- 24 August 1945
- Pinehurst, North Carolina, USA
In the world of sports and sports entertainment, few promoters have been as successful as Vincent K. McMahon. Born August 24, 1945, to second- generation wrestling promoter Vincent J. McMahon, the young Vince eventually transformed his father's regional wrestling promotion, the northeastern U.S.'s World-Wide Wrestling Federation (later World Wrestling Federation, or WWF), into a worldwide success. Vince, who attended Fishborne Military School as a youth, was a star wrestler in high school. He eventually graduated from East Carolina University with a degree in marketing. By the early 1970s, the younger Vince convinced his father to hire him as promoter for his company, Capitol Wrestling Corp. (which promoted wrestling events as the WWF) He promoted his first WWF wrestling card in 1971 (in Bangor, Maine); the event was a rousing success, and started Vince Jr.'s rise to professional wrestling glory. In 1972, the then 27-year-old McMahon began providing play-by-play commentary for the WWF's weekly syndicated program; at the same time, he helped increase market clearances for the WWF's syndicated programs from nine northeastern U.S. stations (in 1972) to more than triple that by 1980. In 1982, the younger Vince purchased the Capitol Wrestling Corp. from his ailing father (he died in 1984), and began planning a vision to become the world's largest and most successful wrestling enterprise by giving the WWF a much broader audience. McMahon accomplished that through combining the traditional sport of wrestling with elements from the entertainment world (hence the term, sports entertainment); and giving the promotion a national audience (by promoting WWF events and selling airtime to local stations nationwide; airing weekly programs and pay-per-view events on cable and satellite TV). He also initiated one of the first successful major wrestling events, 1985's WrestleMania. However, McMahon's ride to success hasn't always been smooth -- in the early 1990s, allegations of steroid use among top superstars and other misconduct within the WWF nearly ruined Vince and his company. Also, ventures into the realms of bodybuilding (the World Bodybuilding Federation) and professional football (the XFL) failed miserably. For years, McMahon was engaged in a bitter ratings and promotions war with Ted Turner's wrestling ventures (the last being World Championship Wrestling (WCW); it was a battle Turner commanded at one point. McMahon eventually won the battle and today enjoys one of the world's most successful entertainment dynasties. His family -- wife, Linda; son, Shane, and daughter-in-law Marissa; and daugher Stephanie -- all play key roles in the family venture. McMahon is recognized today by many -- supporters and foes alike -- as a fearless and visionary promoter who turned the regional wrestling promotion WWF into a global sensation.