WWF/WWE VINCE MCMAHON, THE MOB ALMOST KILLED HIM.
One of the more seedier things about Vince McMahon Sr, that is often left on the table, is that he had to pay the mafia, specifically the Genovese crime family a lot of money in the early days to utilize access to Madison Square Garden. The mob was on the take, hands open, and Vincent McMahon Sr, didn't hold back. He paid. It would trickle down to Vincent McMahon Jr but in perhaps more severity than most people will acknowledge.
Vince Sr. was truly the first promoter in wrestling to pay his wrestlers a part of the gate. Wrestling was always territorial, and Vince Sr. owned the Northeast, which included New York City. WWWF (World Wide Wrestling Federation) was the post note to the Capitol Wrestling Corporation, which was started back in the early 1950's. Vince's territory at the time was Baltimore, New York City, and New Jersey. While in the initial stages, the CWP, began small like most territorial franchises, but quickly became one of the wealthiest due to it's proximity in the Northeast. By 1956, McMahon would change the game by televising matches on national television, which would take place on Wednesday nights on the DuMont network. Eventually McMahon would be able to reach a wider audience through WNYW, and would air until 1971.
As the New York area was being built up, eventually the Javits Center and Madison Square Garden would open. In case you didn't know, the mob owned both. The Javits Center, which was in Hells Kitchen territory was controlled through unions by Mickey Spillane, Irish mafia boss. It was a contested spot, just for the construction rackets. Spillane would be approached by the Genovese crime family by Anthony "Fat Tony" Salerno, for a split of the proceeds, and Spillane would refuse. Eventually Spillane's entire crew, including Spillane would be murdered, and taken over by the infamous Westies Mob, starring Jimmy Coonan, who would go on to control Hell's Kitchen under the wing of the Gambino crime family. On the other side of this was Madison Square Garden which traditionally the Genovese Crime family would receive union kickbacks and proceeds from other events. Hell, even before the concrete was poured the Genovese were already in control of the job site.
When McMahon began to become wealthy as a result from working the territory in the Northeast, he would have his run-in's with the mafia, who wanted their cut of matches and proceeds. While McMahon in the beginning was just like every single other territory, he was making enough to pay out wrestlers based on the gate proceeds which were becoming immense. So much so, the Genovese crime family stepped in. Vince Sr, never had a problem paying off the "boys," he looked at it as doing business. Problem was, at times, he was late on the payments, and he found out the hard way, how not to do business with the mafia.
Per my source, who I will not divulge told me about an incident when an event was taking place at Madison Square Garden. Usually two men representatives from the Genovese crime family) would go to pick up the drop from McMahon, and it was for a large sum of money off the gates. McMahon, who rarely was seen on tv or at matches, often remaining in the back to ensure everything was going smoothly, hid from the two men coming to collect. They would eventually find him and would force him up to the top of the building and held him upside down over the edge threatening to "drop him off the fucking building if he didn't pay up." He would end up paying up, and never come late with a payment again. You might ask, why did the mob benefit from that? How could they control McMahon? Easy. They controlled the unions that worked the building, and if McMahon didn't play along, the unions would strike, or they would bend the athletic commission expelling them from MSG. That's how easy it was. McMahon had a mostly friendly albeit tense relationship with the mafia, and would meet some of the bigger names in the mafia for dinner in the city.
Vincent McMahon Jr on the other hand, came insanely close to getting whacked. Vince McMahon sr would offer to sell his company to his son Vincent McMahon jr. McMahon Jr was not raised in New York City, as he was the child of an affair, and lived his life in Pinehurst North Carolina. He was far and away from the hustle and bustle of New York City. He spent little time with his father, and it wasn't until he graduated from East Carolina University in 1968 with a business degree that he was offered a job with his father's company. He would begin as a commentator, and worked his way up in the company. In 1971, his father handed him the Maine territory to see what Vince could do with it. He ran the territory well, and would lead his father into the spectrum of television, and it's through Vince Jr that WWWF would triple it's television syndication. As his father aged, he had offered Vince the company, which Vince bought, but it was under the condition that Vince stay in his lane. That meant, keep this territory running. Vince however, had other ideas. Vince wanted to expand how fans viewed wrestling, he wanted a major television deal, and the only way to do that was to attempt to monopolize the territories.
