Vince McMahon is petty. I could realistically end the article now and most WWE fans who came up in the Attitude Era and still watch would agree. By osmosis, the WWE is petty. Full on P-E to the T-T-Y level petty. There are a couple of standout moments that support this notion, but we want to examine the heights (or lengths, or depths for that matter) that Vince McMahon will go to to be petty.
Now there are a lot of rumored moments of pettiness that WWE and Vince more specifically have been accused of over the years. Here are a few honorable mentions before we get to the list (trust me, this list could be much longer):
Suspending Enzo Amore in a shark cage above the ring – Rumor is that Enzo is afraid of heights and the idea of suspending him above the ring was intentional because of all the backstage issues Enzo has been having/causing
Roman Reigns retiring The Undertaker – No matter how much we the fans hate/d on Roman, Vince still went full steam ahead with having Roman add another loss to Taker’s Wrestlemania record and all but officially retiring the dead man at this year’s event.
Banning of words – It’s a title, not a belt. It’s sports entertainment, not wrestling. They are superstars, not wrestlers. WWE is global, not international.
New Day breaks Demolition’s Record
Okay, we are going to start with a relatively underrated example. Back in 2015 The New Day, consisting of Kofi Kingston, Big E Langston and Xavier Woods, won the WWE Tag Team Championships. It was initially anticipated that maybe they would have a decent run and then drop the belts at some point to either Enzo & Cass, Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson, the Usos or any one of the other tag teams floating around the division. But then fate (and pettiness) stepped in and propelled the trio to the longest reign in WWE history. As the victories and title retentions started to pile up for The New Day, people naturally began to wonder in they would threaten Demolition’s longstanding record for longest tag title reign. Demolition showed up on WWE to discuss the chase and everything seemed cool. Then fall turned to winter, winter to spring and spring to summer – all the while New Day remained champs. By post-Wrestlemania season 2016 it became clear that New Day was either beating the record or were going to get awfully close before giving another team a major rub from preventing New Day from breaking the record. Then news came out that Demolition was a part of the concussion lawsuit against WWE. For any longtime fan, we knew at that point the record was gone. Vince, having showed his propensity for pettiness over the years, was clearly all systems go with the breaking of the record as he eschewed many natural (and necessary) storyline moments to have them lose the belts. They could have lost to Enzo & Cass during Wrestlemania season or to the newly debuted Gallows & Anderson and either would have made sense. But no, Vince had to be petty. Now, one can argue that The New Day deserved to break the record (let’s be clear, I am not mad that they now hold the record, I love New Day, I have the merch to prove it) which is fair, but knowing Vince like I think I do, this was just him being petty. Also important to note, Demolition is not yet in WWE’s Hall of Fame.
The Self-Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior
P-E to the T-T-Y. Look, everyone who has ever heard anyone from the 90s talk honestly about their WWE experience has more or less agreed that Ultimate Warrior was a lot to handle and was a headcase. But for Vince to go as far as producing a documentary bearing that name and using it as an opportunity to tell a one-sided (Vince’s side, naturally) version of events to make Warrior look bad and paint him as the villain was Vince once again being petty Vince. Now, Warrior was not blameless in the disintegration of he and Vince’s relationship. In 1991, Warrior held Vince over a barrel for a more lucrative contract with a boatload of incentives or else he would skip the upcoming SummerSlam event. This was at a time when Hogan was getting ready to move on from WWE so Warrior knew he had all the leverage in the world. Vince relented (albeit temporarily) just so he could have Warrior at SummerSlam. Vince then suspended Warrior which eventual led to his first departure. There was a return and some more animosity that eventually led to his second departure and Warrior’s lawsuit against the WWE for the rights to the name, gimmick and everything associated with it. Somehow, (read: amazingly because Vince never loses) Warrior won the case and moved on. Over a decade later, WWE apparently reached out to Warrior to do a documentary on his career. Warrior didn’t want to be involved and turned them down. Vince, once again being petty Vince constructed the DVD in a way that painted Warrior in such an unflattering manner that Warrior (for a second time) sued WWE for libel. The suit was eventually dismissed and Warrior at long last returned to WWE to be the pre-order bonus superstar for the WWE 2K14 video game and to be inducted to the company’s Hall of Fame. Sadly, Warrior passed away the Tuesday after Wrestlemania 30. While it was admirable and heartwarming to see Vince and Warrior patch it up and for Warrior to have his moment in the sun, the dvd Vince produced in 2005 remains one his pettier moments.
