Vince McMahon's first impression of 5 WWE Superstars

WWE Chairman Vince McMahon
WWE Chairman Vince McMahon

WWE Chairman Vince McMahon (75) is still in control of nearly every aspect of the company. For this reason, his first impression of a superstar could make or break their career.

McMahon is usually detail-oriented when meeting someone for the first time. He gives a lot of importance to physical appearance. For example, he hired legendary WWE commentator Michael Cole because he liked his height. Cole recalled how McMahon's first impression of him changed his life:

"Mr. McMahon loves that (being short) because it makes the wrestlers look even bigger!’ That’s the first time ever being a little guy is a win. I went home, they called a few weeks later, said ‘hey you got the job,’” Cole said on The Boomer in the Morning podcast

Just as the Chairman gave Michael Cole a job, he was about to take away another from a young John Cena. WWE history could have changed because Cena's appearance when he first joined WWE did not impress his boss.

Between those who earned the Chairman's acceptance and others who could not impress the boss, let's check out Vince McMahon's first impression of five WWE Superstars.


#5. WWE Legend John Cena

WWE Legend John Cena
WWE Legend John Cena

John Cena's confrontation with Kurt Angle on his SmackDown debut remains a memorable moment in WWE history almost 20 years later. Despite being much less experienced than the American Gold Medalist, Cena showcased his ruthless aggression well.

Every WWE fan had his first impression of the new kid on the block back then. Chances are none of those impressions were as shocking as Vince McMahon's.

The Chairman laid his eyes on Cena for the first time as he walked by backstage. Cena was standing with Bruce Prichard when McMahon saw him and called him "a walking, talking steroid billboard":

“We were in Los Angeles at Staples Arena and I will never forget it. Cena comes back, signs his contract, his tests come back, he’s clean as a whistle, and Vince walks up to me and says ‘get that walking, talking steroid billboard out of our backstage!’ I’m like ‘who?’ — ‘That guy!’ and he’s pointing out Cena. I’m like: ‘Vince, we just signed him.'” Prichard said on his podcast "Something To Wrestle".

Cena's first gimmick did not click well with fans. The turning point of Cena's career was adopting The Doctor of Thuganomics persona. From there, Cena eventually became the face of WWE for many years.

During the 16-time champ's time on top, Cena and McMahon grew to be close friends. The Leader of the Cenation recently spoke about the nature of his relationship with the WWE Chairman:

"Vince McMahon to me is more than anyone could realize. He's a close friend, a mentor, a father figure. He means a tremendous amount to me. I don't know if I'll ever be able to conceptualize how much I love him and how much he means to me," Cena said to Bleacher Report.

The last time John Cena wrestled in WWE was at WrestleMania 36 where he lost to The Fiend Bray Wyatt in a Firefly Fun House match.

#4. Former WWE Champion Brock Lesnar

Brock Lesnar
Brock Lesnar

The Vikings were fierce warriors who terrorized their enemies, just like WWE Superstar Brock Lesnar when he steps into the ring. The first person to compare Brock Lesnar to a Viking warrior was Vince McMahon. The Chairman fell was amazed with the physical appearance of the former WWE Champion the moment they met.

In an interview with ESPN, WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross disclosed the story of McMahon's first meeting with Lesnar:

"When Vince saw him (Brock Lesnar) he had the damnedest man crush in like 10 seconds on earth. He said, ‘damn. He looks like a Viking."

Ross stated that McMahon was "amazed at the athletic specimen that Brock Lesnar was and is".

Lesnar rapidly climbed the ladder of success and became WWE Champion five months after his debut. To capture his first WWE title, Lesnar defeated The Rock, one of WWE's greatest legends.

Brock Lesnar is now an eight-time world champion. He wrestled his last match in WWE at WrestleMania 36 where he lost his WWE Championship to Drew McIntyre. He became a freelancer as of August 31st, 2020.

#3. WWE Legend The Undertaker

WWE Legend The Undertaker
WWE Legend The Undertaker

The Undertaker is an iconic figure in WWE history. His life would have been different if Vince McMahon had not decided to give him a chance despite his negative first impression of the superstar.

