Remembering Mr. McMahon

Remembering Mr. McMahon

Monday's Raw will be a special three-hour edition dedicated to the memory of the presumed deceased WWE Chairman, Mr. McMahon. 

In honor of Raw's memorial episode, takes a look back at the storied history of Mr. McMahon.

Mr. McMahon's career started in 1972, as he promoted his first professional wrestling event. The next year, McMahon was asked by his father to take an on-camera position with the World Wide Wrestling Federation, his father's Northeast promotion.

In 1982, McMahon purchased his father's company and renamed it World Wrestling Federation. Through the use of emerging television technologies and use of videotape, McMahon spread WWE's syndicated television shows across the nation and around the world.

In the 1980s, with a roster of larger-than-life Superstars, including legendary Hall of Famers such as Hulk Hogan, Bret "Hitman" Hart and Andre the Giant, WWE launched successful pay-per-view events such as WrestleMania, SummerSlam, Survivor Series and the Royal Rumble.

McMahon also helped to bring WWE programming to national broadcast television, launching Saturday Night's Main Event on NBC.

In 1993, McMahon changed the face of WWE forever by creating Monday Night Raw, the longest-running episodic cable program in history.

McMahon spent much of the ‘80s and ‘90s behind the announce table, calling the action with a wide array of colorful commentators, not bringing to light the fact that the play-by-play voice of WWE was also the man calling the shots for the company.

But it was an incident in 1997 that broke down that wall. As competition grew from Ted Turner's World Championship Wrestling, some Superstars made the jump from WWE to WCW.

As WWE Champion Bret "Hitman" Hart was about to leave the company for WCW, a decision was made by McMahon to take the title off of Hart. The "Montreal Incident" at Survivor Series 1997 involved McMahon calling for the bell as Hart was in a Shawn Michaels submission hold. 

In that incident, WWE fans saw for the first time McMahon's power and authority first-hand in the ring, planting the seeds of Mr. McMahon's egotistical, domineering owner persona that developed into the next millennium.

In later years, Mr. McMahon would wield his authority as owner in more public fashion, attempting to reign in boisterous Superstars.

"Stone Cold" Steve Austin gave McMahon all he could handle, leading McMahon to enter the ring in 1998 to face The Texas Rattlesnake man-to-man. Though their first encounter ended in a no-contest, McMahon would go on to win the 1999 Royal Rumble, and face Austin in the steel-cage main event of the St. Valentine's Day Massacre.

In 1999, McMahon took WWE public on the New York Stock Exchange. The successful public offering gave the owner a new title -- "Chairman of the Board."

While Austin was a perennial thorn in McMahon's paw, the greatest challenges of the Chairman's career might have come from his own bloodline.

In 1999, he saw his daughter Stephanie marry D-Generation X leader Triple H right before her own wedding to Test. Stephanie later double-crossed Mr. McMahon as he looked for revenge on Triple H.

In 2001, Mr. McMahon faced his own son Shane at WrestleMania X-Seven in front of a comatose Linda McMahon. Days before, it was announced that Shane had purchased rival WCW out from under his father. 

Later that summer, Shane paired with Stephanie, who had purchased ECW, to create The Alliance faction and begin an invasion of WWE. McMahon had to appeal to past enemies in the locker room to help fend off the threat at Survivor Series. 

The next night, Mr. McMahon inducted William Regal into the "Kiss My Ass Club" -- the first of many Superstars over the years.

Over the years, Mr. McMahon found championship success in his forays into the ring, winning the WWE Championship (in September 1999) and the ECW World Title (in April 2007). 

Also, in a memorable match, he tried to end Hulkamania, squaring off against WWE Hall of Famer Hulk Hogan in a Street Fight at WrestleMania XIX.

His most unflattering moment also came inside the ring, as the Chairman was shaved bald by Donald Trump, Stone Cold Steve Austin and Bobby Lashley after losing the Battle of the Billionaires at WrestleMania 23.

Despite those setbacks, Mr. McMahon's legacy inside and outside the ring will always be seen as memorable. 

As the WWE family gathers Monday in remembrance of their departed Chairman with thousands of fans in the arena and millions watching live on Raw, they will unite in knowing that they are living the never-ending legacy of Mr. McMahon. 

And that Mr. McMahon, while gone from sight, will never be gone from their hearts.

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