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Top 7 Vince McMahon On-Screen Moments In WWE

July 26, 2022 | Posted by Steve Cook
Vince McMahon Higher Power WWE Image Credit: WWE

Vince McMahon has retired from WWE. As somebody that didn’t think McMahon would ever retire and would only leave WWE if he croaked, and in consideration of the fact it was only a couple of weeks ago that McMahon was delivering speeches on WWE television with the intention of telling people he wasn’t going anywhere no matter what…one can only assume that whatever the investigators found can’t reflect well on him.

We don’t have all the facts right now, and it wouldn’t be shocking if we never had all the facts. However, it seems safe to say that we’ve seen the last of Vince McMahon as an on-screen character on WWE programming. For the purposes of this column, we’re setting the human being that retired on Friday off to the side. Separating the art from the artist. We’re not here to talk about the Vince that ran the company that eventually became WWE for the past four decades. Nor the Vince that ran all the territories out of business, or the Vince that ran creative, or the Vince that was the subject of countless news reports about a litany of topics. I’m Steve Cook, and I can’t claim to know that Vince McMahon. I flipped him off from the crowd at the 2006 edition of Backlash. That’s the extent of my personal interaction with Vince McMahon. Others will be more fit to tell his story than I.

Instead, we’re talking about the Vince McMahon that appeared on our television sets. The babyface announcer that screamed about the greatness of Hulk Hogan & Shawn Michaels. The evil authority figure that millions of fans chanted “Asshole” at. Vince McMahon was one of the key focal points of WWF/E programming for many years. Today, we look back at the Top 7 Vince McMahon On-Screen Moments in WWE.

7. The Beer Bath

Stone Cold Steve Austin used a variety of vehicles to make McMahon’s life a living hell. It’s tough to narrow it down to one, but the beer truck gets a lot of love from the audience. This was even voted the best moment in Raw history back in 2003 when the show was celebrating its tenth anniversary. I’m not sure I’d go that far, but Vince did his best to make the moment iconic.

When I hear about WWE putting smiles on peoples’ faces, this is the kind of moment that comes to mind. You can’t watch Vince McMahon swimming in beer without laughing at the absurdity of it all.

6. WM X-Seven Street Fight

I can’t say I was a huge fan of McMahon as an in-ring talent. He was one of the most awkward looking people working major matches in the history of the business. Don’t get me wrong, Vince had the physique for the job. He just never looked any better than a rookie-level wrestling school trainee while doing anything in the ring. Which will happen when one starts wrestling in their fifties. It’s just not a thing people normally do. As has been established, this man isn’t normal.

So what was Vince’s best match? Some might say his cage match with Steve Austin at St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. Some may even say his street fight with Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania XIX. Hell, as we covered in a previous column, his street fight with Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania 22 was voted Match of the Year by the readers of Pro Wrestling Illustrated.

I have to go with his street fight with his son, mostly due to the booking. Shane was always willing to do crazy things, which made his matches back in the day spectacles. He inherited that trait from his father, and they both did everything they could to entertain the fans here. We also saw the blowoff of the whole “Linda in a catatonic state” thing while Trish Stratus got her revenge for the whole “bark like a dog” thing. It’s a shame this match wasn’t the end of Vince’s on-screen involvement with WrestleMania X-Seven.

5. McMemphis?

1993 was an interesting time to be a wrestling fan in the Memphis, Tennessee area. The USWA was still going strong with Jerry Lawler on top, but the King was now making appearances with the World Wrestling Federation. This in itself was odd, as Lawler had claimed for years that his brand of wrestling was superior to the WWF’s, and he’d never work for them. Turned out that he would. Things got even stranger when Lawler’s WWF issues started becoming USWA issues, and several WWF wrestlers started appearing in the Mid-South Coliseum and on Memphis television. It was a bit confusing since Lawler was being a despicable heel on WWF television and had to justify these actions to the Memphis fans that had grown accustomed to cheering him.

Then things went completely nutty when Lawler’s WWF broadcast partner, Vince McMahon, started appearing in the Mid-South Coliseum and on Memphis television.

He had a different tone than fans were accustomed to hearing from him at the time. We’d heard him pumping babyface tires for years. Here in the USWA, where the face/heel alignment was a bit different, Vince was more of a jerk to the good people of Memphis. It was a preview of the Mr. McMahon we’d see emerge a few years later. If you haven’t seen it before, here’s a playlist.

4. Getting Caught in the Crossfire

This particular angle produced a bevy of firsts for your author. As I didn’t see any WCW programming until August 1992, this would have one of the first times I saw Ric Flair. All I knew as a young’in was that according to Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, Ric Flair was “The Real World’s Champion”. He had his own belt, wore a fancy robe and seemed pretty full of himself. The jury was still out for me on him as a wrestler, so it was exciting to see Flair come down for a match on WWF Superstars.

