No one embodies the spirit of professional wrestling more than Vincent Kennedy McMahon. In fact, some may even go as far as to say that Vince McMahon is professional wrestling. As the inventor of the iconic Hulkamania and WrestleMania, he is the purveyor of the term sports entertainment. The head of the WWE risked everything, including personal financial ruin, to usher in the global sports entertainment company that is the WWE.
Plagued by critics and haters alike, three and a half decades after the very first WrestleMania, McMahon stands tall. He is the primary force behind the WWE's global expansion and the unquestioned leader behind what is now a publicly traded company and bonafide world-wide success.
Still, even self-made billionaires have their odd quirks and this article exposes some of them. What is Vince McMahon really like behind closed doors when the Mr. McMahon character retires and Vince comes out to play? We take a look at four shocking things you didn't know about Vincent Kennedy McMahon.
#4. Vince McMahon is the Million Dollar Man
After he earned success in Midsouth Wrestling, the WWE showed a great deal of interest in Ted DiBiase, but, in the 1980s Vince McMahon did everything big. It was the era of the wrestling character who lived over the top gimmicks that more resembled a comic book come to life than the professional wrestlers of the golden era.
Ted DiBiase was no longer going to simply be Ted DiBiase. Instead, he would metamorphose into the Million Dollar Man, a snotty rich villain that held anyone with less money in great contempt. DiBiase would live the gimmick. Vince wouldn't have it any other way. Now the Million Dollar Man, DiBiase would wear only the finest clothes, eat at the best restaurants, stay exclusively at five star hotels, and travel in expensive limousines. One of DiBiase's most villainous attributes was his hatred for the poor. In fact, he would often attempt to purchase loyalty or have the less fortunate participate in humiliating acts just to prove that, "Everybody has a price."
While DiBiase's character was certainly over as one of the top heels in wrestling history (fans loathed him in the 1980s) the Million Dollar Man was based on none other than Vince McMahon himself. Vince gave DiBiase the character, not only because he knew it would be a resounding success; but, because he wanted to live vicariously through DiBiase.
Former WWE writer Bruce Prichard recounted an earlier time when he and Vince were traveling together via an airplane. There was a fellow passenger sitting near Vince. It was the 1980s, so the passenger was allowed to smoke, which was increasingly irritating McMahon. Rather than risk a criminally punishable offense, the temperamentally inclined McMahon turned to an obvious tactical advantage: his money. He asked the passenger how much it would take to get him to put out his cigarette, but, the passenger continued to refuse Vince's overtures.
McMahon's financial number continued to increase until the passenger finally obliged and made a small fortune in the process. McMahon's frequent use of capital as leverage and a means of control over others became the impetus for The Million Dollar Man character.