Back in the '90s, Vince McMahon turned from a generic babyface commentator to an evil authority figure who would stoop to any lengths to get his way with his employees. The heel turn took shape when Bret Hart snapped on Vince in an episode of Raw. Months later, Vince McMahon successfully executed one of the most notorious schemes in the history of professional wrestling, when he tricked Bret Hart in his home country and helped Shawn Michaels win the WWE title at Survivor Series 1997. The incident is famously referred to as the 'Montreal Screwjob' . Later, McMahon got into a rivalry with Stone Cold Steve Austin, regarded by many as the greatest feud in all of pro-wrestling.
More than two decades later, Vince McMahon's name is mentioned somewhere on top when one thinks of the greatest villains in wrestling. But there have been a bunch of rare moments when Vince played the part of a babyface to perfection, or broke kayfabe to praise a Superstar, garnering the sympathy and love of the fans. Let's take a look at 5 such moments:
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#5 Vince consoles Stephanie
One of the most controversial storylines during the Attitude Era saw Vince McMahon being hounded by The Undertaker and The Ministry of Darkness. This was when Stephanie McMahon was introduced to the fans as a "sweet, innocent girl" who was kidnapped by the notorious faction. At one point during the angle, Stephanie can be seen stating that the only place she feels safe is when she's with her father. This also led to McMahon's rivalry with Austin being cooled off for a while.
This series of incidents led to fans getting behind Vince like they had never before. His "loving father figure" persona garnered an incredibly positive reaction from the WWE Universe. This didn't last long though, as McMahon was later revealed to be the higher power and the mastermind behind the entire angle.
The Attitude era saw the WWE face a major ratings struggle against competition brand WCW. They pulled out all the stops to ensure that they stayed neck and neck with Bischoff's brand. Mr McMahon put himself and his family in the thick of things and built credible storylines to ensure that the WWE came out on top.
Controversial or not, the storyine involving the Billion dollar princess did what it was meant to do.
Mr McMahon's famously notorious line: "It's me, Austin!, it was me all along" emerged from the above mentioned storyline only.
#4 Vince and the McMahon family vows for a change
By the end of 2018, the WWE Universe had grown tired of Baron Corbin and his antics as the General Manager of Monday Night Raw. A huge drop in weekly TV ratings forced the McMahon family to address the fans on an episode of Raw.
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Vince came out first, followed by Stephanie, Triple H, and Shane McMahon. The family addressed the issues the fans had been having with Monday Night Raw, and promised that change is coming. The McMahons took control of both shows and stated that the WWE Universe will be the authority going forward.
Corbin was removed from his authority position, and the crowd reaction throughout this segment made it clear that the fans were incredibly happy with the McMahon family. Usually, the McMahon family is portrayed as heels on TV, but this was one of those rare occasions when they received the biggest pop of the night.
Yet another masterstroke from Vince McMahon to keep the WWE universe hooked.
#3 Vince assists Triple H against Legacy
The road to WrestleMania 25 saw Randy Orton getting into a feud with the McMahon family. Orton not only attacked Vince McMahon, but he also disclosed that he suffered from "Intermittent Explosive Disorder", and threatened to sue the McMahons for knowing about the condition and doing nothing about it.
Orton went on to attack Shane McMahon and Stephanie McMahon, and was scheduled to fight Triple H for the WWE title at WrestleMania. The go-home show of Raw saw Triple H getting help from Vince and Shane to fend off The Legacy, consisting of Orton, Cody Rhodes, and Ted Dibiase. The trio managed to put down security personnel and proceeded to engage in a brawl with the villains, receiving a big pop from the crowd in the process.
The execution of the segment is what makes the WWE such a treat to watch. Vince made his way down to the ring to a huge pop, followed by his son Shane. McMahon could be seen removing his blazer and folding his cuffs, indicating that he was in for a fight. The crowd lost it when Triple H next came onboard and the trio proceeded to attack whatever moved.
Even though Vince labored his way to attack Dibiase, it made for a splendid television viewing.
Vince again nailed the role of a fatherly figure, who would go to any lengths to save his family.
#2 WWE vs The Alliance
Mere days before WrestleMania 17, Vince McMahon bought off WCW, marking an end to possibly the greatest era in professional wrestling history. Soon after WrestleMania, a storyline kicked off between WWE and a band of Superstars whom the company had acquired after the demise of WCW and ECW. The angle ran for months, and saw Vince McMahon desperately trying to save WWE, gaining the love and support of the fans in the process.
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The Alliance, with Stephanie and Shane as its leaders, was hell-bent on taking over WWE, and the fans were having none of it. At Survivor Series, Vince McMahon's WWE defeated The Alliance, when The Rock pinned Stone Cold Steve Austin in the closing moments of the traditional 5-on-5 Survivor Series match. This babyface run didn't last long, as Vince soon turned into a full-fledged heel again and brought back the character of the evil authority figure.
'The Invasion' angle will always remain WWE's greatest coup and they managed to pull it off with some style.
#1 Vince joins the Ric Flair career celebration
At WrestleMania 24, Ric Flair faced Shawn Michaels with the stipulation that Flair would retire if he lost the match. After Michaels defeated Flair, the legendary superstar retired from WWE, bidding farewell to the fans. The next night on Raw, WWE went out of its way to give an incredible send-off. The celebration saw Triple H bringing out Flair's family and a bunch of legends from the past, with many of them being Flair's close friends.
This was followed by the entire WWE roster coming out on the ramp and applauding Flair for his contributions to the company. Mr. McMahon himself came out during the closing moments and embraced Flair to a huge ovation. This was one of those rare moments where McMahon broke kayfabe to heap praise on a legend who was deserving of the same, and the crowd loved every bit of it.
The Nature Boy deserved a fitting farewell and the WWE ensured that right from the get go.