In 1972, Vincent Kennedy McMahon decided to dive into the pro wrestling world by commentating for his father, professional wrestling promoter Vince McMahon, Sr. After attending Fishburne Military School, the Pinehurst, North Carolina native eventually graduated from East Carolina University.
To capitalize on his degree in marketing, Vince convinced his father to start assisting him in promoting events for his company, Capitol Wrestling Corporation. After working in a TV role for his father’s World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF) as an announcer, Vince bought the company 10 years later.
After purchasing the company, Vince changed the name to the World Wrestling Federation (WWF), and began the expansion of the company from local to national. His father passed away in 1984, and the following year – just three years after purchasing the company – Vince made a major gamble by starting the WrestleMania series on March 31, 1985, at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Thankfully, with the help of major stars Hulk Hogan, Mr. T. Muhammad Ali, Roddy Piper, and Andre the Giant, the event was a major success, and spawned the biggest annual event in the company ever since.
WWF Continues to Grow and Gain National Exposure
During the WrestleMania series, Vince McMahon has also worked with President Donald Trump, as both WrestleMania IV and V were held at the Historic Atlantic City Convention Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey. During this time, McMahon also introduced three other major annual events — Royal Rumble, SummerSlam, and Survivor Series.
In 1999, McMahon continued his global mission by going public. At this point, as reported by CNN Money, superstars such as Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Undertaker propelled WWF to pull in a revenue of $251.5 million with a net income of $56 million. Also at this time, WWF was heavily involved in the Monday Night Wars with World Championship Wrestling (WCW), while also transitioning from pro wrestling into more of a sports entertainment brand.
Along with Austin and Undertaker, other wrestlers such as The Rock, Mick Foley, and Triple H, as well as the success of Monday Night Raw and advent of WWE SmackDown, were key components to WWF expanding outside the United States and into a global brand. In 2001, Vince changed WWF to World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), and even further emphasized promoting the company as a sports entertainment brand.
Who Takes Over WWE When Vince Steps Down?
Even though Vince has expanded WWE to become a global entity over the past four decades, it is still a family business. When WWE opened its offices in 1983, there were only 13 employees. Now, this number has exponentially expanded to over 800 full-time employees, based out of the corporate office in Stamford, Connecticut. Along with Raw, SmackDown, NXT, and the WWE Network, WWE has a very large digital and social media presence as well.
With the American football return of the XFL in 2020, the WWE Chairman will be splitting his commitments between both brands. Since becoming the boss in 1982, his wife Linda McMahon, son Shane McMahon, and daughter Stephanie McMahon have all been employees of WWE. Even Shane’s wife, Marissa Mazzola, was involved in the company from 1999-2001, before leaving to focus on her career as a film producer.
Currently, Stephanie is the only child with an executive role as the Chief Brand Officer. Stephanie’s husband and Vince’s son-in-law, 14-time world champion Triple H, is currently the Executive Vice President of Talent, Live Events, and Creative, and the mastermind behind the NXT brand.
Since Paul Levesque (Triple H) is significantly reducing his days as a professional wrestler, he is a strong candidate of becoming the heir apparent to Vince McMahon’s global empire. This past summer, WWE created the roles of Executive Director of WWE Raw and SmackDown, which was filled by Paul Heyman and Eric Bischoff, respectively. Since then, Bischoff has left the company, after only four months. Bruce Prichard is now in this role. Triple H has still remained in charge of NXT, which is a brand that he has been very instrumental in the growth since its inception in 2010.
Vince McMahon has experienced quite a successful career as the WWE Chairman, even adding reigns with the WWF Championship and ECW Championship to his business resume. At 74, it is time for the self-proclaimed “genetic jackhammer” and Hollywood Walk of Fame honoree to make some major transitions as to who will be his successor.
For the past several years, Triple H has been groomed by the billionaire “Mr. McMahon.” Whether it be a television storyline, or a quiet transition backstage, Triple H, who entered the WWE in 1995 as a Greenwich aristocrat, has built his resume to a shoo-in WWE Hall of Fame inductee and possible heir to the McMahon throne.