The match wouldn’t happen, as Flair saw “Rowdy” Roddy Piper at the announce booth and decided to pick a fight with him. While the average WWF fan wouldn’t have known much about Flair & Piper’s history back in their Mid-Atlantic days, Piper had been talking plenty of junk about Flair on commentary leading up to the Nature Boy’s debut. Vince McMahon, the lead announcer of the show, tried to calm things down, but Flair launched a vicious attack on Piper.

Somewhere in the confusion of it all, Piper wound up accidentally hitting McMahon with a chair, which was pretty shocking to me. As a young fan it was rather unusual to see an announcer get hit with a chair. Even longtime WWF fans hadn’t seen Vince physically involved in an angle in years. These were the days before Jim Ross was getting beat up by heels every few months or so, or even before Jerry Lawler would regularly leave the announce booth, have a match & return. Even when Piper & “Macho Man” Randy Savage were doing commentary with Vince, they generally would stay at the announce table and mind their manners. It wasn’t long after this particular episode that Savage wandered down to the ring so he could get bit by Jake Roberts’ cobra.

Vince even took a ride on a stretcher! I’ll admit that when Vince was wearing a neck brace during his steroid trial in 1994 I assumed the injury was stemming from that errant chairshot three years before. I think Piper might have said that somewhere.

3. The First Stunner

You always remember the first time, for better or worse. One of the most memorable moments of 1997 WWF was the first time Stone Cold Steve Austin finally snapped and gave Vince McMahon a Stone Cold Stunner. Vince hadn’t done much to deserve it at that point, that would come with time. This was a huge moment for Austin, further establishing him as the favorite of the WWF fanbase.

Honestly, Vince’s weird selling here is a big part of the charm. Had he been able to do it a normal way, it probably wouldn’t have had the same impact. The only issue was he easily could have hurt Austin falling over his shoulder the way he did. The guy had a bad neck!

2. The Hospital Stay From Hell

It is the opinion of this writer that the creative apex of the Mr. McMahon character took place in late-1998. Vince was never more effective on-screen than he was during the time period where he was feuding with Austin, trying to get Undertaker and/or Kane to do his bidding and dealing with Mankind wanting his love & affection. The Raw segment leading to Vince’s stay in the hospital was tremendous in itself. Austin drove a Zamboni down to the ring to attack Vince. Vince got mad at Undertaker & Kane, who were standing in the ring and did nothing to stop Austin’s onslaught. Undertaker slammed the steel steps into Vince’s ankle. Everybody rejoiced, as Vince deserved all of this.

The next week saw Vince in the hospital. He received visits from two of the fans’ favorite wrestlers at the time. One tried to entertain him with a sock puppet. The other gave him an enema.

Both were tremendously entertaining. In the case of Mankind, the visit changed his career. He was able to spend the rest of his career with a sock in his pants. Heck, I’m pretty sure Mick Foley still walks around with a sock hanging out of his pajama pants. It’s no wonder he’s so grateful to Vince & the whole McMahon family.

Honorable Mention: STAND BACK!

The 1987 Slammy Awards were quite the spectacle. A number of things happened that made old school wrestling fans reach for the ol’ vomit bucket, but perhaps nothing more offended the senses than Vince McMahon singing.

Many have noted that the lyrics of “Stand Back” seem to be a message to Vince’s opposition. He had a lot of big plans, that was for sure.

1. “Bret Screwed Bret”

The Montreal Screwjob, while one of the biggest moments in wrestling history, can’t truly be discussed as a great TV moment for Vince McMahon. All he did that appeared on-screen was get spit on. (It was a tremendous loogie by Bret, to be fair) The really good stuff happened backstage, and even the Wrestling With Shadows crew didn’t get that.

The follow-up interview with Jim Ross that aired on the second Raw episode after Montreal was an attempt by Vince to explain things to the WWF fanbase in a way that painted the company in a positive light. Which was necessary considering that the court of public opinion had weighed in mostly in favor of Bret. Bruce Prichard would later claim that this was meant to be a babyface promo. It didn’t come off that way to the majority of people that watched it.

This was the moment that established the future for Vince McMahon. If people were going to believe that he was a heartless son of a bitch no matter what he said, that’s what he was going to be on television. He was going to go with the feeling of the people, and hope it worked out financially. It did.

It’s interesting though. One wonders if the allegations against Vince McMahon would be harder for us to believe if he didn’t spend most of the last twenty-five years on television acting like the kind of person that would do those things.

article topics :

Vince McMahon, WWE, Steve Cook