The McMahons are the first family of sports entertainment, and without their contributions, especially from Papa Vince, wrestling wouldn't be nearly as big or as popular as it is now, much less at the height of its popularity.
But being the first family of sports entertainment means you're in front of the camera A LOT, which means you're bound to have a few classic moments in between those 20-minute promos and taking crazy bumps and such.
But what is the greatest McMahon moment ever?
Last week, we put the question to you, the Cageside Galaxy, and you've responded. With that, here are...
The 12 greatest McMahon moments ever.
As voted by you. So... if this list isn't good, that's on you. Your bad. You voted for it.
12. Shane McMahon returns to WWE.
Well... this was unexpected.
In 2009, Shane McMahon saw the writing on the wall; it would be his sister and brother-in-law that would get the keys to the WWE kingdom if and when Vince McMahon dies, not him. That October, Shane handed in his resignation from the only company he's ever worked for.
He spent the next few years running YOU on Demand, a Chinese PPV and video-on-demand service. Three years later, he stepped down as CEO, but remained on board as chairman. Then the rumors began. When will Shane come back? Will Shane come back? What will he do if he comes back, if ever?
On February 22, 2016, here comes the money. Again. To a MONSTROUS POP. Granted, he's flubbed his lines quite a few times, but the guy's been away from the wrestling business entirely for years. YEARS. But to longtime fans, it was as if he never left.
And that became very clear when Shane McMahon jumped off the Hell in a Cell cage at Wrestlemania 32. The big one. From the top. With his kids watching. On to a prone Undertaker... oops.
That missed cost Shane his job... oops. Nope. Shane got to run RAW for a month because... reasons. Obviously. Then Vince decided Steph should run it too. Because... reasons. I mean, it's better than the Authority, but nobody doubts that they're coming back, right? Might as well enjoy this arrangement while you can.
11. Vince McMahon signs Hulk Hogan.
In 1982, thanks to his cameo as wrestler Thunderlips in Rocky III, Hulk Hogan was getting to be quite popular. That was a problem for Vince McMahon Sr., who probably felt that no one man should be bigger than the wrestling business itself.
Hogan left for the AWA, where his popularity followed. One would assume the AWA take advantage of said popularity and make Hogan the AWA world champion. But one would be wrong. Two things went against him: Hulk wasn't a part of Verne Gagne's inner circle, and Hulk wasn't exactly representative of what Verne thought the AWA world champion should be (i.e. someone who could legit wrestle). I mean, Verne really was gonna put the world title on Hogan, but only if Hogan caved to Verne's demands, which included getting a piece of the gate he was getting from his Japanese bookings.
Hulk Hogan was (and is many things), but he's no idiot when it comes to his money. Seeing the writing on the wall, Hogan took his ball and went back to the WWF in late 1983, this time with Vince McMahon, Jr. in charge. The signing would only change wrestling as we knew it. Vince Jr. had wrestling world domination in his eyes, and Thunderlips would be the centerpiece of that plan. Within weeks of rejoining the company, Hulk Hogan was the WWF champion, and the rest as they say is history. By the end of the 1980s, Vince Jr.'s first big free-agent signing would become the face of professional wrestling in the United States. (pic via wwe.com)
10. Steve Blackman whacks-a-Shane.
Shane McMahon is a crazy person. He perhaps more than any of the other McMahons have put his body on the line for the sake of the craft. One example of this was at the criminally underrated Summerslam in 2000 when Shane McMahon took on Steve Blackman for the WWF Hardcore Championship.
The match had no business being any good. Shane was in no mood to fight Steve, but despite using Test and Albert as backups, Shane had to get what was coming to him, but bless his heart for trying to escape said beating. He climbed the scaffolding holding the Summerslam logo (the green double "S"es if you remember... it's this one), but the cheese of Head Cheese catches up to him. And he whacks Shane with a kendo stick. And he whacks Shane with a kendo stock. And he whacks Shane with a kendo stick. And he whacks Shane...
Oops, there he goes. 50 feet down. Shane go down hard. And to put the punctuation on it, Steve drops an elbow from the scaffolding onto an already dead Shane, and Steve wins the hardcore title.
The moral of the story: Shane McMahon is crazy. But crazy loses to kendo stick and crazy every time.
9. Vince McMahon performs "Stand Back".
Described by Rolling Stone in 2014 as "equal parts Tom Jones and mid-Eighties soda commercial soundtrack", Vince McMahon during the 1987 Slammy Awards graced us with one of the cheesiest--and awesomest--performances of any song ever, "Stand Back". It was the eighth track of the recently released Wrestling Album 2: Piledriver (and in fact, the only reason this show exists--it was a promotional tool for the record).
