WWE's Vince McMahon: The CEO's 15 Biggest Rivalries Throughout His Career
Success is not without its enemies. Vince McMahon is unequivocally the most successful wrestling promoter in history, and in his dominating path, he has left a trail of tears, corporate implosion, burnt bridges, broken hearts and bone dry territories.
Surprisingly enough, rivalries do not discriminate. McMahon's adversarial relationships span from chief figureheads of corporate entities down to members of his own family.
Through it all, McMahon has stayed the course and amidst a handful of noted failures, persisted as on of the most successful businessmen in America.
Vince McMahon's rivalries have helped define the man himself, and his response to adversity almost always seems to bring out the best of the mercurial chairman of the WWE.
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15. Bob Costas
The miniature, yet legendary, sportswriter infamously infuriated WWE's erratic chairman during an HBO interview.
During an unflattering and prodding line of questioning on Costas' On the Record television show on HBO, McMahon lost his cool and sternly instructed Costas to "shut [his] mouth" as he tried to rebut a stinging inquisition from the host.
The confrontation became heated, and at one point, it seemed as if it would degenerate into a physical altercation.
Cooler heads prevailed, and McMahon was subsequently invited back to HBO for a more cordial chat with his famed former adversary.
14. The Undertaker
Even McMahon's most loyal top stars are subject to the obligatory feud with the chairman.
The Undertaker's feud with McMahon was definitely one of the more peculiar angles as WWE played into the supernatural to portray Taker as menacing villain.
The hit-or-miss feud peaked when the Undertaker abducted McMahon's daughter Stephanie in a move that established Stephanie McMahon as an onscreen television character.
13. The World Wildlife Fund
Don't be fooled by the cute little panda. Actually, this rendition of a panda is quite creepy.
The World Wildlife Fund scored a surprising victory over WWE in an English Court as they sued the wrestling conglomerate for improper global use of its "WWF" initials.
The World Wildlife Fund's victory forced the World Wrestling Federation to change their initials to WWE, which used to stand for World Wrestling Entertainment but now stands for nothing.
It could be safely argued that the name change conveniently coordinated with Vince McMahon's long-term plans for his promotion as he has always emphasized promoting entertainment over what he has disdainfully described as "wrasslin."
12. Shawn Michaels
Vince McMahon and Shawn Michaels engaged in a heated, personal feud in 2006 that lead to arguably the best match on the WrestleMania 22 card.
McMahon spent several weeks taunting Michaels' religious beliefs and past drug use leading up his match with Mr. WrestleMania on the grandest stage in the WWE.
As usual, Michaels did not disappoint. The WWE Hall of Famer reigned victorious in an intense, no disqualification contest that climaxed when Michaels obliterated McMahon with a flying elbow through a table from atop a ladder.
11. Shane McMahon
Vince McMahon and his son Shane McMahon have a love-hate relationship that continues to this day.
Shane McMahon left the WWE at the beginning of 2010 to invest in OnDemand programming in China as he reportedly felt he was the odd man out in the inevitable Helmsely-McMahon era of the WWE.
Vince McMahon has never won a match at WrestleMania. That streak started with a match against Shane McMahon at WrestleMania X-Seven after Shane literally (kayfabe) bought the now defunct WCW from right under Vince's nose.
The two would exchange their face-heel roles as Shane, Stephanie McMahon and Paul Heyman formed a faction that threatened a hostile takeover of the WWE.
Armed with second-rate stars from WWE's former competition, the usurp-minded trio eventually failed to accomplish their goal, but no failure was worse than the mismanaged invasion angle itself.
10. Paul Heyman
Despite his brilliance in the field of pro wrestling, being a "Paul Heyman guy" in WWE was the equivalent to wearing a scarlett letter due to the tension Heyman had with many members of the WWE brass.
The revolutionary evil genius' upstart ECW promotion was aided by Vince McMahon, who showcased ECW wrestlers on WWE television, but when it went belly up, Heyman would go on to begrudgingly work with McMahon.
Despite a productive run as head writer of WWE SmackDown, Heyman constantly butted heads with the McMahons, namely Stephanie, as his wrestling-heavy ideals did not coagulate with the McMahon's proclivity to promote "entertainment."
Heyman was relieved of his duties in 2006 after the abysmal December to Dismember pay-per-view and has since gone on to start his own website entitled the Heyman Hustle.
Heyman continues to keep track of the major promotions from a distance and was close to taking an authoritative job with TNA in 2010.
9. Donald Trump
Vince McMahon's business partnership with Donald Trump did historically big business for WrestleMania as their "Battle of the Billionaires" featured on WrestleMania 23 helped make that year's showcase in Detroit the most bought WrestleMania of all time.
Trump and McMahon each selected a wrestler (McMahon picked Umaga, Trump picked Bobby Lashley). The loser of the match would force his respective billionaire representative to have his head shaved.
In a match guest refereed by Stone Cold Steve Austin, team Trump won as Lashley defeated Umaga, forcing McMahon to have his head shaved in the middle of the ring.
Trump returned to the WWE in 2009, when he (kayfabe) purchased RAW and aired a commercial free special in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
WWE's traditionally clueless investors panicked at the onset of the angle, as they had actually believed that Trump had bough WWE. The otherwise promising angle was subsequently nixed as McMahon "bought" Raw back the following week.
8. Triple H
For better or worse, Vince McMahon and Triple H have had a series of rivalries.
The McMahon-Triple H really got interesting when Triple H abducted a comatose Stephanie McMahon and married her via chapel just days before she was set to marry WWE wrestler Test on RAW.
The blood feud later resulted in Triple H losing the WWE Championship to McMahon thanks to outside interference from Steve Austin.
