We’ve heard for years, from multiple WWE announcers and commentators, about how Vince McMahon will direct them during broadcasts.
Based on what we know about McMahon’s personality and management style, it was always assumed those instructions probably included some yelling, and pointed criticism. But usually the talents talking about their experience will brush it off as no big deal, or just the boss being the boss.
During her recent chat with Ariel Helwani, however, Renee Paquette shared a specific instance of having Vince “in her ear”. And it doesn’t sound fun!
“I wasn’t on commentary for this moment, but it was after I was on commentary and I was doing a panel. They cut to us in between the show. Tyson Fury was on the show when he was doing a stint in WWE. It was me, Samoa Joe, Booker T, and Beth Phoenix. I was throwing to a package and I said, ‘The Gypsy King Tyson Fury,’ throw to package.
“[Vince] is in my ear and he goes, ‘You fucking ruined it!’ Screaming at me, telling me that I ruined this segment because I did not refer to Tyson Fury as the lineal champion. I referred to him as the Gypsy King. So he’s screaming at me and at this point, I’m over it. I had done the commentary thing and I’m a little hardened to all the circumstances. He’s yelling at me about this and I’m looking down at my notes, maybe I’m looking to Samoa Joe and I’m taking this information in my ear and he thinks I’m ignoring him, so he yells at me again. ‘Do you hear me? Acknowledge that you hear me!’ He wanted me to like look into the camera and be like, ‘Yes sir, I hear you, I understand you, I apologize.’
“Just to be yelled at like that for a small... I don’t want to say mistake, it’s not a mistake, I just didn’t call him the lineal champion. I didn’t know it was that necessary and I had ruined the run of Tyson Fury in WWE by not calling him that. To be yelled at like that in front of your peers was pretty demoralizing. To be yelled at that I had ruined the segment, I felt bad about it. Then we had to come back and do an on-cam and I wanted to pull off my headset and just literally go home. At that point, I had just had it.”
When Helwani asked how she dealt with situations like that, the former Renee Young replied:
“I don’t think I ever cried at that. There are times I had cried during my duration in WWE, for sure, but as far as being yelled at and being upset, not so much. It’s shocking. It’s jarring to be yelled at like that as a grown-ass woman. ‘Wait, you’re talking to me like that? What the fuck?’
“You almost find like comedy in it, to a degree. Like, ‘this is happening?’ It’s also, you’re sitting there with your crew and they understand what’s happening and we’re all on the same page. As much as it can be embarrassing, we also all understand the circumstances in which we’re working so we can roll our eyes at each other and go, ‘Okay, he’s on one today, I guess we have to take it on the chin.’
“That’s more what that is. As much as I say those moments happen and you hear the stories of Vince yelling in someone’s ear, by the time you walk back through Gorilla at the end of the show, he’s over it. It’s not like he’s holding onto this grudge like, ‘You did this terrible thing and now I hate you forever.’ It doesn’t really work like that. Sometimes, it does, but usually, by the end of the show, he’s moved on to the next thing, it’s not on his radar. It’s that knee-jerk reaction to yell at you.”
Ariel wanted to know if McMahon every apologizes after one of his tirades. Renee said:
“God no. Not that I can remember. That’s not the way that it works there [WWE]. I do have regrets that I didn’t talk to him more about that. Especially the Tyson Fury thing. That was one, of just being screamed at like that, where I really wish I went to Gorilla, at that point I knew I was kinda out of there, it was crazy. I wish I had gone back and had a conversation with him a little bit more to just like clarify. Maybe that would have made my relationship with him better. Me turning a little more insular like, ‘I’m just going to avoid him now, he screamed at me, I’d rather not talk to him,’ I should have gone the other way and probably addressed him and maybe he would have respected me more if I had done that.”
It sounds like the kind of behavior that most of the entertainment industry is trying to eliminate. But as with most things WWE, it’s probably just the way things will be there for the rest of VKM’s lifetime.