As it turned out, the track served a dual purpose: officially, it was a tribute to Andre the Giant. I mean... sure. It could be. But then you get to the lyrics:
They never understood the kind of man I am
I do my own thinking, I got a lot of big plans
Stand back! (Stand back!)
Stand back! (Stand back!)
All of you who wanna bring me down, I have news
Stand in my way, I promise you'll lose
Stand back! (Stand back!)
This was a direct shot to anyone who thought of challenging McMahon's plans for wrestling world domination. This was basically a diss track disguised as a tribute to the Eighth Wonder of the World. I mean, it's not Rusev-level good, but for 1987, this was worthy of a mic drop.
Oh, and did I mention Hulk Hogan on bass? George "The Animal" Steele with a tambourine! Randy Savage and Jake Roberts as part of the horn section! 1987!
The video has been used as a gag more than once in recent years, but because of Hulk Hogan's prominent place in the performance, it will probably remain in the vault for all of eternity, or at least the foreseeable future. Thank goodness for the Internet.
8. Stephanie calls Daniel Bryan a B+ player.
Daniel Bryan Danielson is about 5'9" and 210 pounds. But the man can outwrestle most anyone in the free world, and that's a shoot. On sheer ability alone, Bryan was considered to be the best wrestler in the world (in fact, he's so good, after he retired, he had a Wrestling Observer Newsletter award named after him). Most anywhere in the world, Daniel Bryan Danielson would be a world champion.
But WWE isn't most anywhere in the world. In WWE, size matters. One only needs to look at the history of the company to see who gets the biggest opportunities. It's more often than not the guys with muscles, and guys with muscles within muscles. Sure there are exceptions (Randy Savage, Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart, Chris Jericho), but overwhelmingly, simply having the body of an Adonis puts them in the fast lane of Vince's company.
As for people like Daniel Bryan Danielson: they're a solid hand, capable of delivering a good or great match in the middle of the show as a crowd pick-me-up. Someone for the "Internet fans" and the "average Joe" to rally around because they can relate to them more than say, a John Cena or Roman Reigns. It's an inconvenient truth Stephanie relayed to DBD:
"I mean, not everyone can be the face of the company. Not everyone can be WWE championship material. I mean, really, Daniel, you're like what? 5'8"? Maybe 200 pounds? And well, we can't all be supermodels, okay, but you know, the WWE Universe, they clearly love you. And hey, I mean, you have a place here. Daniel, you might not be an A, but you are a B plus. Solid B plus."
The "B plus" comment resonated among wrestling fans for one reason: in an honest moment, WWE really probably did think of Daniel Bryan as a "B+ player". That would kick off one of the most compelling storylines in recent memory in any wrestling company. And if it weren't for the masses at large, it would have had a very different ending than this (pic via wwe.com):
This is your occasional reminder that this ending was originally intended for Dave Batista.
7. When wedding vow renewals go wrong.
Stephanie McMahon hadn't had a whole lot of luck with weddings. There was this one time where The Undertaker kidnapped Stephanie and they tried the whole unholy wedding thing. And there's this one time where Test was supposed to marry Stephanie, but it turned out Triple H drugged her and did a whole drive-thru wedding thing that later turned out to be an elaborate ruse.
In early 2002, the relationship was on unsteady ground as Triple H was trying to rebound from a career-threatening quad injury. But that shaky ground was steadied by the announcement that Stephanie was pregnant. The happy couple decided to renew their wedding vows.
And if you know your history of weddings on WWE programming, you knew this wasn't going to end well. Hell, Stephanie's track record on wedding night alone should tell you this wasn't going to end well. On the day of the ceremony, Triple H through mommy-in-law Linda McMahon found out that the doctor that told Stephanie she was preggers... wasn't really a doctor at all. He was an actor. Ut oh.
The rabbit is out of the hole. The horse is out of the barn. The cat is out of the bag. The feces has hit the fan. Hunter was livid, you guys. He not only broke off the wedding vow renewal, he basically dumped Stephanie. And Stephanie's face...
Actually, let's add some lasers to that.
Ok, and a Godzilla roar...
6. McMahon peek-a-boo.
The McMahons are probably pretty creepy people. I don't know how else to explain the following. During a bloody street fight between Vince McMahon and Hulk Hogan at Wrestlemania XIX, McMahon looks under the ring for a weapon of mass destruction to the face of Hogan. Or... something.
