Stephanie McMahon inherited the WWE from her father, Vince McMahon after he announced his retirement in July 2022. Stephanie is now the WWE Chairwoman and Co-CEO of the organization, alongside Nick Khan. Her husband, Paul "Triple H" Levesque is the WWE’s Chief Content Officer and Head of Creative.
Behind the scenes, you may be surprised to learn that there are more than a handful of stories involving The Billion Dollar Princess that fans have yet to hear about. Stephanie is also responsible for the creation of a popular WWE match concept and a persona that defined the “Ruthless Aggression” era.
Without further ado, let’s look at five backstage stories about Stephanie McMahon you need to know
#5. Stephanie had a hand in creating the Money in the Bank concept
As the story goes, the Money in the Bank concept was created prior to WrestleMania 21 as a brainstorming idea created by former WWE Superstar Chris Jericho and WWE Head Creative Writer, Brian Gewirtz.
After the idea of how the match would be presented and executed, it came down to Stephanie McMahon to make the final decision to have the match.
The WWE Co-CEO commented on how the idea came to fruition on WWE Backstage. She said:
“Just before WrestleMania 21, which we call WrestleMania goes to Hollywood, so I would not be able to return to television events. I had to step forward and help fill that empty role. I remember we had a brainstorming session with all the Money in the Bank wrestling competitors and yes, they were actually telling me, 'This is the idea, this is what we want to do and we want to do it at WrestleMania. So I approved it and that's the story behind the fight in Money in the Bank.”
Edge would go on to win the first ever Money in the Bank at WrestleMania 21 that year.
#4. Was originally going to date Kurt Angle in a storyline
Most wrestling fans may recall the love triangle storyline in 2000 between Triple H, Kurt Angle, and Stephanie McMahon. The storyline ultimately ended with The Game and The Billion Dollar Princess remaining together as an on-screen couple, despite some friction due to some feelings that had developed between Angle and Stephanie.
The idea was originally going to lead to Stephanie McMahon having an affair with Angle, which would allow for Triple H to turn babyface. The King of Kings was against the idea and fought it. The Olympic Gold Medalist commented on the storyline on his The Kurt Angle Show podcast, as he said:
"I think they were trying things. I don't think they had any plans for Stephanie and I to get together yet. It was a couple more months before they seriously considered for us to get into that angle. But at that point in time, I don't think they had plans. They were just putting feelers out." [From 0:51 to 1:10]
Angle added that he and Steph spoke about doing an over-the-top finish that would have the two rolling around on the mat, hugging each other, etc. but those plans were scrapped.
This would have made for an interesting story had WWE gone in the opposite direction, given both Stephanie McMahon and Kurt Angle nuclear heat with the WWE Universe while making Triple H into a top babyface.
#3. Turned down Vince’s idea to have her wedding with Triple H aired on Pay-Per-View
Triple H and Stephanie McMahon were married in real life in October 2003. In various interviews and past WWE documentaries, both Triple H and the Billion Dollar Princess have admitted that Vince suggested the idea of them airing their wedding live on pay-per-view. They felt the idea was crazy and rejected the idea.
Stephanie McMahon commented on the idea in a segment from the WWE documentary: “McMahon” (2006).
"My dad approached me with the idea of putting my wedding on pay-per-view. He was serious. Even though he said it in his typical, joking manner. There are some things are just personal and private that don't belong on television." [From 0:00 to 0:40]
In the same documentary, Triple H also spoke about the proposed idea:
"I remember having the conversation with Vince. We're all sitting together and he looks up, dead serious and was like: 'Sh*t! If we're going to do something like this we might as well put it on pay-per-view.' I just looked at him and said, 'No! Not even a remote chance of that happening on television.'" [From 0:10 to 0:45]
This was one of the few times that Stephanie rejected an idea from her father.
#2. Many creative disputes with Paul Heyman
There’s no secret that Paul Heyman and The WWE Co-CEO have had a tumultuous relationship behind closed doors. While their working relationship has changed quite a bit, over a decade ago it was a different story.
"When I had the confrontation with Stephanie McMahon - and I know that there's a lot of people out there saying, 'Oh, everything Stephanie said she meant and it was real' - I hope so! I would want it to be that way. I wouldn't want it to be any other way because if she's going to deliver - and she delivered her message phenomenally - that's great. It's riveting. This is my goal. We did a segment on television on RAW 1000 and I can't imagine that you'll ever have a career retrospective on Stephanie McMahon and not include that clip. If it takes Steph using her personal feelings about me to bring it, then bring it! I hope she meant every word that she said." [H/T: Cageside Seats]
Fortunately, their relationship has improved quite a bit, as the two have become good friends over the years. The combined forces of Stephanie McMahon, Triple H, and Paul Heyman may be more than enough to carry WWE into the next generation.
#1. Stephanie McMahon convinced John Cena to start his “Dr. of Thuganomics” Character
Before John Cena became a huge megastar for WWE, he struggled to find his place in WWE. He made his humble WWE debut in 2002 and came off as a cookie-cutter young rookie with potential but no real direction.
Cena was randomly doing some freestyling on a tour bus during one of WWE’s overseas tours in the United Kingdom. The Billion Dollar Princess overheard Cena’s rap and instantly knew that he had a god-given talent that could work on WWE television.
Cena recalled his struggles during the WWE Ruthless Aggression documentary, as The Champ spoke about he began freestlying with the boys and that Stephanie overheard his rapping. He said:
"Stephanie [McMahon] just happened to be in the front of the bus. On the way out, she asked 'how did I remember all that?'. Cena replied: 'You don't remember it. It's freestyle! That's how you do it'. We were walking to our flight to reach our next destination. She had a can of tuna fish and asked me to rhyme about this. In two seconds, I made a rap about tuna fish and closed with a comment on Stephanie. She asked if I would like to do this on television? I said, 'absolutely!'". [From 1:37 to 2:17]
She convinced Cena to present that side of his personality on WWE television and see how it would get over with the fans. Sure enough, the idea worked to absolute perfection as Cena started his “Dr. of Tuganomics” gimmick that would lead him to become a megastar in WWE for years to come.