick for a Complete Monster is reject by Vince, who's the voice of reason, you really pushed it.
  • Evil All Along: Vince was the Higher Power of the Corporate Ministry, and his brief face run was just part of his Evil Plan to get the title off of Stone Cold Steve Austin.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Vince is a Large Ham regardless of alignment, but he really enjoys playing the evil dictator-like boss of WWE.
  • Evil Overlord
  • Evil Plan: Vince pulled quite a few of these, especially in his early days as the evil boss character. Examples include the Survivor Series 1998 screwjob (which was a Kayfabe remake of the Real Life Montreal Screwjob a year earlier), only replacing Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels with Mankind and The Rock, and the whole Ministry of Darkness / Corporate Ministry / Higher Power plot.
  • Executive Meddling: For years, Vince has taken a direct and personal hand in WWF/E booking, with extremely mixed results. Sometimes the results are great, such as when he kept Vince Russo in check during the Monday Night Wars and turned the then-floundering WWF around. And then there are the results that don't work, like the whole Katie Vick angle.
  • Face Heel Turn: Vince used the Real Life Montreal Screwjob to turn himself into the Big Bad of his own company.
  • Faux Affably Evil: After his initial Face Heel Turn following the Montreal Screwjob, Vince tried to come across as a Benevolent Boss and Reasonable Authority Figure in order to mask his true Bad Boss and Corrupt Corporate Executive self, and tried to justify his actions to the fans and employees such as Stone Cold Steve Austin. During his feud with Austin however he soon gave up on this and became the card-carrying Big Bad that he's famous for now.
  • Flanderization: Vince's character has degenerated more and more into self-parody in recent years, becoming more cartoonishly evil as time went on. By the time his feud with DX happened in 2006, Vince came across less like a serious threat and more like a Dean Wormer / Cobra Commander hybrid.
    • Vince's walk, initially it was a semi-confident stride. Now it's a full blown comical strut.
  • Foreshadowing: During the submission match between Stone Cold Steve Austin and Bret Hart at Wrestlemania 13, Jerry Lawler mentioned the possibility of Bret submitting to his own move, the Sharpshooter, in which Vince replied "Hey, it can happen!!" Guess what move was used against Bret at Survivor Series later that year when Vince called for the bell. In fact, the whole storyline leading up to WM 13 can be considered this, from Bret accusing Vince of screwing him to even shoving him down after losing a match.
  • God Is Evil: A non-God example. Since Vince is the owner of the company WWE he's pretty much responsible for WWE and everything involved in it(especially in Real Life in which he has the final say in everything that happens, including what happens In-Universe), and since he's the onscreen Evil Overlord, he's the closest to this trope that anyone is going to get in pro wrestling. Vince has lampshaded this frequently.
  • Heel: Vince McMahon is probably the quintessential heel manager.
  • Hijacked by Ganon: He turned out to be the 'Higher Power' that the Ministry of Darkness answered to, revealing that the entire Ministry of Darkness gimmick was all a scheme against Steve Austin at the expense of McMahon's own family.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard / Epic Fail: Vince tries to pull a screwjob on CM Punk to keep him from walking out of Chicago with the WWE Title…but all it does is distract John Cena, who had Punk locked in an STF for the second time in the match and thus likely poised to tap, and instead let Punk win the title. Then Vince goes on the fricking headset and calls for Alberto Del Rio, right in front of Punk, to cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase that he won that night on Punk to take the WWE title. Naturally, the only guy other than Edge who's actually cashed in on people twice would see this coming, dispatch Del Rio with a swift roundhouse kick, blow Vince a goodbye kiss on the guardrail, and run off into the throng of cheering Chicagoans with Vince's most precious title belt.
  • Honor Before Reason: If the offer sounds reasonable enough, he's willing to go along with it. McMahon was about to take action when CM Punk tried to prevent anyone seeing him breaking the stipulation during his title match against The Rock at the 2013 Royal Rumble by having the lights in the arena shut down, implying it was to allow the Shield to Triple Power Bomb The Rock into the English Announce table. However, thanks to the commentators, Punk was busted but had to have the match restart after McMahon agreed with the Rock.
  • Humiliation Conga: Seems to get humiliated annually at Wrestlemania.
  • I Call Him "Mister Happy": One hidden camera segment had Vince at a urinal, whipping it out with his famous introductory "Andre, the GIANT!" See also: Dude, Not Funny
  • I Lied: "Hey Zack Ryder, RAW's in Long Island tonight, and you've got a big night ahead! You're gonna be the star of the show out there tonight--PSYCHE! It's actually your Superstars script, buddy."
