The WWE Chairman has repeatedly said over the years that he simply hands opportunities to WWE performers, and it is ultimately up to the men and women in WWE to “grab that brass ring” and connect with the audience.
Vince McMahon’s approach to dealing with Superstars was summed up in a 2014 interview on WWE’s website with JBL, who revealed that his boss essentially signed him over a handshake.
“He threw this contract out there for virtually no guaranteed money and said to me, ‘That contract’s not worth the paper it’s written on. All I can guarantee you is the handshake behind it.’ And that’s all I needed. I could live with that.”
While JBL went on to be hugely successful in WWE, Vince McMahon has not always accurately predicted how his new Superstars will fare in the future.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at three WWE Superstars who Vince McMahon expected to fail, as well as three he tipped to succeed.
#6 Vince McMahon expected Mick Foley to fail
In 1996, The Undertaker had established himself as one of the top babyfaces on the WWE roster. Vince McMahon constantly used The Deadman in high-profile matches and storylines, which meant he quickly ran out of heel opponents to face.
Former WWE commentator Jim Ross, who also scouted talent for the company at the time, suggested to Vince McMahon that Mick Foley could join WWE and work with The Undertaker.
“I go to Vince and say, ‘I want to hire Mick Foley.’ ‘Oh no, JR, we’re not doing that. I’m gonna go along with you on most of these things, but not that one.’” [H/T Talk Is Jericho]
Vince McMahon reluctantly agreed to hire Foley, but only because he felt it would be a good lesson for Ross when the newcomer failed in his role.
“He says, ‘Okay, here’s the deal. You hire him because I want you to know what it feels like to have your heart broken by a talent that you have great belief in. Just prepare for that. It’ll be a great lesson for you to learn, so hire him.’”
Ross added that Foley eventually won over Vince McMahon, especially during the time when his Mankind character cut unscripted promos in sit-down interviews.