In the world of sports and entertainment, few promoters have been as successful as Vincent K. McMahon. He was born Vincent Kennedy McMahon on August 24th, 1945 in Pinehurst, North Carolina, to Victoria (Askew) & Vincent McMahon, a second-generation wrestling promoter. His father left the family when Vince was still a baby and took his elder son Rod with him, therefore Vince did not meet him until age twelve. Vince’s paternal grandfather was promoter Roderick James “Jess” McMahon, whose parents were Irish emigrants from County Galway.
His paternal grandmother, Rose Davis, was also of Irish descent. Vince was raised as Vinnie Lupton and spent the majority of his childhood living with his mother and a string of stepfathers. He claimed that one of his stepfathers, Leo Lupton, used to beat his mother and attacked him when he tried to protect her. He said, “It is unfortunate that he died before I could kill him. I would have enjoyed that.” In his early life, he also overcame dyslexia.
The young Vince eventually transformed his father’s regional wrestling promotion, The Northeastern U.S.’s World-Wide Wrestling Federation (later World Wrestling Federation, or WWF), into a worldwide success. Vince, who attended Fishburne Military School as a youth, was a star wrestler in high school. He eventually graduated from East Carolina University with a degree in marketing. By the early 1970s, the younger Vince convinced his father to hire him as a promoter for his company, Capitol Wrestling Corp (which promoted wrestling events as The WWF).
He promoted his first WWF Wrestling card in 1971 (in Bangor, Maine); the event was a rousing success and started Vince Jr.’s rise to professional wrestling glory. In 1972, the then 27-year-old McMahon began providing play-by-play commentary for The WWF’s weekly syndicated program; at the same time, he helped increase market clearances for The WWF’s syndicated programs from nine northeastern U.S. stations (in 1972) to more than triple that by 1980. In 1982, the younger Vince purchased The Capitol Wrestling Corp. from his ailing father (who died in 1984) and began planning a vision to become the world’s largest and most successful wrestling enterprise by giving The WWF a much broader audience.
McMahon accomplished that through combining the traditional sport of wrestling with elements from the entertainment world (hence the term, sports entertainment); and giving the promotion a national audience (by promoting WWF Events and selling airtime to local stations nationwide; airing weekly programs and PPV Events on cable and satellite TV). He also initiated one of the first successful major wrestling events, 1985’s WrestleMania.
However, McMahon’s ride to success hasn’t always been smooth as in the early 1990s, allegations of steroid use among top Superstars and other misconduct within The WWF nearly ruined Vince and his company. Also, ventures into the realms of bodybuilding (The World Bodybuilding Federation) and professional football (The XFL) failed miserably. For years, McMahon was engaged in a bitter ratings and promotions war with Ted Turner’s wrestling ventures (the last being World Championship Wrestling (WCW); it was a battle Turner commanded at one point.
McMahon eventually won the battle and today enjoys one of the world’s most successful entertainment dynasties. His family – wife, Linda; son, Shane and daughter-in-law Marissa; and daughter Stephanie – all play key roles in the family venture. McMahon is also the father-in-law of WWE Executive/w|Wrestler Paul “Triple H” Levesque and has six grandchildren. McMahon is recognized today by many – supporters and foes alike – as a fearless and visionary promoter who turned the regional wrestling promotion WWF into a global sensation.
Since taking over the company from his father in The 1980s, he has worked in the corporate area of
McMahon is also a two-time world champion, having won The WWF Championship in 1999 and The ECW World Championship in 2007. He was The 1999 Royal Rumble Winner. He headlined multiple WWF/WWE PPV Events from 1999 to 2000 and participated in the main event of WrestleMania 2000 as a cornerman for The Rock.
In singles competition, he holds victories over former WWF/WWE Champions Ric Flair, The Undertaker, Shawn Michaels & Triple H. He continues his backstage and on-screen roles as the main authority figure along with the rest of The McMahon family. In 1979, Vince & Linda purchased The Cape Cod Coliseum & The Cape Cod Buccaneers of The Atlantic Coast Hockey League. In addition to pro wrestling & hockey, they began selling out rock concerts, including Van Halen & Rush, in non-summer months, traditionally considered unprofitable due to lack of tourists.
This venture led The McMahons to join The International Association Of Arena Managers, learning the details of the arena business and networking with other managers through IAAM conferences, which Linda later called a “great benefit” to WWE’s success.
In 1990, McMahon founded The World Bodybuilding Federation a bodybuilding organization. In 2000, McMahon again ventured outside the world of professional wrestling by launching The XFL, a professional American Football League, as he wanted to add more and try more businesses. The league began in February 2001, with McMahon making an appearance at the first game.
However, The XFL quickly folded after one season due to low television ratings. In February 2014, McMahon helped launch an over-the-top streaming service known as The WWE Network. In 2017, McMahon established and personally funded a separate entity from WWE, Alpha Entertainment. McMahon streamed a major announcement live regarding the new company on Jan 25th, 2018 at 3PM ET/ 2PM CT. During the live stream, McMahon announced the resurrection of The XFL. The XFL is set to return in February 2020 with several major changes already announced for the league.
A commissioner and the cities that will be hosting the teams that will be competing have also already been named for the league. McMahon has promised that this time the league will be a success that it wasn’t when the league was first launched in 2001 as he has been doing everything to make sure of this by taking serious steps such as modifying the league to be more sports and action than having storylines and cheerleaders.
Only time will tell if McMahon will be able to make The XFL a success this time around, but so far his actions show that he is serious to making it a huge success and even surpassing The NFL. McMahon is listed as #239 in The Forbes’ 400 list in the year 2018 and #1394 in The Billionaires list also in the year 2018. As of December 22nd, 2018, McMahon’s net worth is estimated at $2.8B.
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