Around four decades ago, Vince McMahon bought off WWE from his father and turned professional wrestling into a global phenomenon. His ultimate goal was to reach the top of the pro-wrestling mountain, and he did the same by toppling every territory that came in his way.
Over the course of several decades, Vince McMahon made lots of friends, but more enemies than one can count. His ruthless mannerisms led to WWE becoming the biggest wrestling corporation in the world, but it came with a price. McMahon's relations with several wrestling personalities deteriorated along the way, as WWE continued to rise to the top of the food chain.
When all was said and done, McMahon was the only one left at the top. At this point, he could've enjoyed watching his rivals fade into oblivion, but expanding the business has always been Vince McMahon's first priority. In an attempt to do the same, McMahon went out of his way and brought back several people whom he once shared a heated rivalry with.
Let's take a look at five wrestling personalities whose careers were saved by Vince McMahon.
#5 Paul Heyman
In addition to WWE and WCW, ECW was a silent competitor during The Attitude Era and had its own hardcore fan base.
It's no secret that WWE funded Paul Heyman's ECW back during the Monday Night Wars. This led to ECW Superstars appearing on WWE shows, and vice versa. Additionally, Vince McMahon had loaned around US$500,000 to Paul Heyman, to help with the cost of operations.
ECW died eventually and was bought off by McMahon, but Heyman never managed to pay off the loan. This didn't stop McMahon from immediately hiring Heyman after ECW folded. Vince knew that a mind of the stature of Heyman's would certainly come in handy in WWE, and he didn't regret his decision one bit.
#4 Hulk Hogan
When Hulk Hogan left for WCW, the relationship between him and Vince McMahon deteriorated drastically. Recently, Bruce Prichard talked in detail about what was Vince's reaction to Hogan abandoning WWE to switch to WCW.
When WCW died a slow death, Vince grabbed the opportunity and bought off the promotion in March 2001. Longtime fans wondered whether they would ever see Hulk Hogan again.
To everyone's surprise, Hogan, Kevin Nash, and Scott Hall were brought back to WWE TV in early 2002. This led to The Rock and Hogan squaring off in possibly the biggest dream match in WrestleMania history.
Hogan's popularity rose immediately, to the point that Vince McMahon made him WWE Champion again! Vince did another favor to Hogan last year when he reinstated Hogan back into the WWE Hall of Fame and allowed him to appear on WWE TV.
He had been removed from the promotion in 2016 after a controversial tape had emerged that showed him making racist comments.
#3 Jerry Lawler
The name of Memphis Wrestling can't be talked about without mentioning Jerry Lawler. He was the cornerstone of the promotion for years and went on to win several titles throughout his run.
When WWE came to Tennessee in 1986, Lawler wasn't keen on letting Vince use his moniker of "The King". Harley Race was using the gimmick and was being heavily promoted as such.
Lawler took Vince to court over the use of the gimmick, and ended up winning the whole thing! Surprisingly, Vince forgot the loss years later when he hired Lawler as a color commentator.
"The King" went on to announce WWE matches for over a quarter of a century and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2007. It's interesting to ponder on where Lawler would be today had he not been taken in by McMahon.
#2 Jeff Jarrett
The former TNA World Champion is no stranger to WWE fans. Jarrett left WWE in bitter terms during the late 90s. WWE's lawyers forgot to recognize that Jarrett's contract was expiring, which led to him holding Vince up for an undisclosed amount of money to wrestle his final WWE match.
Sources say that the amount was US$300,000, but Jarrett admitted once that he only received stock options as a part of the deal. Years later, Jarrett started TNA, which garnered its own fan base and became an alternative to WWE for many.
Despite all of this, Vince McMahon welcomed him back to WWE with open arms, and Jarrett was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2018. Later, he was signed as a backstage producer. After his "Global Force Wrestling" project failed gloriously, this job came in as a boon for Jarrett.
#1 Eric Bischoff
There wasn't anyone else who would've topped this list! Eric Bischoff is the guy who went out of his way to make sure that WWE would become a part of history.
Backed by Ted Turner's money, Bischoff brought in WCW Monday Nitro as a direct competitor to WWE's Raw. This led to the dawning of quite possibly the most exciting era in the history of professional wrestling.
For a period of more than 80 weeks, Nitro beat Raw in weekly ratings, and there were times when it seemed as if WWE would be bought off by the competition. Ultimately, Vince McMahon emerged victoriously and bought WCW.
A year later, he brought in Eric Bischoff as the GM of Monday Night Raw, to the absolute shock of the wrestling world. The image of Vince raising Bischoff's hand up in the air has now become an iconic still.