Vince Bret Screwed Bret
Ahh, the Montreal Screwjob. This angle is truly the gift that keeps on giving. It marks an important moment in Bret’s real-life feud with Shawn Michaels, Bret’s career, the birth of “Mr. McMahon”, the Monday Night Wars, the discussion of loyalty and so many other discussions. For the sake of this conversation however, we will focus on the pettiness (and paranoia) of one Vincent Kennedy McMahon. As the story goes, the week before Survivor Series 1997 (yes, this year marks 20 years since this happened, damn I’m old) Bret Hart signed a lucrative contract with WCW. He was in the midst of a WWE title run and was scheduled to defend the title at Survivor Series in the main event against Shawn Michaels – his most fierce and hated (real-life and onscreen) rival. Vince did not want Bret to leave the WWE as its champion but Bret did not want to lose to Shawn, in Canada. To be fair, Bret said he was willing to do one more show and lose the title but not under the circumstances which were at hand at Survivor Series. So Vince, wary of having another star leave with a WWE title in their possession agreed to have Hart lose by DQ which would not result in him losing the title and then have Bret lose or forfeit the title at a later date. Behind the scenes, Vince grew more and more uncomfortable with the agreed upon plan. It is still unclear as to who all were involved, but ultimately it was decided that the referee would indicate that Hart submitted while Shawn had him in Bret’s own finisher (the submission was already an agreed upon part of the match, the tap out was not). Bret, understandably, snapped, spitting in McMahon’s face, confronting him in the locker room, knocking him out and basically ending their business relationship in the most aggressive way possible. Most notably, this incident led to the birth of the Mr. McMahon evil owner character and the coining of the infamous phrase “Bret screwed Bret”. Like Warrior, Bret eventually reconciled with WWE and Vince with Bret being inducted into WWE’s Hall of Fame and even burying the hatched with Shawn on live tv.
Vince fires CM Punk on his Wedding Day
This example and the next (possible) one are probably the height of Vince’s pettiness, at least to modern-day WWE fans. Back in the summer of 2011, CM Punk was on top of the WWE (it feels like a lifetime ago now). Punk, having messed around as the leader of the New Nexus for a few months, finally got out of the doldrums by becoming the number one contender for John Cena’s WWE Championship. Then on June 27, 2011 everything changed:
The Summer of Punk was (mostly) a success that eventually led to Punk’s historic reign with the WWE championship of 434 days recognized as the sixth longest of all time and the longest of the modern era. Fans fell in love with Punk and were excited to see someone with such a strong indie background finally getting this level of support from the WWE. Unfortunately, this reign and his treatment during it was one of the focal points of Punk’s eventual WWE departure. For as long as Punk was WWE champion he was also treated as somewhat of an afterthought when it came to pay-per-view main events. Beginning with his title victory at Survivor Series 2011 (which was supplanted by The Rock teaming with John Cena to take on The Miz & R-Truth) Punk only main evented 5 of the 16 pay=per-view events that took place during his reign. During that same time frame John Cena (champion of nothing) main evented 10 ppvs. Also of note, two of Punk’s five main events were with Cena meaning that without Cena, Punk only main evented three ppvs in that span. Think about that. Can you imagine any other time in WWE history where its primary champion only main evented 5 of 16 main events? I’d venture to say it has NEVER happened. That, coupled with part-timers like The Rock, Batista and Brock Lesnar (part-timers) stealing away Wrestlemania and other high profile main event spots, led to a very disgruntled Punk. Once you add in Punk’s issues with how some of his injuries were handled during this run and immediately after and the goal of “getting Roman over” and having to fight a “green” Ryback his time with WWE came to a swift and abrupt halt. At the Raw after Royal Rumble 2014, CM Punk told Vince McMahon and HHH that we was done with WWE. He talked about the toxic environment that they created and his frustration with the same. That was the last time Punk set foot in WWE. At the time, however, Punk was still under contract with WWE. And thus we get to the next instance and probably the pettiest move Vince has ever pulled. On June 13, 2014 CM Punk and AJ Lee got married. This was also the day that Vince delivered CM Punk’s walking papers. Now, I don’t know about you, but getting fired on your wedding day is about the pettiest thing that one human can do to another. And as much as Vince tries to say that this was an accident or a mix-up, his history tells us that this was intentional and deliberate. It has now been just over three years since this all went down and we are probably no closer to a resolution between the two and a CM Punk return. History may have shown us that eventually everyone gets a second chance with WWE, but with Punk it seems like no one gets a second chance with him. So in this case, we may have very well seen the last of CM Punk. This is especially so if the last (potential) example on this list proves true.
P.S. I really don’t think he is coming back.
Jinder Mahal becomes Longest-Reigning WWE Champion
Now, I brought this up jokingly in one of my recent articles and/or a recent episode of OTTB. But man, the longer this goes, the more I think it is quite possible that Vince Kennedy P-E-T-T-Y McMahon will prolong this Jinder Mahal title run just long enough that breaking Punk’s record becomes a possibility. And once we are within range, he will push full steam ahead to have Mahal break that record. Rumors already have it that Jinder will hold the title at least until and possibly through WWE’s India tour in December. That puts us at roughly 224 days. So let’s say that WWE decides, you know what, let’s delay Shinsuke’s coronation to Wrestlemania. That puts us at roughly 322 days. So let’s say they then decide, ehh, Money in the Bank is around the corner, let’s hold off on Shinsuke a little more time and run back the storyline everyone thought we were gonna get – which was Shinsuke winning the title and being immediately cashed on by Mr. MITB. The end of June would be roughly 400 days. WWE would literally then only need to wait one more month to have Mahal break the record. Now, given all of that and given the pettiness of one Vincent K. McMahon, don’t you think that that is at least feasible? By the way, when yall get angry at me, make sure you recognize that it is because you know that what I am saying has a possibility of happening and that is why you’re mad. I’m gonna go cry in my cereal now and pray this doesn’t happen.