WM Top 25: #19 – McMahon v. McMahon

Thanks for all your comments, as I read them all here on Pulse Wrestling. I encourage you to check out the source at Examiner.com, as this is a list independent of Pulse Wrestling and is completely my brainchild for my page as the Pro Wrestling Examiner.

It’s fairly safe to say that Vince McMahon has become the godfather of professional wrestling. It has gotten to the point that pretty much whatever he wants to do in the pro wrestling industry he can. He grew up in the business, idolizing his father. Deep down Vince always wanted to be a wrestler himself but was discouraged by his father and was rather thrust into the business side of things. Once he took over the industry and became The Man and could do what we always wanted to do he transformed himself into the biggest bad guy in World Wrestling Entertainment history – “Mr. McMahon.” The “Mr. McMahon” character was wildly successful and, it was only a matter of time before Mr. McMahon himself entered the squared circle to really complete his transformation into the company’s greatest villain.

By the early millennium the entire McMahon family had made WWE television their own personal playground as Vince, his wife Linda, son Shane and daughter Stephanie had all become on-air characters. Like any good soap opera the family was constantly turning on each other and reuniting depending on the way the wind blew. But when he stepped into the ring against his son Shane in a street fight at WrestleMania X-7 on April 1, 2001, it was the culmination of months of story that could only be showcased on such a stage as WrestleMania.

So here’s the story. (deep breathe) Vince was playing the evil megalomaniac “Mr. McMahon,” a man bent on world domination. He had just spent over two years battling his rebellious employee Stone Cold Steve Austin and then put his closest competition in both World Championship Wrestling and Extreme Championship Wrestling out of business. He was now king of the wrestling world. In the process he demanded a divorce from his wife Linda, who then went into a nervous breakdown and ended up in an institution. He then started dating young, blonde starlet Trish Stratus to rub it into everyone’s faces. In the process of buying World Championship Wrestling from Ted Turner, his son Shane snuck in and signed the contract from under him. Shane McMahon was now the owner of WCW. Shane wanted to stop his out-of-control father and was trying to defend his mother’s honor. Vince wanted to squash his insubordinate son and bury WCW like he had originally imagined. So the stage was set for something epic.

Both McMahon boys put on the staged show of a lifetime on their family’s grandest platform. To hide the fact that neither was a classically trained wrestler they pulled out all the stops with crazy stunts, weapons, interference and all the hoopla associated with a pro wrestling circus. The match itself was fantastic with a great storyline ending where the comatose Linda rose from her wheelchair and kicked her cheating husband below the belt to the crowd’s roaring approval.

It was a soap opera story that “Young & The Restless” couldn’t have come up with any better. And in the end, like always at WrestleMania, the good guy came out on top. The conquering son Shane overtook his overbearing father, protected his mother and stood tall on that night. And top it all off the young blonde Trish dumped him for being the dirty old man that he was.

It was right there that everyone realized that the McMahons, and Vince especially, would not let himself have a bad wrestling match. He was too proud and too demanding of a boss of his own talent to let himself disappoint inside the ring. He had wrestled previously on occasion but that night at WrestleMania he stepped up to a new level.

He went on to have two more epic stories at WrestleMania, and just like a good villain he went down in defeat both times. At WrestleMania XIX in 2003 he lost to his other prized creation, Hulk Hogan, in a wild brawl that two men in their fifties had no right in having. Three years later at WrestleMania 22, McMahon lost once again, this time to Shawn Michaels, one of his biggest pet projects from the 1990s.

Throughout his wrestling career Vince McMahon took at the rules of the pro wrestling game, broke them, created new rules and then broke those too. He revolutionized the character of “evil wrestling promoter” and set the stage for what has now become a hackneyed pro wrestling cliché. From all accounts he is a demanding of a boss in real life as he plays on TV, but I truly believe it is for the love and success of the business. I mean how many other Fortune 500 chairmen would willingly jump off ladders, be driven through wood tables and get hit in the head with trashcans in order to help their bottom line?