McMahon's feud with Triple H reincarnated when Triple H joined longtime friend Shawn Michaels to reform DX. The subsequent feud between DX and the McMahon's (Vince and Shane) dragged on for far too long and was criticized for being on the campy side.
7. The Federal Government
The Federal Government was indeed one of the scariest forms of opposition that Vince McMahon ever saw. As a result of the steroid trial of 1994, where McMahon was linked in a conspiracy to distribute steroids to talent, McMahon found himself on the verge of going to prison but was eventually acquitted on all counts.
The fallout from the trial almost spelled the collapse of the WWF as the company was forced to slash salaries across the board due to lackluster business from a damaged image.
The WWE, as you know, would go on to recover and come back stronger than ever in an embodiment of their oft-beleaguered chairman's competitive spirit and will to win.
6. Dana White
Sure, it's recently been reported that Dana and Vince went on a little friendly man date, and McMahon will never openly admit that Dana White's UFC empire is a threat to WWE in any way, shape or form.
But UFC has taken what WWE used to do best, in telling a story to sell a fight and risen to the top of the pay-per-view business.
Simplistic conflicts to be resolved with an epic and oftentimes lucrative fight have been masterfully exploited by the UFC as their red hot sport only continues to grow.
As WWE's business continues to trend downwards, especially in the non-WrestleMania pay-per-view business, UFC only continues to grow on the strength of star fighters and marquee bouts that strengthen the brand.
WWE pay-per-views, namely WrestleMania 26, have historically performed below par on weekends where they are preceded by a UFC pay-per-view and vice versa for the UFC.
One can never count Vince McMahon out of a fight, as the WWE is still a globally renowned conglomerate in sports entertainment, however UFC's influence on sports and entertainment has certainly done no favor's to WWE's business.
5. Hulk Hogan
Hulk Hogan is another one of those love-hate rivals of Vince McMahon as the WWE's golden age was built on the strength of McMahon's brain and Hogan's brawn.
Since both are staunch egomaniacs, they will each always believe that they played a bigger part in WWE's success, and that has long since lead to tension and animosity between the two wrestling giants.
After Hogan left WWE for WCW and WCW subsequently folded, Hogan was brought back to the WWE. He eventually feuded with McMahon, which lead to a match at WrestleMania XIX won by Hulk Hogan.
The two continue to feud to this day (if you want to call it that) with Hulk Hogan now working as an executive with the distant rival promotion TNA.
4. Bret Hart
Bret Hart was infamously screwed in his own home country in 1997 in a historic event that took him over a decade to get over.
Hart would make an unlikely return to the WWF after spending years bashing the company and Vince McMahon.
The longtime bitterness between the two was manufactured into a program upon Hart's return in 2010, leading to Vince McMahon's fourth consecutive in ring loss at WrestleMania.
3. Ted Turner
Billionaire Ted gave Vince McMahon a run for his money in the mid-'90s as WCW ruled the wrestling world for over a year.
Armed with a seemingly omnipotent wallet, Turner's World Championship Wrestling property took advantage of WWF's financial perils, following the 1994 steroid trial and bought a handful of wrestling stars who had previously made their hay in the WWF.
Turner was furiously lampooned in mean-spirited WWF sketches depicting a "Billionaire Ted" character of his likeness, but in reality this was WWF's frustrated response to getting manhandled by WCW Nitro in the Monday Night Ratings.
With McMahon's back to the wall, the WWF would eventually decide to move in another direction as the once family friendly product began to adopt a grittier, TV-MA format that served as a catalyst for an "Attitude Era" that revitalized WWE's sinking empire.
2. Eric Bischoff
While World Championship Wrestling rocked WWE to its foundation on the strength of Ted Turner's wallet, it was Eric Bischoff's vision and direction that put the WWE in jeopardy of going out of business.
After a few years as an announcer, Bischoff was promoted to Executive Vice President of WCW in 1994. Under his direction, WCW began airing alternative program, focusing on real life personalities and storylines to counter the cartoonish nature of its rival WWE.
Bischoff's pitch to turner to air Monday night programming opposite WWE changed the wrestling landscape forever, and begun what was known as the Monday Night Wars between WWE and WCW.
After pulling up in the rear early, WCW, highlighted by a shocking Hogan heel turn and the subsequent formation of the New World Order, would take control of the ratings for 84 consecutive weeks before WWE made a furious rally that eventually lead to WCW's downfall.
Today, Bischoff works as an executive for TNA, WWE's closest rival, alongside Hulk Hogan although he is nowhere near as threatening in this role.
1. Stone Cold Steve Austin
When Stone Cold Steve Austin was given the proverbial ball following his win over Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania XIV, he needed a worthy adversary to act as a foil for his anti-heroics that would carry the WWE to the next level.
Vince McMahon was the perfect villain for Austin's anti-establishment persona as he embodied everything "the establishment" stood for.
McMahon and Austin's feud seemed to only get better despite lasting over the course of years, and their epic angst for one another produced classic television programming that helped define WWE's wildly successful Attitude Era.
Since their first physical altercation, when Austin gave McMahon a Stone Cold Stunner in Madison Square Garden in 1997, McMahon and Austin have had multiple matches against one another, and their rivalry was even chronicled by an Austin vs. McMahon DVD.
Austin breached his contract when he abruptly left the WWE in frustration in 2002, this time causing real life strife between the two, however he would return a year later to finish up his Hall of Fame Career.
It's safe to say that, despite worthy competition, no rival—real or fake—has opposed Vince McMahon as brilliantly and intriguingly as Stone Cold Steve Austin.