Bruce Prichard was the one who suggested signing The Undertaker to WWE. He had been wrestling for WCW under the name Mean Mark Callous at the time. However, McMahon decided to cancel an arranged meeting with 'Taker after watching him wrestle Lex Luger at The Great American Bash 1990.

'Taker made a negative first impression on McMahon. According to Prichard, the chairman saw him as a "tall basketball player looking to make a name for himself with red hair."

'Taker confessed he performed poorly against Luger because he had a hip injury;

"I’m working with a guy by the name Lex Luger. We went out there and did what I could with it. I sucked and I was physically not able really to go the way I could go. Vince was not impressed. He was like, ‘Okay, he’s run of the mill," 'Taker said on the Joe Rogan Experience.

Despite all this, the current WWE senior vice president convinced McMahon to change his mind and meet with The Phenom:

"I begged with McMahon to at least meet with him once because I was able to see the talent in Mark and he could make it big in the WWE," Prichard said.

Since then, 'Taker and McMahon have become close friends. They built their relationship on mutual respect, according to Triple H.

The Deadman wrestled his final match in WWE at WrestleMania 36. He defeated AJ Styles in a Boneyard match.

#2. Former WWE Superstar Sable

Former WWE Superstar Sable
Former WWE Superstar Sable

Former WWE Superstar Sable had the beauty and charisma to turn heads everywhere she went. WWE Chairman Vince McMahon fell victim to her charm when they first met and decided to hire her on the spot.

Sable and McMahon's first encounter came during a meeting between the Chairman and the former Women's Champion's ex-husband, Marc Mero. On The Steve Austin Show, Mero recalled McMahon's first reaction to seeing Sable:

"We fly in, and we walk into Vince's office, and he sees her. He goes, 'I've got to put her on television.' And that's how it started. And so, he gave us a list of these names for her and we came up with the name, Sable. And that's how it was started. [McMahon] said she would be my valet to walk me to the ring."

Sable debuted in WWE at WrestleMania 12 when she escorted Triple H to the ring. It was the start of a career that saw her crowned as Women's Champion once before leaving the company in 1999.

The former Women's Champion returned four years later. This time she had the opportunity to work on-screen with Vince McMahon himself. They did a storyline together where she became his mistress. Her second run lasted just over a year.

Sable met her second husband, Brock Lesnar, during her second WWE run. They fell in love and tied the knot in 2006.

#1. WWE Hall of Famer Stone Cold Steve Austin

WWE Hall of Famer Stone Cold Steve Austin
WWE Hall of Famer Stone Cold Steve Austin

Stone Cold Steve Austin and Vince McMahon's on-screen feud has created some of the most historic moments in WWE. However, things might have worked out differently if the Chairman had decided to act upon his first impression of the Texas Rattlesnake.

Stone Cold Steve Austin debuted in WWE as The Ringmaster. It was a complete disaster. The gimmick did not click with the fans, nor did it impress his boss.

On the A&E biography of Stone Cold Steve Austin, WWE Chairman Vince McMahon revealed his first impression of the Texas Rattlesnake:

"My initial impressions of him was, 'He's wasting my time.'"

To save his career, Austin knew he had to take a stand and put The Ringmaster to rest. A stroke of luck helped him come up with the Stone Cold gimmick. It became an instant success. His new persona allowed him to work on-screen with Vince McMahon.

Despite their on-screen chemistry, Austin confessed the two did not always get along. Austin spoke about working with McMahon on The Pat McAfee Show:

"When we were feuding for damn near two years… I love that guy, I’m sure he probably loves me too. But, man, there was, for a shoot, a lot of times some animosity there when I did some of the things I did. I’ve got nothing but respect for the guy and we’re in a real good place."

Stone Cold retired from in-ring competition in 2003. He held the WWE Championship six times during his career. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2009. Since 2005, he has made sporadic appearances on WWE television, the latest being on Monday Night RAW in March 2020.

Former WWE writer responds to Dave Meltzer's comments HERE