Vince McMahon sits down for first live interview in 15 years

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - FEBRUARY 16: Vince McMahon attends a press conference to announce that WWE Wrestlemania 29 will be held at MetLife Stadium in 2013 at MetLife Stadium on February 16, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Michael N. Todaro/Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - FEBRUARY 16: Vince McMahon attends a press conference to announce that WWE Wrestlemania 29 will be held at MetLife Stadium in 2013 at MetLife Stadium on February 16, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Michael N. Todaro/Getty Images) /

On Thursday afternoon, WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon appeared on The Pat McAfee Show for a rare interview. In fact, it was McMahon’s first live interview in 15 years.

After showing up seven minutes late, McMahon finally appeared in a blue suit. The interview lasted over an hour. The interview touched on a variety of topics and had such quotes as “I’m not really an (expletive), I’m a nice person.”, “I’m wired differently.”, “I’m not like most billionaires, I’m wired different.”

McMahon will induct The Undertaker into the WWE Hall of Fame

One of the biggest surprises early on is that McMahon himself will be inducting The Undertaker. He got a little choked up talking about how important Undertaker is to him. “This will be one of the most difficult things I’ve done in my entire life.” When McAfee asked, “how come?”, McMahon replied, “because I like the guy. I love the guy, not just like. I love the guy. We’ve known each other for so many years. We’ve been through all kinds of situations. Some that I’m glad didn’t make the newspapers, you know what I mean?”

“When you live on the road like that, you have your family at home, but you when you live on the road, man, you have to have a family.” He goes on to say Undertaker is loyal and trustworthy.

“It’s just business.”

When asked about the massive firings the WWE has done, McAfee framed it as people saying he doesn’t care about anyone. He mentioned that former talent have gone on to podcasts. McMahon said, “I’m always concerned about what’s best for the audience.  Always. ‘What does the audience want?’ And if you have dead weight around you–if we have a situation whereby someone not cutting it, where maybe you have a situation for someone else, and then it’s like, “ok, it’s probably the best thing.”

He goes on to talk about people like Hogan that left him and he brought them back because it was what the audience wanted. “It’s not about you and your ego. What’s best for the product? …What’s best for business. It’s not personal, it’s business.” McMahon says taking the company public made him a better businessman because he quit making decisions with his heart.

“Sometimes when people aren’t given the opportunity or sometimes when they are and it doesn’t work, people from all walks of life seldom look in the mirror and say, “I’m the one who (expletive) up, it was on me. Instead, everyone has a million excuses on why things didn’t work.” He said he’s okay with being the bad guy.

A positive spin on Saudi Arabia shows

McMahon tried to positively spin Saudi Arabia shows on the same day that WWE announced that were terminating broadcast partnerships and shutting down WWE Network in Russia. He said he’ll do business anywhere.

"“Saudi is no different than any other people, WWE fans all over the world. I’ve known for years (they are fans). We’ve had a presence there for years. There is no place in the world we don’t have a presence. Saudi fans are really enthusiastic like they are everywhere else. It was an opportunity to play before the audience. People love Western culture all over the world. They don’t love our government, but they love Western culture. Our form of entertainment with WWE fits everything. It’s larger than life. It fits everything imaginable like, ‘Oh my God,’ the spectacle of it. It fits everywhere. We translate it to 40 languages or something like that. Even if it’s just English. You get it, you understand. Saudi is no different. People are people. Cultures are cultures and you have to respect that. Just because we as Americans, ‘this is the way we should do this. The whole world should be like us. We know the way and any other way is not the right way.’ Come on. Culture has been around for thousands of years. Long before us,” he said (h/t Gisberto Guzzo/Jeremy Lambert of Fightful"

Who will run WWE after him?

McMahon briefly touched on who will run WWE after him. “If you built something, you should want it to grow and prosper, with or without a family member. The business is best for everyone. You have to look at family members as well as employees. You have to do what’s right for the business.” He mentioned that he expected more from his family.

Pat McAfee will wrestle at WrestleMania 38

McMahon asked McAfee to sit down before offering him an opportunity to wrestle at WrestleMania 38. McAfee popped up out of his chair. McMahon told him they would find him a worthy opponent. McAfee will not face McMahon in a wrestling match based on everything that happened in this interview.

This was an interesting interview with McMahon. Overall, it was a positive interview that gave insights into the man himself, his thoughts, and how he runs things. Live interviews with McMahon don’t happen often and it’s hard to tell if he’ll ever do another one.

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