  • Insistent Terminology: "Sports Entertainment", not "Professional Wrestling".
    • Even worse, he's taken to calling it "Live Entertainment" as of 2010.
    • As Joey Styles mentioned, there's also "Superstars" and "Divas" instead of "wrestlers".
    • And instead of fans, it's the "WWE Universe".
    • When Ted Turner called Vince announcing his purchase of what became WCW, Turner said "Hey Vince, I'm in the rasslin' business!" In response, Vince said, "That's great Ted; I'm in the entertainment business."
  • Ironic Echo: "Nobody's bigger than this business." First said by Vince to John Cena, then said by Triple H to Vince as the latter was removed from a position of power in the company.
  • Jerkass: Many fans of WCW and ECW see him as this due to their treatment of the InVasion angle, his misuse of the smaller wrestlers, and various other reasons.
    • A sentiment by no means limited to fans of those two departed promotions.
    • Despite his public perception, many of his employees are quick to point out his caring and friendly nature. Mick Foley has mentioned in several of his books Vince's concern for Mick's well-being (telling after the infamous Cell match that he appreciated all Mick's done for the company but for Mick to never do something that dangerous again) and thoughtfulness over Mick's career. He also complimented Vince on allowing the book to be published with criticisms of him intact. He also stated he doesn't entirely understand why Vince doesn't show this side of him to the public world.
      • A lot of his former employees have credited him for helping get their lives back together, paying for rehab, taking care of their finances and offering them legend contracts and jobs. Even Jeff Jarrett thanked Vince and Co. for showing support for him and his family after his wife died as a result of cancer.
  • Kavorka Man: The Vince character is basically this, thanks to the aphrodisiac powers of having a Writer on Board. An illegitimate son angle had Vince confessing to losing his virginity at such a young age that everyone else in the room was creeped out.
  • Large Ham:





  • Louis Cypher: "Some say he's the devil himself." - Jim Ross
  • The Man Behind the Man: Vince was the "Higher Power" masterminding the Ministry of Darkness / Corporate Ministry.
  • Mathematician's Answer: One of his favorite ways to justify any of his actions is to say, "Because I'm Vince McMahon, damn it!"
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Nearly every Vince match is one of these. Not only does he get absolutely destroyed by whoever he's facing, but the good guy usually crosses a Moral Event Horizon in torturing him to a degree that they would lose fan support if against any other competitor. And usually, the crowd roars with approval.
    • Part of the reason Bret vs. Vince didn't work out well was probably because the Lighter and Softer approach the WWE has implemented means Bret couldn't really beat the holy hell out of Vince like Shawn Michaels or Hulk Hogan could years before. That, and Bret - having suffered a career-ending concussion and a stroke in the twelve-plus years between the Montreal Screwjob and WrestleMania 26 - was in no shape to actually wrestle. That being said, the crowd did indeed roar with approval when Bret locked in the Sharpshooter.
  • Non-Action Guy: Vince runs the ring rather than wrestling in it. While he has enough moves to throw a few effective blows and supplies well in cheap shots, he will usually either cower or get his teeth kicked in whenever forced into a legitimate match.
  • Norio Wakamoto: When WWE programming is dubbed into Japanese, they get this man to do Vince's parts.
  • Old Shame: Vince reacts badly when people mention the XFL.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: Vince at one point attempted to "kill" the WWE in 2002 with help from the New World Order. In the end Vince wound up killing the nWo instead.
  • Papa Wolf: Subverted HARD!! during the Higher Power storyline. Vince acted like this when his daughter Stephanie was threatened by The Undertaker and the Ministry of Darkness, however it was then revealed that Vince was the Higher Power who masterminded Stephanie's kidnapping all along. Since then for the most part Vince has been portrayed as a Complete Monster who treats his family cruelly - unless they're on the same side, in which case he plays this pretty straight.
    • He is most definately one in Real Life. Hurt his children, wife or company and he will make your life hell!!
  • Parody Religion: "McMahonism".
  • The Power of Hate: You gotta give credit: as malicious and brutal he is to his enemies, he is at least resilient about it. He was driven to a borderline Villainous Breakdown at the hands of D Generation X, but remained vigilant just because he was that intent on destroying them.
  • Power Stable: The Corporation, Corporate Ministry, McMahon-Helmsley Faction/Regime, and Team McMahon. There was also a tag team version of a Power Stable known as the Power Trip, which still held the WWE, Intercontinental, and Tag Team title belts at the same time despite only consisting of Stone Cold Steve Austin and Triple H.
