Name: Vincent James McMahon
Year Inducted: 2004
Induction Category: Non-Participant

Vince J. McMahon

For nearly a hundred years, where the promotion of sport in America is concerned, there always has been a McMahon É from the family patriarch, Roderick James (Jess) McMahon, on down through several generations to the present-day maestro of the WWE mat, Vincent Kennedy McMahon, and his well known offspring, Shane and Stephanie. But the link to McMahons past and McMahons present is our subject here: Vincent James McMahon, son of Jess, and father of "Vinnie."

Because his dad was a big-time promoter, and boxing matchmaker at the third (1925) Madison Square Garden, young Vince, from the age of 11, was intimately familiar with "the worldŐs most famous arena." And, following his fatherŐs footsteps, he would promote ring shows at this same Garden, putting on his first MSG wrestling card in 1956.

First, though, he apprenticed in the New York office of father Jess, helping out with the boxing and wrestling shows, and other promotions. In 1945, he went into business on his own in Washington, D.C., eventually setting up shop in the Franklin Park Hotel. For years, he ran the concessions for DC wrestling boss Joe Turner and, not long after the latterŐs death, purchased the wrestling promotion to run himself.

He established what was called the World Wide Wrestling Federation(WWWF),which today is known as World Wrestling Entertainment(WWE). Vincent J. McMahon signed a deal with WTTG (Channel 5) to televise wrestling shows from the renamed Capitol Arena every Thursday night. The weekly broadcasts were syndicated throughout the east and, eventually, led to a family monopoly on virtually all wrestling in Madison Square Garden, as well as all major mat shows in the region. In the 20-plus years since he sold out the operation to his son, a worldwide professional wrestling franchise has developed.

Vince "the elder" was a nattily dressed man - known to his employees as "a sweetheart" . He liked nothing better in life than promoting wrestling shows, which he did with consummate class. Death claimed him in 1984 at the age of sixty-nine. Arguably, no one ever promoted wrestling much better, which is probably why Philadelphia Observer columnist Nat Frank dubbed him, as long ago as 1964, "the recognized top man in all grappledom."

- J. MICHAEL KENYON



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