Vincent Kennedy McMahon (which is how you are legally required to type his name the first time you mention him in an article like this) is, and probably always will be, the most complex person in the history of professional wrestling. He can be notoriously petty, like when he called out Jeff Jarrett on the Raw/Nitro simulcast. He can also be incredibly kind, like when he had Jarrett put into the WWE Hall of Fame over 20 years later, but even brought him on as a producer.
In his book "Have a Nice Day! A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks" Mick Foley recounts a conversation he had with fellow WWE Hall of Famer Terry Funk, regarding the hiring of another wrestler who didn't seem to be offering anything to the company. Foley suggested WWE let this performer go and cut their losses.
"Mick," Funk replied, "sometimes Vince does things just to be nice."
To be fair, a lot of the altruistic stuff WWE does is also (but not just - we're not that cynical) for P.R. reasons. And there's nothing wrong with that, either. In our view, if WWE is doing something to help someone else, we don't care if they're also getting good press for it.
Every now and then, though, you'll hear about something nice that Vince and his company does for someone else, and they don't even mention it themselves. They do it, as it was said, to be nice.
We'd like to put a spotlight on those times. Now, these aren't based on rumors - these are all things that have been publicly acknowledged by a third party in one way or another, or if a WWE official was quoted about it in a news story.
Sometimes it's just nice to read about something nice every once in a while, you know?
#5. WWE pays for rehab for any wrestler who has ever worked for them
So, this one is sort of a cheat, as it's a part of their Wellness Program, and it sort of falls under that "they do it to be nice and for P.R." kind of things. But they've done it to help so many people, and they've spent a lot of money doing it - and it's something that, if they didn't do it, nobody would even bat an eye.
In 2007, WWE sent a letter to formerly booked WWE talent, on WWE stationary, and signed by Vince himself. You can read a transcript of the letter here (h/t to Mandatory), but here are some portions of it:
"WWE is willing to pay for drug and/or alcohol rehabilitation... for any performer with a prior WWE booking contract who may need this service. WWE will pay for this service in full... There is no cost to you or your family. Help will be provided regardless of the circumstances of your departure from the WWF or the amount of time you performed for the WWE."
The letter also goes on to state that WWE will also pay, in full, the cost for any intervention services the family of an affected talent might need if the said talent is in denial.
Since then, they have paid for rehab services for former performers such as Scott Hall, Maven, Justin Credible, and Jeff Jarrett.
WWE has acknowledged they provided the service, but have not made it officially public.
Even though this might look good for PR, the fact remains that there are many wrestlers both former and current who have battled addictions over the years owing to the side effects of being a part of this challenging industry.
#4 Vince pays to have Harley Race flown to a medical facility
It's recent news, but it's worth mentioning.
As you have no doubt heard by now, WWE Hall of Famer and former 8-time NWA World Champion Harley Race passed away recently. What hadn't been made public until recently was what WWE did to help the legend have a few more days to spend with his friends and family.
According to former WWE talent and Harley Race trainee Trevor Murdoch, Vince paid for a medical flight to a facility in his home of St. Louis - and didn't even hesitate when asked.
Race only worked for the WWE for a few years and spent most of his career wrestling in competing promotions. Still, based on this, the WWE chairman clearly held a lot of esteem for the wrestling legend.
McMahon has always backed the old school of wrestling and has done his part in coming to the aid of yesteryear performers.
In fact, he seems to have a soft spot for a lot of legends...
#3. Vince personally loans Ric Flair money
"Nature Boy" Ric Flair is nearly as well known for his poor handling of money as he was for his amazing handling of opponents in the ring. According to his own admission, he spent a fortune trying to maintain the lavish lifestyle he portrayed on television. That, and a number of divorces under his belt, has led to a lot of financial trouble over the years.
“He’s always been there. When I’ve had financial woes, through my divorces, he’s lent me money... One time, I was into him for $800,000... He said, ‘I wouldn’t lend my kid this kind of money.’" - Transcript by Complex.com
Flair said he always paid the money back, including using his WrestleMania XXIV check to pay off the aforementioned $800 grand.
It just goes to show you how far McMahon will go to help someone he respects in need.
#2. Vince writes a touching letter to Jim Ross during a trying time
Vince McMahon hasn't always been the nicest to legendary announcer Jim Ross over the years. From making him join the "Kiss My Ass Club", to mocking him personally on live TV, all the way to making him introduce the Fake Diesel and Razon Ramon back in the 90s - Vince has been anything but pleasant to JR.
According to a segment in J.R.'s autobiography, Slobberknocker, he also loves the guy to death.
In 1998, J.R. was hit with a double whammy of bad luck. Not only had his mother passed away, but he also suffered another attack of Bell's Palsy, a nerve condition that completely numbed one side of his face. All of this caused a severe attack of depression and took some time off from work. He was seriously in a really bad way.
Then, he received this letter from Vince:
It’s not the number of times you get knocked down in life that counts. What counts is the number of times you get the f*** back up. So get the f*** back up! Give the Stone Cold hand sign to everyone who wants you to stay down. Use the love, respect, admiration, strength, and will of your friends and family to bolster your spirit, restore your confidence, and help you face the challenges of the future.
You have come a long way, JR. You’ve earned a great deal of respect and admiration from family, friends, and foes. However, “that was yesterday.” I need you, your family needs you, your company needs you to help carry the WWF into the future, black hat and all.
JR you have my utmost respect, appreciation, and love!
Your friend, Vince.
P.S. There are 5,000 reasons for you to celebrate this Christmas in an envelope on my desk, which will be presented to you on your first day back at the office.
It's a touching moment that shows that no matter how much of a jerk McMahon can be sometimes, even to his friends, he'll always support them when they need it the most.
Jim Ross has a fair share in making the WWE the brand it is today. From being a color commentator to a talent manager, he has donned multiple hats for Vince and co. Despite sharing a blow hot blow cold type of relationship with the boss, JR got the support he needed when he required it the most.
#1 Vince promotes Mick Foley's new book... while Foley is still in TNA
Mick Foley has probably done more to himself physically to help WWE than probably any wrestler ever.
See? That's just one example.
Still, sometimes people need a change of scenery and, in 2008, Foley left the WWE (due to "creative frustrations") and joined Total Nonstop Action Wrestling. He was there until 2011, where he even had a short reign with the TNA World Championship.
In 2010, he wrote and released a new memoir, Countdown to Lockdown: A Hardcore Journal, recalling his preparation for a steel cage match with Sting.
That same year, WWE.com - yes, WWE.com - did an interview with Foley, conducted by Joey Styles, to promote the book. Even more surprisingly, McMahon had announcer Michael Cole plug the book as well, live on air, during an episode of Raw.
All while he was working with a rival brand.
Mick Foley would eventually return to WWE in 2011, even participating in the 2012 Royal Rumble, and was eventually inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2013.
It just goes to show you that Vince doesn't always hold grudges.