In one of the most perfect shots of the evening... or in wrestling history for that matter, Vince emerges from under the ring with a lead pipe. And by emerge from under the ring...
Look, we give Kevin Dunn a lot of grief, and deservedly so. But you know, blind squirrels, nuts, that sorta thing.
Fast forward nearly 12 years to the day (in fact, it was a week shy of 12 years to the day), and we get the long-awaited sequel with Vince's daughter Stephanie.
None of the blood, but just as creepy. What the hell goes on in the McMahon household? You know what... never mind. I... I don't wanna know. (GIF via WrestlingwithText.com)
5. McMahon Family Night 2001.
By 2001, the McMahon family have gotten more screen time than most of the roster. If they weren't in the prime storyline of the moment, they were probably at 1a.
Vince McMahon, who had become a next level POS on television (he emotionally broke Linda McMahon, fired Mick Foley, AND began an on-screen relationship with Trish Stratus IN THE SAME MONTH, no less), had just purchased WCW. He was gonna take some time from the annual Showcase of the Immortals to finalize the deal. Small problem: Shane McMahon, who had recently returned to WWF television because he was tired of Vince's shit, beat papa Vince to the punch, making their already agreed-to street fight an even bigger deal.
Because the street fight had suddenly become the prologue of the Invasion story.
On April 1, 2001, the imminent WCW Invasion was the last thing on anyone's mind, as papa Vince was finally going to have to answer for his many sins... while his wife watched from a wheelchair...that was pushed by their daughter Stephanie (complete with an all-black outfit with the not-at-all-creepy "Daddy's Girl" on the back)... and son Shane delivered the beating. Oh, and Trish Stratus was there.
The peak of McMahonamania II (the first was a year prior when all four McMahons were managers for the Wrestlemania 2000 main event) comes when Vince forced a comatose and drugged up Linda to watch father deliver beating to son. Then Linda stood up. The drugs have clearly worn off. One step to the left and...
This is what happens when you don't protect yourself at all times, kids. Mick Foley, who was taken out a few minutes prior, gets a few free shots on his former boss, then Shane McMahon, crazy person...
Van Terminates Vince. A thrilling finish to one of the most cathartic beatings in the history of Wrestlemania. It's not every time when the McMahons are the show and it's fun. This was fun. Vince's face probably has a different opinion though.
4. Stephanie sings John Cena's theme.
The June 30, 2014 RAW opened with, surprise, an Authority segment, which was followed by, surprise, John Cena, who had won his 15th world title a night earlier at Money in the Bank.
But the day's big story was that WWE 2K15, the company's first foray into this generation's consoles, was going to have its big cover reveal. Previous years had the likes of The Rock, Daniel Bryan, Randy Orton, and CM Punk. I mean, if you've paid any attention to the covers recently, there was only one person that was getting it.
There. I feel better for putting that in a post.
But that wasn't the best part. The best part came a few seconds after when Stephanie lip-synched the admittedly catchy tune:
Come on. You can't help but sing and dance along to that. Admit it. (GIFs via enchantedwwe.tumblr.com) Seriously, how may times do you think Steph's done this when the camera wasn't on her? Ten? Twenty? About 1500?
Good thing you were proud of the cover; it was arguably the only good thing about the game.
3. Shane versus Kurt Angle, King of the Ring 2001.
A moment to remind you that Shane O'Mac is a crazy person.
Now that we've gotten that out of the way, in the spring of 2001, Shane McMahon paraded around his purchase of WCW, and that was something that Kurt Angle, real American hero and WWF guy through and through, wasn't going to stand for, by God.
It ultimately led to a street fight at the 2001 King of the Ring PPV. This match was already in the books on the show, but Angle heading into this match had already wrestled twice (a win over Christian in the KOTR tournament semifinals, then a loss to Edge in the final). Shane was fresh. Well...that was until the opening bell, when Kurt got the jump on him.
What went down for the next nearly half hour was some of the most brutal stuff ever seen on WWF programming. Shane whacks Kurt with the kendo stick. Shane leapfrogs Jim Ross, Paul Heyman, and the announce table. Shane misses a shooting star press and lands on a trash can. Shane suplexed Kurt onto the concrete, breaking his tailbone.
It's when they get on the stage the match turns uncomfortably violent. Kurt tries to belly-to-belly throw Shane through the glass... and it doesn't break. Shane lands on his goddamn head. Kurt tries again (mind you, Shane's encouraging him to do the spot because Shane is a crazy person), and this time the glass breaks. Behind the stage, Angle goes for the belly-to-belly overhead again through the glass. And it doesn't break. Kurt tries again. It doesn't break. Shane's landed on his head three times now thanks to the glass not breaking through. Then Kurt said screw it, and just chucked Shane-O-Mac through the glass. Surely the match was over when Angle got Shane back into the ring with help of an anvil case...
