5 Stars Vince McMahon Fought Then Made Amends With
Vince McMahon has reigned as the head supremo of WWE since 1982 when he took over the family business from his father, Vince McMahon Sr.
The junior McMahon had grand ideas for the company, far beyond what his father would ever have considered.
McMahon was not satisfied with running a regional promotion; WWE at that point had primarily promoted in the North East area with New York and Madison Square Garden being the hub of all its major shows.
Its main competitors at that time were the National Wrestling Alliance, which at one point WWE was a member of along with most regional promotions across the United States, but now was primarily a hotbed for Southern-based promotions, the mid-western, American Wrestling Association and Texas-based World Class Championship Wrestling.
All suffered at the hands of McMahon's expansion as the WWE boss signed away all their top stars. AWA owner, Verne Gagne was so enraged by McMahon's signing of his star, Hulk Hogan that he offered then-WWE Champion, The Iron Sheik a large pay off if he broke Hogan's leg in their title match wherein Hogan was booked to become McMahon's World Champion and the face of his soon-to-be national promotion.
Sheik declined Gagne's offer and the title switch went ahead as planned. Hogan became the biggest star wrestling had ever seen and launched WWE into the consciousness of a worldwide mainstream audience.
With Hogan, McMahon had the template he wanted in a superstar. Tall, muscular and charismatic, the Hulkster was the embodiment of WWE.
However, the Hogan relationship would eventually turn sour which became a recurring pattern for McMahon and his major stars over the ensuing decades.
McMahon fell out with a large list of his stars, but inevitably made up with them, when there was money to be made.
SK looks at five such superstars that have fallen out with the WWE boss but later made amends.
#5 Brock Lesnar
Brock Lesnar was Vince McMahon's dream wrestler. He had the size, strength and legitimate wrestling skill to make McMahon lots and lots of money as his company's top star.
So high in regard was Lesnar held by McMahon, that a rocket was strapped to his back and he was pushed harder and faster than any star in company history.
Three months after his WWE debut, Lesnar was King of the Ring and five months after his debut, he was WWE Champion, defeating the promotion's biggest star, The Rock in the main event of SummerSlam 2002. Lesnar became the youngest World Champion in company history.
For the next two years, Lesnar was the number one star in the promotion. However, five days prior to WrestleMania XX on March 9, 2004, Lesnar stunned McMahon by handing in his notice. Following his WrestleMania bout with Goldberg on March 14, he was leaving, for good.
McMahon, understandably, was aghast. Five days notice was an insult. The only satisfaction the WWE boss could take was that Lesnar was leaving to attempt to make it as a professional Football player in the NFL. It was a pipe dream. However, Lesnar did come awful close to making his dream a reality but was cut by the Minnesota Vikings' preliminary squad, later that year.
In a bind, particularly as he had signed a 10 year no compete clause in order to get released from his WWE deal, Lesnar had little alternative source of income, other than to approach WWE for a job once more in 2005.
It didn't work out. Atypically, WWE announced it had held talks with Lesnar on its website, confident their former star would return. However, Lesnar wanted to work a part-time schedule and would not yield to WWE's demands that he work something akin to full time.
Lesnar instead approached lawyers who successfully overturned the no-compete clause deeming it unrealistic and unlawful. To McMahon's fury, Lesnar then penned a deal to work with top Japanese wrestling company, New Japan where he would reign as their Heavyweight Champion.
Much to McMahon's chagrin, Lesnar's fame increased further, when he joined UFC and became their Heavyweight Champion as well. For a man who yearned to be considered in the same high regard as other legitimate sports' promoters, it was nothing short of massive irritation to McMahon that the Lesnar celebrity athlete he had created was now the biggest draw in MMA history and making a competitor bucketloads of money.
Lesnar's betrayal as McMahon saw it, led to a change in WWE booking. WWE no longer strapped the rocket to young, unproven stars, fearful they would use the company to make their name and leave to earn more money elsewhere, leading to the 50/50 booking conundrum WWE fans are forced to endure today where few stars are more over than their peers as wrestlers repeatedly exchange wins, severely hindering star creation.
In 2012, McMahon was forced to swallow his pride and invite his former Champion back on Lesnar's own terms which was for even fewer dates than he had been demanding seven years earlier.
McMahon, in 2018 is content with this of course. Lesnar brings him lots of money and greater mainstream credibility. McMahon loves to do business with Lesnar, now the commodity is once more his.