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Why you can’t sneeze in front of Vince McMahon

It’s an anecdote which gets passed around a lot by WWE and wrestling fans... you should never sneeze in front of Vince McMahon. Usually this is explained as being because WWE’s Chairman & CEO thinks you should have enough control over yourself to not let your nasal passages take over your body, even for an instance.

But that may not be the real reason, according to actor and former WWE Creative team member Freddie Prinze Jr. In a chat with ESPN’s Ariel Helwani on his MMA Show, the two men talked a lot of pro wrestling, including Prinze reiterating a tale from his sometime contentious relationship with John Cena.

It was on the issue of Vince and sneezing that Freddie got into the boss’ psyche, however:

Helwani: True or false you can not sneeze in front of Vince McMahon, he views it as a sign of weakness. Is that true?

Prinze: Not weakness, but he hates germs and he finds it disgusting. So it’s not a sign of weakness. He’s not this alpha personality that everybody thinks. He’s an omega personality. Like the best way to figure this out - alpha, beta, omega. That’s not a dumb actor telling you stuff, that’s Sigmund Freud. And everybody possess all three, but there’s a dominant trait.

And the easiest way to tell which one someone is is to compliment or criticize them... and the omega personality, which is what Vince is, is the long-term thinker. [someone approaches McMahon and says] “Vince, WWE’s the best!”

“What does he want from me?” That’s all they think about. You’re not affecting how they feel about the product, they’re only thinking end game, and that’s what Vince is. He works backwards. We write the how from WrestleMania backwards. ‘Here are the four matches that I want, get me there.’ And we would be like... give it our best shot.”

Insights into what makes the man who built a global sports entertainment empire tick will also be interesting. This one is timely though, as Vince just told investors he hired Executive Directors Eric Bischoff & Paul Heyman so he can “look at longer range story arcs and work on character development, versus being in the weeds.”

Will WWE’s longer-term story arcs improve with Vince dedicating more time and energy to them?

At least he won’t risk any sick days since no one will be sneezing around him.