Shane kicked out, are you kidding me?
Shane had little left to give, ultimately succumbing to a top rope Olympic Slam in one of the most insane top rope finishers in the history of anything. Kurt gets the three, but in the eyes of many, Shane put on his magnum opus that night. If you have about a half hour to kill, seek the match out and watch the brutality.
Or you can watch this Confidential feature from 2002 about said match. I mean, your call.
2. Vince McMahon is the higher power.
This moment has been covered in past Cageside Countdowns, but I'll deliver a summary for you.
In early 1999, The Undertaker formed the Ministry of Darkness, with the mission to get controlling interest of the WWF from Vince McMahon using any means necessary. So what if it meant sacrificing people, using the blood of others, and kidnapping bosses' daughters for the purpose of marrying them and taking their souls? It's not like The Undertaker really wanted to do it (he probably did, but just go with it); he was just following orders from a higher power. Evil Satanic cult leader following orders from eviler Satanic cult leader? Seems legit.
Every time Undertaker referenced the higher power (especially after the Ministry merged with the Corporation), he would look so slightly towards Shane. That's a tell, kids. We all assumed Shane was the Higher Power, the man behind all the chaos. When the reveal of who the higher power was, we were right, it was a McMahon.
AWW SON OF A BITCH! (WHAT!?!?!??!!?!?!)
IT'S ME AUSTIN! IT WAS ME, ALL ALONG AUSTIN!
Just not the McMahon we quite expected. It was a confusing, jumbled mess that made absolutely no sense, not even in the littlest bit. Why would Vince McMahon orchestrate his own beatdowns? Why would Vince McMahon orchestrate the hanging of one of his own? WHY WOULD VINCE MCMAHON ORCHESTRATE THE KIDNAPPING AND SHOTGUN WEDDING OF HIS OWN DAUGHTER?
And more importantly, why would Stone Cold know who the Higher Power was one week before the rest of the world? And that, boys and girls, is where the plan goes to die. As Jason Lee in Dogma once said, you never give away the details of your plot no matter how close you are to winning.
Those seven days gave Austin enough time to rat him out to Mama Linda and daughter Stephanie, who in turn sell their half of the company to Austin because... well, reasons. I mean, I could see why Stephanie would do it. And Linda because... tell ya what, when you figure it out, let me know. The moral of the story, kids: parents don't let their kids marry undead Satanic cult leaders. I mean, that's just common sense.
1. Vince McMahon tears both quads at once.
The first rule of WWE is nobody upstages a McMahon. Ever.
Second rule is don't botch the finish of one of the most important matches of the year. In 2005, Batista and John Cena violated that second rule at the conclusion of the Royal Rumble match. The finish was supposed to go like this: Batista lifted Cena up and more or less powerbombed him out of the ring, leaving the Animal of Evolution as the sole survivor. But the momentum of said lift carried both men out of the ring, with both men serendipitously landing at the same time. Kinda. Sorta.
But it was so close to the naked eye, they might as well have gone out at the same time. For the next minute, referees from RAW and Smackdown argued their guy won (RAW referees in favor of Batista, Smackdown referees in favor of Cena). Then out came Vince McMahon, who power walked his way in. Then as he slid in the ring, his lower legs gave out. At the exact same time. McMahon was reduced to a sitting position with the main event of Wrestlemania hanging in the balance and 11pm ET fast approaching.
The reason Vince was in a sitting position all of a sudden: Vince tore his quads. Both of them. At the same time. Kevin Nash tore A quad. Triple H tore A quad. Vince McMahon tore TWO QUADS AT ONCE. Oh, and while he was sitting down, six other people had to quickly and on the fly plan a finish. Eventually, Charles Robinson relays the news to Howard Finkel that the final two restart the ending.
A Batista Bomb is countered into an F-U, which is then countered into a spinebuster. A few seconds later, Batista chucks Cena out, and the Animal is on to the main event of Wrestlemania.
In interviews since that night in Fresno, multiple people, including Cena, Batista, and writer Dave Lagana all confirmed the ending you saw was not the intended finish. Oh, and while said finish was happening, Vince walked to the back. WALKED. That's freaking mental. It's also the best McMahon moment ever. Because when you think of the first family of sports entertainment, you think of weak quads.
Miss anything? Speak out about it in the comments.