On-screen, it is important for WWE Superstars to create interesting characters and catchphrases that the WWE Universe can connect with. Off-screen, it is just as important that the men and women of WWE form a good relationship with the company’s top decision-maker, Vince McMahon, behind the scenes.
Given that Vince McMahon has worked with hundreds of WWE Superstars and thousands of employees, it is only natural that he has had his fair share of differences with some big names over the years.
In this article, let’s take a look at five WWE Superstars who Vince McMahon had a complicated relationship with.
#5 Vince McMahon had a complicated relationship with Jeff Jarrett
Vince McMahon booked Jeff Jarrett in a WWE Intercontinental Championship match against Chyna at the WWE No Mercy pay-per-view in October 1999.
The problem, however, was that Jarrett’s WWE contract came to an end just one day before No Mercy, which meant he had to negotiate a new deal to appear at the PPV.
It has been speculated for many years that Jarrett held Vince McMahon up for $300,000, but the former WWE Superstar clarified in a 2020 interview with talkSPORT that the figure also included bonuses from the months leading up to his exit.
Jarrett, who immediately left WWE and joined WCW after losing to Chyna, was singled out by Vince McMahon on the WWE RAW/WCW Nitro simulcast in March 2001 after the WWE Chairman completed his purchase of WCW.
“As far as the Jeff Jarretts of the world are concerned, you know how Jeff spells his name: that’s J-E, double F. Well, you know what? I would suspect that we spell it a different way after tonight. That would be capital G, double O, double N, double E. Gone.”
As is often the case with Vince McMahon, he made amends with Jarrett several years later.
The six-time WWE Intercontinental Champion was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2018.
#4 Vince McMahon had a complicated relationship with The Ultimate Warrior
The relationship between Vince McMahon and The Ultimate Warrior got off to a good start in the late 1980s/early 1990s.
Warrior held the WWE Intercontinental Championship on two occasions before defeating Hulk Hogan for the WWE Championship in the main event of WrestleMania VI in April 1990.
Unfortunately, Warrior’s relationship with Vince McMahon began to sour in 1991.
Six weeks before SummerSlam 1991, Warrior sent a letter to Vince McMahon threatening to no-show the event if various financial demands were not met in his new contract.
As Vince McMahon did not want to jeopardize the SummerSlam main event (Hulk Hogan & Warrior vs. Sgt. Slaughter, General Adnan & Colonel Mustafa), he agreed to Warrior’s demands before suspending him after the show.
Warrior went on to return to WWE in 1992 and 1996 but both comebacks were short-lived.
In 2005, WWE released a derogatory documentary about Warrior, titled The Self-Destruction of The Ultimate Warrior, in which he was portrayed in a negative light by many of his former WWE colleagues.
Warrior ultimately reconciled with Vince McMahon before receiving his induction into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2014.
#3 Vince McMahon had a complicated relationship with Bret Hart
“Vince and me have always had our issues in life, and we’ll always be tied in with the Screwjob and what happened there and it was an unfortunate circumstance for both of us, but I think they were wrong and I was right. That’s just my opinion. I always had a father-son relationship with Vince.” [H/T 411mania]
Of course, the Montreal Screwjob altered that relationship forever.
Heading into Survivor Series, Hart was under the impression that he was going to lose to Shawn Michaels via disqualification, meaning he would retain the WWE Championship.
However, as Hart was set to join WCW after the event, Vince McMahon was afraid that The Hitman would show up on Nitro with the WWE Championship.
As a result, Vince McMahon changed the outcome of the match without Hart knowing. Instead of a DQ finish, referee Earl Hebner was ordered to award the victory to Michaels after he locked in the sharpshooter on Hart, even though his opponent did not submit.
The Canadian Superstar found Vince McMahon backstage after the show and legitimately knocked him out cold.
Hart, who made up with Vince McMahon in 2002 after he suffered a stroke, made a brief in-ring return in 2010.
His comeback even included a win over the WWE Chairman in an 11-minute match at WrestleMania 26.
#2 Vince McMahon had a complicated relationship with Steve Austin
Many of Vince McMahon’s complicated relationships revolve around one particular incident.
In Stone Cold Steve Austin’s case, that incident occurred in June 2002 when he refused to show up to an episode of WWE RAW after being booked to lose a King of the Ring qualifier against Brock Lesnar.
While The Texas Rattlesnake was happy to put the up-and-coming Superstar over, he did not want the match to take place on free television with no storyline build-up.
Austin no-showed that episode of RAW and he did not speak to Vince McMahon or appear in WWE again for over six months.
In the end, Jim Ross – Austin’s close friend and McMahon’s long-time employee – played peacemaker to bring the two men back together.
Speaking on The Stone Cold Podcast on the WWE Network in 2014, Austin revealed that Vince McMahon initially fined him $650,000 for walking out on the company. However, that amount was later decreased to $250,000.
Nowadays, Austin has a good relationship with Vince McMahon again. The WWE Hall of Famer currently hosts his own interview series, Broken Skull Sessions, on the WWE Network.
#1 Vince McMahon had a complicated relationship with Bruno Sammartino
After Bruno Sammartino officially retired for the second time in 1987, he let it be known on various talk shows and radio stations that he did not like the direction that WWE was going in under Vince McMahon.
Sammartino, who previously worked for Vince McMahon Sr., held the WWE Championship (then known as the WWWF Championship) on two occasions between 1963-1971 and 1973-1977, making him the longest-reigning holder of the title in WWE history (4,040 days).
Following his return to WWE as a color commentator and occasional in-ring performer in 1984, Sammartino noticed that many of Vince McMahon’s Superstars were involved with drugs and steroids.
The Italian-American did not like the environment that Vince McMahon created – so much so that he refused to travel with his fellow Superstars in case any of them were caught with drugs in their possession.
Sammartino, who left the wrestling business in 1988, repeatedly refused to be inducted into Vince McMahon’s WWE Hall of Fame.
In 2013, the two-time WWE Champion finally accepted a WWE Hall of Fame induction after he was made aware of the positive changes that WWE had made, both on-screen and off-screen.
Although Triple H is the person who built bridges between Sammartino and WWE, Vince McMahon also reconciled with the 2013 WWE Hall of Famer.