If you don't understand the territories, let's make this a bit easy. They were like little kingdoms. Each promoter owned a certain turf, where other promoters didn't dare venture or poach from, even though poaching went back to the Gorgeous George days. Per the phone that I included here, you can see the Pacific Northwest, The Global. AWA, Central States, WWA, WCW, MID SOUTH, MID ATLANTIC, WORLD CLASS SOUTHEAST, WWF and etc. It's easy to see which companies owned which territories. When Vince McMahon senior owned the company he wouldn't operate within those other territories. At times they could cross promote, and send guys back and forth in agreements. Most of the time everyone got alone. You can look at the map sort of like the mafia. Each boss owned it's own turf, and you didn't poach or attempt to move into anyone else's area. The speculation to the non obser
vant fan might make you think that wrestling was controlled by some sort of rednecks, but it wasn't. These were businessmen, who didn't play around with their product, and didn't take shit from anyone.
Vince McMahon Jr, didn't want to play into a system which was created before he was born. As he official took over WWWF, renaming it WWF, then incorporating his Titan Sports company, others in the territories began to wonder if Vince had ideas of moving out of his territory. They began to fear that McMahon, even if his product was good and growing, would attempt to force them out of business. As McMahon slowly began to poach, owners of other territories began to get angry. Let's face it McMahon didn't want to go by the code or tradition, and his entire plan was to stomp his way into areas the WWF had never been, like the Carolina's, Florida, the Midwest, and the West Coast(which they never ever really truly made it in, not even today). At some point, as McMahon began to encroach, owners of those territories began to discussing murdering Vince McMahon. For the ones McMahon couldn't force out with a checkbook, he would force out by paying athletic commissions to violate the promoters, or he would poach the territories biggest stars from underneath them. If he couldn't bankrupt them, he'd buy them out, if he couldn't buy them out, he'd take all the stars, if he couldn't take the starts he'd bribe the commissions, and if you think McMahon isn't the sort of guy who did that, then I ask you why he paid off the cops to stop investigating Jimmy Snuka, for murder, which we all know, Snuka likely did commit that murder. It's been alleged by several wrestlers that McMahon bribed the cops with a $50,000 dollar payment to look the other way on Snuka, which the police did for almost 35 years.
The owners of those territories knew mob guys. They always worked with them in some capacity or another. The mob was approached by certain territory owners, about killing McMahon. It also didn't help that McMahon was not going to remain paying like his father did. McMahon was unwilling to bend to the mob or anyone else, and while I can understand and appreciate that sort of moxy, I don't think McMahon realizes how close he actually came to being gunned down. The owners of the territories wanted blood and the Patriarca crime family was approach by the Genovese crime family in regards to the problems with McMahon. Patriarca who had a lock in Providence was getting his cut of any promotion McMahon had in Boston, and Rhode Island through unions. McMahon who cut off money payoffs to the mafia, was on thin ice. The mob was going to kill him, but it was someone very powerful in New York, whom I won't name, that suggest that WWF would eventually likely be the most profitable company throughout the United States, and by killing him, it would create heat, and that the thinking was that these other promoters didn't have nearly the talent or business acumen that McMahon did.
There essentially was more money down the line if they just held out. They could control McMahon through high union wages, high athletic commission fees, and that's how they could keep the hands in the cookie jar. Word was sent from New York to Providence about the issue, and the agreement was, let it go. They had other problems at the time, and there were other ways to get to Vince down the road if he didn't want to play ball. Had they chosen to kill McMahon, he would have been killed and quickly, and what you know as WWE today, would have never been.