There are some people who simply become a personification of an organization. Be it Steve Jobs and Apple, Bill Gates and Microsoft, UFC and Dana White or Elon Musk and Tesla, these people define the personality of the company and its perception in the minds of the masses. In the same way there isn’t a better fit than Vince McMahon and WWE.
Read Part 1 Here.
Vincent Kennedy McMahon has been at the helm of the biggest sports entertainment company for almost four decades and his name and character has become synonymous with the WWE. Mr. McMahon is rash, aggressive, ruthless, creative and uncompromising winner and these are the very traits that he has inculcated into the fabric of his company. Success is the most used word in Vince McMahons’ dictionary. He truly is the quintessential boss-man.
To profile the brilliance of Vince McMahon, we must go through 3 characteristics that make him the man he is. In Part 1, we covered how he built an empire through his shrewd business decisions and now in Part 2, we will profile Vince McMahon the performer.
Vince McMahon’s style of leading is a huge contrast to that of a mainstream chairman of a leading business organization. Mr. McMahon wants the world’s biggest diamonds and he is ready to get his hands dirty digging it out of the ground. Even after taking over his father’s company and becoming the chairman, he continued his role as a ring announcer and a play by play commentator till 1997. He was continuously involved in the creative execution of the programming and his on screen performance with his trademark voice, explosive energy and bizarre expressions. He set the tone for other performers to follow. His greatest performances coincided with the most successful financial and creative period in the history of the company, the attitude era.
The Attitude Era exposed the extraordinary talents that Vince McMahon possessed as a wrestler and a performer. Actually, at the start of his career in his father’s promotion, McMahon wanted to be a part of the wrestling action but was barred from doing so by his father who thought the jobs of the promoter and a wrestler required different sets of skills and therefore can never overlap.
McMahon as usual ignored this theory that his father preached and would go on to become a two-time World Champion, having won the WWF Championship in 1999 and the ECW World Championship in 2007. He is also the 1999 Royal Rumble winner and has headlined multiple pay per view events even at the ripe age of 60. His no holds barred match against Shawn Michaels would go on to win the Match of the Year from esteemed magazine pro wrestling illustrated. McMahon was arguably the greatest heel in the history of the company as his thirst for power, absolute control over the proceedings and manipulation made the audiences simply despise him. He was pure evil and did anything and everything at his disposal to win over his opponents and establish his dominance. Everybody related to an arrogant and autocratic boss being beaten up and embarrassed by his employees and he single handedly made the ratings touch the stratosphere.
McMahon greatest rivalry was against none other than Stone Cold Steve Austin. Their feuds defined the Attitude Era and their undeniable hatred for each other almost made you think it was real. They were like oil and water. One was the corporate voice of reason and authority while the other was a rebellious character who had complete disregard for it. Fireworks flew every time they clashed and you could feel the two super egoistic people fighting for bragging rights. From beer showers to numerous stunners to multiple middle finger salutes, this rivalry had no rules and no morals. Much of Steve Austin’s popularity was due to the fact that he was the only superstar who had the audacity to butt heads against the boss and embarrass him in front of the whole wide world.
The reason behind the success of Mr. McMahon as a performer was due to the fact that he had no preconceived notions about how he should behave or look in front of the sponsors and the audience. His character wasn’t a dressed up costume wearing fictional character but it showed him for what he really was, A blood thirsty monster. He didn’t care about his image being the boss and that he is the reason he was open to be incorporated into any given storyline. As long as it attracted audiences, McMahon was ready to make out with Torrie Wilson in the mop room on national television, kiss Trish Tratus in front of his disabled wife or get his head shaved by Donald Trump in front of millions of people. As long as it was “best for business”, McMahon was ready to play any character he wanted.