Billion Dollar Handshake

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February 15, 2007

In a matter of moments, the sports-entertainment world was turned upside down during Raw. WWE Chairman Vince McMahon was humiliated and embarrassed on his own turf by fellow billionaire, TV star and owner of one of the most bizarre heads of hair in all of show-business, Donald Trump.

The shocking events unfolded at the opening of the show, as Mr. McMahon ordered the capacity crowd at Portland's Rose Garden Arena to welcome his "close personal friend" Donald Trump to the ring. A few moments later, the frenzied Raw crowd bared witness to a historic scene as two of the world's largest egos managed to occupy the same squared circle.

Prior to becoming the star of NBC's hit show The Apprentice, Trump appeared on WWE programming on several occasions. The real estate tycoon hosted WrestleMania IV and V from his world-famous Trump Plaza in Atlantic City. However, until "The Donald" walked the Raw ramp on Monday night with Playboy cover girls Ashley and Torrie at his side (whom Mr. McMahon subsequently forced to leave), the controversial media icon had never stepped foot in a WWE ring.

That ring, which is a second home to the McMahon family, was intended to be the backdrop of one of the Chairman's proudest moments. Seeking revenge for Trump's actions of a few weeks ago on "Fan Appreciation Night," the delusional billionaire had planned to bestow upon The Donald one of sports-entertainment's most degrading honors: immediate membership and forced entry into the dubious Mr. McMahon Kiss My Ass Club. Little did good ol' Vinnie Mac know that just a few minutes later, the tables would turn and he would suffer his own ultimate humiliation.

WWE fans may know Donald Trump as a rich and pompous reality-TV star, but during Raw, they were introduced to Trump's competitive side. Unmoved by McMahon's intimidating glare and unwelcoming words, including a few in which he accused Trump of stealing his famous catch phrase "You're Fired!", The Donald laid out an offer for McMahon.

"I am here to challenge you to a match at WrestleMania," said Trump, "and I am going to kick your ass!"

Despite WWE fans' overwhelming approval of Trump's challenge, the Chairman immediately rejected the offer. Suspiciously citing "doctors orders", Mr. McMahon claimed that his "damaged pelvis" and "broken coccyx" would prevent him from any further in-ring combat. However, The Donald's brazen challenge apparently jarred something loose as McMahon responded with an offer of his own. 

"I have a proposal for you," muttered the Chairman. "Why don't I find someone to represent me, and you find someone to represent you?"

"You're on!" responded Trump. "But let's make this a little more interesting. As you know, I have quite possibly the most famous head of hair in the world, and for years, people have questioned if yours is even real!"    

Seemingly driven by the encouraging pleas of Portland's WWE fanatics, Trump continued.

"At WrestleMania, if my guy loses, you can shave my head," said the fired-up billionaire. "But if your guy loses, I'm going to shave your head!"

Before Trump could even finish his thought, the flustered Chairman again rejected the offer, and in the process insisted to The Donald that his trademark coif was, in fact, real. 

The Chairman's repeated rejections quickly drew the ire of the WWE's vocal fans. A thunderous chorus of boos filled the arena, and McMahon couldn't have been more pleased. Seemingly realizing that he would have to resort to Plan B, Trump dropped a bombshell that shook Mr. McMahon to his core.

"I'm disappointed, Vince," said Trump, "I've known you for a long time, and until now I thought you had guts. But I was wrong, you don't have any guts."

With those words, McMahon's once-impenetrable outer shell was violated. The image of an aggressive, ruthless and feared sports-entertainment dictator was shattered in the middle of the WWE ring.

"You've got a deal!" shouted the disgruntled Chairman.

With those words, the two had a bitter handshake, and a match was made. WrestleMania 23 will host the first-ever Battle of the Billionaires, and the stakes couldn't be higher.

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