So here we are. US President-elect Donald Trump has officially picked Linda McMahon, CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment, to be the head of the Small Business Administration.
Linda is a listed co-founder of the WWE, alongside her husband, Vincent Kennedy McMahon, who as part of an on-screen storyline, once drugged Linda into a comatose state so he could plough younger female wrestlers in front of her.
A real thing that happened.
The Trump and McMahon families have a long history of working together; a lot longer than many of you might be aware of. And back in 2007, that working relationship culminated in what’s now possibly the greatest and most important piece of footage ever to air on live TV.
But we’ll get to that in a moment.
The working relationship between Trump and the WWE stretches back nearly 30 years. In 1988, the then-World Wrestling Federation (y’know, before they got sued by sick pandas) was set to host WrestleMania IV at the Historic Atlantic City Convention Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Contrary to popular belief, Trump did not, nor has he ever, owned that building.
What Trump did own, however, was the Trump Plaza Hotel & Casino situated directly opposite. Since Trump came on board for the event as its chief sponsor, the WWF refers to the venue as ‘Trump Plaza‘ in all its historical records. That event saw Randy “Macho Man” Savage capture the WWF World Heavyweight Championship for the first time in his career.
The following year, having enjoyed the yuge, fantastic, really terrific success of WrestleMania IV, Trump and the WWF backed it up by hosting WrestleMania V in the same venue, again branding it outwardly as “Trump Plaza.” To date, it’s the only time in WWF/WWE history that WrestleMania has been held in the same venue in consecutive years.
Trump again appeared as a celebrity guest of the WWF two years later at WrestleMania VII in Los Angeles. This appearance came a few months prior to Trump’s Atlantic City Taj Mahal hotel hosting the 1991 WBF Championship from Vince McMahon’s extraordinarily ill-fated World Bodybuilding Federation. Ya know, that one that collapsed in on itself 12 months later and sparked Vince McMahon’s first federal investigation for steroid trafficking and supply. All real things that happened.
But a pesky federal indictment couldn’t stop the love affair between the Trump and the McMahon families, who maintained good personal and professional relationships throughout the 90s. Though it would be a full decade-and-a-bit before Trump appeared on WWE TV again.
In 2004, Trump was ringside for WrestleMania XX at Madison Square Garden, where he was interviewed by ex-wrestler-turned-Minnesota Governor-turned-conspiracy theory/off the grid nutjob Jesse Ventura.
Even back then the subject of the US Presidency was brought up. Kinda. Cop this for prophetic:
Close, Jesse. But no cigar.
And this, pals, brings us to 2007, and the fabled ‘Battle of the Billionaires.’
On an episode of ‘Monday Night RAW‘ in January 2007, two local wrestlers appeared and fought in costume as Trump and Rosie O’Donnell, capitalising on that whole “feud” thing, wherein O’Donnell criticised Trump’s business practices and decisions and Trump responded with a slew of fat jokes. The fake Trump won.
A real thing that happened.
A few weeks later, a rivalry between McMahon and Trump sprung up after Trump appeared on-screen during Raw and dumped money on the live crowd during McMahon’s “fan appreciation night.” This lead to a confrontation between the two at WrestleMania 23 where Trump’s chosen representative – the hulking but not-very-good-at-wrestling Bobby Lashley – defeated Vince’s – a terrifyingly large and fast Samoan man named Umaga.
As a result, Trump got to shave McMahon bald. In the ring. Live on TV.
Which brings us to the greatest moment in live TV history, and one that the WWE likes to keep reasonably buried.
Trump, you see, has an absolute aversion to appearing weak, fearful, or in any way physically enfeebled on TV. Take this encounter from earlier that same night where he completely blanks a cartoonish but nonetheless spooky character known as The Boogeyman.
Would it kill you to emote a little, you spindle-haired sonofabitch? Good lord.
But that’s fair evidence of why this little bit of footage isn’t “officially” available in clip form.
At the conclusion of the match, after McMahon had been shaved bald, Stone Cold Steve Austin – who had been refereeing – kicked Donald Trump squarely in the guts and delivered a Stone Cold Stunner.
There it is. The single greatest thing that’s ever been broadcast on live TV. A very real thing that absolutely happened.
Good god, it’s beautiful. And that guy somehow wound up becoming President less than 10 years later. If that’s not definitive proof that literally anyone* can achieve their dreams, I do not know what is.
So Trump and the McMahons have been professionally linked for nearly 30 years, and now the WWE Hall of Famer has selected twice-failed Republican senate candidate Linda McMahon to join his Presidential team. A McMahon in Trump’s world.
But never forget, throughout the course of the next four years of reactionary, misogynistic, socially unjust and morally bankrupt politics, that when Trump decided to step foot into McMahon’s world, Stone Cold By-God Steve Austin kicked him in the guts and stunned the living shit out of him.
And that right there? That’s the bottom line, folks.
Photo: George Napolitano/Getty.