Vince McMahon stepping into the ring for the first time a sight to behold and was the culmination of a journey that began in childhood. While he grew up in a trailer park with an abusive mother and stepfather, McMahon soon followed his dream and joined his father in the professional wrestling business.
Ever since he was a boy, he wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps and join the wrestling business. However, Vince McMahon Sr. was a promoter, not a pro-wrestler and as such dissuaded his son from stepping inside the ring.
Instead, he was deployed as a ring announcer, eventually moving over to the commentary desk.
Between those times, he purchased the WWE from his father and became the chairman of the company, gaining control over every aspect of the promotion – including who gets to wrestle.
He could finally achieve his dream of being a wrestler. However, he would bide his time and wait for the right moment to make his debut, not doing so unless the company was in danger of going under and the story absolutely demanded it.
Luckily both those things happened and we saw Vince McMahon’s first wrestling match on this day, 24 years ago.
Vince McMahon’s First Match
On the April 13, 1998, episode of Monday Night Raw, Vince McMahon wrestled in his first ever wrestling match in the WWE. He fought his debut bout at the age of 52, making him perhaps the oldest wrestler to ever make his debut.
The match was one of the most anticipated in Raw history and was seen as one of the most important moments in the Monday Night Wars.
It would be the first encounter between Mr McMahon and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin in their endless battle in the height of the Attitude Era.
It pitted the evil boss versus the every man, beer-swilling, ass-kicking redneck who inspired a nation in the late 1990s.
He had done all he could to put down Austin over the previous months, declaring him not to be the person he wanted to hold the WWE Championship. He used his power as the Chairman of the WWE to screw Austin at every turn, with the help of wrestlers like The Rock, The Undertaker and many more.
Fans were so sick of his meddling that they couldn’t wait to see Stone Cold get his hands on him.
Well, hand. So desperate to beat up his rival, Austin agreed to put his world title on the line with one hand tied behind his back. This gave McMahon a believable chance to win the belt and make history in his first ever match.
The match was a bit of a farce. No actual wrestling occurred and it was purely a rouse to get Austin in a vulnerable position for his PPV opponent Dude Love (Mick Foley) to attack him without reply.
The match thrown out and declared a non-contest, so in a way McMahon remained undefeated after his first match.
He had a few matches that year, but his most impressive performance was the 1999 Royal Rumble.
In just his fourth match ever, Mr McMahon entered at number 2 and won the entire thing, becoming the oldest winner of the match in history, at aged 53. His Wrestlemania title shot was won by Steve Austin, so the big win was not in vein.
That’s not to say McMahon was not successful. In 1999, Vince McMahon defeated Triple H to win the WWE Championship in one of the most shocking moments in WWE, thanks to the help of his old rival Steve Austin.
He also won the ECW Championship in 2007 from Bobby Lashley, leading on from his feud with Donald Trump at Wrestlemania 23. This made him just one of four men to win both the WWE Championship and ECW Championship, joining Rob Van Dam, The Big Show and CM Punk in holding that great honour.
Amazingly, Vince McMahon wrestled his final match well into his 70s, 24-years after making his debut in a WWE ring. At WrestleMania 38, he came out of retirement to take on Pat McAfee, in front of tens of thousands of screaming fans. With help from Austin Theory, he won the bout by kicking a football into McAfee’s stomache, pinning him for the victory.
However, the whole thing soon came full circle from Vince McMahon’s first match in the WWE. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, who was McMahon debut opponent in the WWE, came out for a surprise appearance (although he wrestled his final match the night prior) to drink a beer and hit Vince McMahon with one last “Stone Cold Stunner”.
It may have been the worst sell of all time by McMahon, but it was a great end to a last match that ended how his first match began.
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.