  • Power Walk: Fans sitting in ringside seats will often bow down and "worship" him as he walks by them on his way to the ring.
  • Religion of Evil: "McMahonism". Vince was also the "Greater Power" of the Ministry.
  • The Reveal: IT'S ME AUSTIN!!!
  • Sanity Slippage: After losing the ECW Championship at One Night Stand 2007, Mr. McMahon started to behave more erratically in the following weeks that would lead to his "death" in a limousine explosion. (However, this would soon be dropped abruptly due to the real life death of Chris Benoit. Once WWE was ready to pick up the storyline again, Vince explained that it was a ruse to see what people actually thought of him, including his own family.)
  • Satan: Often called this by commentators, especially Jim Ross. At one point Ross even claimed that when Vince goes to Hell, he would quickly take it over, implying that Vince was even WORSE than Satan. Vince was also the "Higher Power" of the Ministry, a Satanic cult, and branded himself a counterpart at war with God in "McMahonism". As well, during the McMahonism storyline, Vince imitated Triple H's water-spitting entrance using holy water, then turned to his son Shane and said, "That kind of burns a little!" giving a hint of actual demonic influence.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money
  • Screw the Rules, I Make Them
  • Self-Deprecation: We're talking about a promoter who allowed himself to get his head shaved by Trump, take several wrestlers' finishers, get hit with steel chairs, have his face shoved into The Big Show and Rikishi's backsides, getting literally whipped with a belt, and allowed wrestlers to make fun of his "Stand Back" music video...
    • Of note: every WrestleMania match Vince has ever competed in has been a loss for him, with Vince himself believing that he should never be on the winning end of a feud.
    • The Monday Night Wars were finally won basically by airing Vince getting his ass kicked by Steve Austin week after week. Even when he won, he lost!
  • Shoot the Dog: How he views the Montreal Screwjob, he had to do what he had to do.
  • Smug Snake: He proudly took credit as being the one behind the NXT Riot, only for the "NXT Seven" to subsequently beat him down for the insinuation.
  • Take Over Professional Wrestling: Vince's goal was to make WWE the biggest wrestling promotion and to put rival promotions out of business. He succeeded. There are still other wrestling promotions, but none are really a serious threat to WWE.
    • Which is especially ironic, considering the Insistent Terminology entry above. In recent press releases, Vince has placed an embargo on the words "wrestling," "wrestler," "fight," and even "athlete." He tried to take over pro wrestling, and is now trying his absolute hardest to convince the world he's anything but a wrestling promoter.
  • The Three Certainties in Life: During a feud with USWA, he claimed that the three guarantees in life are Death, Taxes, and Randy Savage.
  • Villain Protagonist: Vince McMahon tends to center the show around himself and his storylines even though he's the Big Bad. His antics in 2007(Feud with Trump, ECW reign, limo explosion, illegitimate son, etc.) are just some examples.
  • Villain Song: "No Chance in Hell", which initially started as the theme song for The Corporation, and before that, the theme song for the 1999 Royal Rumble, at which Mr. McMahon assured that Steve Austin has "no chance in hell" of winning that year's Royal Rumble.
    • It also got a Dark Reprise simply known as the Corporate Ministry theme.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Vince loves this trope. see Sanity Slippage.
  • Worked Shoot: Subverted. The Montreal Screwjob was real and no one in their right minds thinks otherwise. But, since this is the internet, it still gets debated occasionally.

Vince McMahon: Bret Hart screwed Bret Hart.

    • A decade and a half later, he and Hart worked a feud against each other that had many elements of this played straight.
  • Writer on Board: It's really amazing how many angles have been written of Vince kissing, fondling, or otherwise sexually interacting with a hot Diva. It's kind funny/sad on Vince's DVD when they talk about the angle in which Vince would make out with Trish Stratus in front of his comatose wife as just something that was part of the story as if Vince had no control over that little plot development.
  • Yes-Man: Many of his critics attribute WWE's difficulties to these - Vince's former advisors who were able to say "no" to him (e.g. Pat Patterson) have all left the company, and his current crew doesn't stand up to him.
  • You Have Failed Me...: Vince has two words for those who fail him: YOOOOOUUUUU'RE FFFFFFFFFFFFFIIIIIIIIIIRRRRRRRRRRREEEEEEEEDDDD!!!!
  • Unperson: After allegations of sexual abuse against an employee, Janel Grant, were filled against Vince McMahon in January 2024, Mr. McMahon was censored in WWE 2K and no longer referred on-screen in WWE television, much like the treatment given to Chris Benoit after it was discovered his performer killed his wife and child.