This past Friday, Vince McMahon surprised the wrestling world by announcing his retirement, ending a multi-decade run as the Chairman and CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment.
Over the past two days, there have been many articles written about Vince McMahon as both a businessman and a pioneer who revolutionized the industry. But for fans who grew up in the 1970s through the late 1990s, Vince McMahon was the voice of the company.
As the lead play-by-play announcer for WWE for over 20 years, Vince is often overlooked as one of the top commentators in the business.
While fans often criticized his lack of knowledge when it came to the names of the wrestling moves and opting to simply scream phrases like "what a maneuver," they should agree that his passion for extolling the virtues of the babyface talent and expressing outrage at the antics of the heels cannot be overlooked.
To complement all of the articles detailing Vince McMahon's contributions to the wrestling business, the following list looks at five memorable moments of Vince McMahon behind the commentary desk. Many of these helped create the soundtrack to WWE's most iconic moments and are remembered fondly to this day.
#5. Vince McMahon makes a legendary call
On March 31, 1996, Bret Hart defended the then-WWF Championship against Shawn Michaels in arguably one of the greatest matches in WWE history.
Presented as a one-hour "Iron Man" match, the bout began slowly, building to an action-packed sequence down the stretch. By the time the hour expired, neither wrestler had won a fall, forcing the match to go into a "sudden death" overtime period. In the end, Michaels emerged victorious, winning the title.
For Hart and Michaels, the challenge was to tell a compelling story for over an hour. Vince was tasked with keeping his energy level up while telling the story of what a win would mean for both.
One of the key points was that winning the title was a dream for Michaels as a child. As the match progressed, Vince would excitedly yell at every two-count as the action intensified. Then, during overtime, Michaels finally connected with his finisher, Sweet Chin Music, to which Vince screamed, "He got all of it!"
As an emotional Michaels celebrated after the bell, Vince exclaimed, "The boyhood dream has come true!" This has become one of the most iconic calls in WWE history, used in many video packages and promotional pieces over the years.
Vince should be credited for the excitement and passion in the delivery of that phrase and throughout the entire match.
#4. Twin referee drama
On February 5, 1988, WWE presented its first national prime-time special on NBC, "The Main Event." The show featured a highly-anticipated rematch from WrestleMania III when Hulk Hogan defended the WWE Championship against Andre the Giant.
The match finish included one of the most memorable storylines in WWE history when it was revealed that the assigned referee, Dave Hebner, had been replaced by his twin brother Earl. Additionally, Earl made a deal with Andre's manager Ted Dibiase to cost Hogan the title.
When the two brothers came face-to-face, McMahon expressed outrage and confusion, repeatedly asking his partner Jesse Ventura who the real Dave Hebner was. His commentary added to an angle that is still remembered and talked about to this day.
#3. Macho Man injures Ricky Steamboat
In November 1986, WWE presented a rare Intercontinental Championship match on its weekly syndicated program, "Superstars," with "Macho Man" Randy Savage defending the title against Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat.
The match ended with Savage winning by a countout when he draped Steamboat's throat over the steel barricade and came off the top rope with a flying axhandle. He followed this up with a second top-rope strike, hitting Steamboat in the throat with the ring bell.
As Steamboat sold the injury and struggled to breathe, Vince began to panic, yelling for the paramedics to come to the ring and exclaiming that Steamboat was "trying to swallow his tongue."
McMahon's grave tone as this angle played out on television screens across the globe helped launch this feud. It ultimately led to a big showdown at WrestleMania III that is still considered by many to be one of the greatest matches of all time.
#2. Jake the Snake's cobra attacks
In November 1991, Jake "The Snake" Roberts was embroiled in a heated feud with Randy Savage. A key moment in this feud saw Roberts in action on "Superstars" with Vince McMahon, Savage and Roddy Piper doing commentary.
According to the storyline, Savage was unable to compete as he had lost a retirement match to The Ultimate Warrior at WrestleMania VII and was in the midst of attempting to be reinstated.
Roberts goaded Savage to come to the ring and ended up attacking him and having his pet cobra bite him on the arm. McMahon reacted in horror as the event unfolded, screaming to viewers that "this is not supposed to happen." He also expressed great dismay that the paramedics took so long to arrive, yelling "For God's sake! Will someone please come and help this guyI"
His commentary, along with the visuals of stunned fans and crying children, is remembered by many fans to this day. As a result, Roberts was further cemented as a top heel and Savage became a bigger babyface than he already was.
#1. The Warrior is locked inside a casket
In April 1991, The Ultimate Warrior was a guest on Paul Bearer's "Funeral Parlor" segment. This appearance sparked the first major feud for The Undertaker in WWE.
As the interview progressed, The Undertaker emerged from a casket at the back of the set, attacked Warrior and placed him in the casket that was in the center. Bearer than locked the casket, with Vince McMahon noting that it was "air tight."
After several minutes of WWE officials trying to break open the casket, they finally succeeded and released Warrior. Vince McMahon did a masterful job on commentary, starting with concern and building to all-out panic as the seconds ticked by with the Warrior seemingly being deprived of oxygen.
This incident, anchored by Vince McMahon's cries of terror, was one of the launching pads for what became a legendary career for The Undertaker.
Did you know a major backstage fight erupted during WrestleMania 32? More details right here.