DISCLAIMER — Before I begin, I just want to clarify something: I love Vince McMahon. I appreciate what he’s built, and I celebrate who he is as a character. No joke, when I graduated from high school, I thanked him in my yearbook tribute. And one day, I hope to work for the WWE and help craft the madness that is the world of sports-entertainment (Attention WWE Human Resources: you’ll find my most recent resume on file, as I seriously update it every couple of months in pursuit of one day living the dream).
All right, enough of the pandering! When it comes to Wrestlemania, lots of iconic images come to mind, from the Hulkster slamming Andre the Giant at Wrestlemania III, to Stone Cold Steve Austin and the Rock facing off in a trio of epic matches, to “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels retiring “Nature Boy” Ric Flair from full-time competition. However, perhaps none of these moments will stand the test of time like those of the company’s chairman, Vince McMahon.
It makes sense too. After all, pro wrestling, particularly as it exists today, is Vince’s baby, nurtured and raised in his image. In turn, it seems only proper when highlighting WWE’s flagship show of the year to shine a spotlight on Mr. McMahon and the memories he’s branded into our brains during “the granddaddy of them all” (sorry Rose Bowl). As such, may we present to you Vince McMahon’s top five Wrestlemania moments!
Vince McMahon Flips Off Shawn Michaels
The chairman spent a better part of 2006 terrorizing Shawn Michaels for giving up his formerly misguided ways in favor of the pious path of a Christian, going so far as to even book HBK and God in a pay-per-view match (unfortunately, the Almighty did not make an appearance). But perhaps no image better represents this period than Vince McMahon’s stretcher-laden hand gesture shortly after being served a first class ass-kicking at the 22nd incarnation of the event, from Mr. Wrestlemania himself.
Skip to 26:50 to see a billionaire proclaim “I’m number one!”
It’s Not Blasphemy So Long as It’s Funny
Not long in the night before he flipped the bird in a nearly incapacitated state, Vince McMahon and his entire family found a way to turn Wrestlemania XX into hilariously offensive fare, as each member got down on their knees to pray to a deity none of them actually believed in. And while the “I don’t like you and you don’t like me” routine had been stated a thousand times before, it had never been done with the eloquence and respect that the overly tanned carnival barker had in mind. ”Hallelujah!”
Sadly, only one of these people is running for the Senate…
Donald Trump Shaves Vince McMahon Bald
Ever seen a hairless cat? How about a hairless fat cat? If not, look no further than the aftermath of the “Battle of the Billionaires” at Wrestlemania XXIII. Forget the match itself (if you can even remember); the real memories only started rolling in after the bell had tolled, when Steve Austin helped Donald Trump shave McMahon’s head. And while the founder of modern wrestling may mandate for his follicly challenged performers to shave their heads, let’s all pray that this never becomes his standard look.
If only we were all so fortunate to treat our bosses this way.
Congratulations, it’s a boy…IN A CAGE MATCH!
For those of us familiar with the story of Abraham and Isaac, imagine if Abraham had a crazy dad of his own, who had pushed him into sacrificing Isaac. The image you’re conjuring probably looks a little like Vince near the end of the intro from Wrestlemania XX, as he and son Shane hold up what will likely become the fifth generation of McMahon to promote sports and entertainment (Jess begat Vince Sr.; Vince Sr. begat Vince Jr.; Vince Jr. begat Shane; Shane begat Declan). Skip to 2:15 and see for yourself.
It’s less a live moment than it is pre-taped human sacrifice.
A Match 20 Year in the Making: Hogan Vs. McMahon
If there was ever one single moment in Wrestlemania history that embodied everything amazing that pro wrestling stands for, it would have to be the fight at Wrestlemania IXX between “The Immortal” Hulk Hogan and Vince McMahon. Before the match even begins, the promo WWE put together in itself tells a story of triumph and tragedy that would bring tears to the most skeptical/cynical eyes. Beyond that though, just try to forget the crimson-covered face Vince makes around the 18-minute mark.
Do you hate wrestling? This video will change that for you.
Get a good look at the devil’s grin by skipping head to 18:00!
Some of these McMahon moments might have made you smile; others probably made you sick. But at the very, very least, they all likely gave you something crazy to think about in the coming days/weeks/months. And isn’t that really what Wrestlemania is really all about? I’m sure Vince would say “yes” to that question, though only if it led to some sort of spectacle for the audience.
Elijah Bates is a contributing writer for CBS Local.