Donald Trump's long history with WWE explained

Donald Trump's long history with WWE explained
Former WWE CEO Vince McMahon paid $5 million to Donald Trump's foundation …
Bang Showbiz / VideoElephant

Former president Donald Trump's relationship with professional wrestling and WWE has spanned decades, and whilst he's not the first U.S. president to admire the sport, no president has had such direct links to industry than Trump.

But the extensive history can be hard to keep track of, so here's a timeline of Trump's most important moments in WWE.

Trump's relationship with Vince McMahon

Vince McMahon had been the owner of the company, at the time known as WWF, since 1982. This was the same year Trump made the Forbes list of wealthy people, for shares he possessed in his family's estimated $200 million net worth, and it didn't take long for the two businessmen to become friends.

Trump and McMahon's relationship began around the mid-to-late 80s, which is where Trump's long history with WWE begins.

Back in 2013, Trump gave some insight into his relationship with McMahon and the company to wrestling media personality Renee Paquette. "Well, there is a great energy," Trump said. "You are dealing with great athletes and I love sports of all kinds ... But there is a great energy that WWE has always had. And I think ... it all comes to fruition because of Vince, because he is a very unusual guy. Amazing guy."

Hosting WrestleMania IV and V

Trump's Atlantic City property, the Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino, has hosted WrestleMania IV (1988) and V (1989)... kind of. Despite advertising saying the events were taking place at Trump Plaza, they actually took place next door at Atlantic City Convention Hall. However, Trump paid for and sponsored the event.

Trump teamed up with the WWF to promote WrestleMania using non-wrestling events such as autograph signings, which are now commonplace the week of WrestleMania. "I just wanted a piece of [WrestleMania]," Trump said in the documentary The True Story of WrestleMania. "Everybody in the country wanted this event and we were able to get it."

Battle of the Billionaires at WrestleMania 23

Fast forward to 2007 and Trump became more involved in WWE than ever before by literally becoming an on-screen character.

'The Battle of the Billionaires' at WrestleMania 23 was a storyline within WWE that focused on Trump and McMahon. The two rich men with matching egos and long relationship, each picked a representative to compete on their behalf at WrestleMania. The losing billionaire had to have their head shaved after the match.

Trump's unique hairstyle was a topic of conversation even back then, making the stakes pretty high. Trump's associate Bobby Lashley ended up winning the match, and Trump proceeded to assist 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin and Lashley in shaving McMahon's head, before later receiving a Stone Cold Stunner.


Trump's physical altercation with McMahon during the match would later become the basis of a meme that the president would share on Twitter/X to attack CNN.

Trump thought McMahon died in a limo explosion

Nothing is off limits for WWE when it comes to telling a story, not even faking the death of its own chairman. And apparently, even Trump couldn't understand where the reality ended and the fiction began when McMahon supposedly 'died' in a fiery explosion on the June 11, 2007 episode of 'Raw.

McMahon's son-in-law, Paul 'Triple H' Levesque appeared on the 'Opie and Anthony Show' in 2008 and spoke about the limo explosion storyline.

"What kills me is, so many people called," Triple H said. "[Vince] will probably be mad at me for saying this, but like, Trump called, and was like, 'Did something happen to Vince?' It's just the magic of television, you know what I mean?"

The plans for the storyline were scrapped after WWE wrestler Chris Benoit murdered his wife and son before hanging himself the ensuing weekend, resulting in one of the darkest periods in wrestling history. McMahon would eventually return to WWE television completely unscathed and the explosion was never mentioned again.

Trump's Hall of Fame induction in 2013

Trump joined the celebrity wing of the WWE Hall of Fame in 2013, giving a speech to the crowd after an introduction by McMahon.

The speech was received with a mixed reaction, where the former president spoke about his relationship with WWE, and claimed his father congratulated him on bringing WrestleMania to Atlantic City in 1988. He also took the time to thank his family members and plug his projects, as well as tease a rematch with McMahon for the following year, but this never materialised.

The next night Trump was booed when introduced to the crowd at WrestleMania 29 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Since becoming President criticism towards Trump has increased massively. As a result, many prominent individuals within wrestling have called to have Trump removed from the WWE Hall of Fame. The calls to have him removed only increased after the 2021 insurrection at the United States Capitol.

But the WWE Hall of Fame is a way for McMahon to recognise those he has worked with. Trump's inclusion in the Hall is a reflection of his long-lasting relationship with McMahon and WWE.

Linda McMahon's job in the Trump administration

Following his election as the 45th President of the United States of America in 2016, Trump decided to appoint former WWE executive, and Vince McMahon's wife, Linda McMahon to lead the Small Business Administration.

She served in the role between February 2017 and April 2019, and as she had previously ran twice as a Republican for U.S. Senate , she shared the connection and commonalities with Trump to earn the appointment.

"Our small businesses are the largest source of job creation in our country," McMahon said in a December 2016 statement. "I am honoured to join the incredibly impressive economic team that President-elect Trump has assembled to ensure that we promote our country's small businesses and help them grow and thrive."

She stepped down as head of the SBA to chair the pro-Trump super PAC America First Action. Upon stepping down, Trump called her a "superstar" and "one of our all-time favourites."

Trump's appearance on Logal Paul's podcast

Trump's most recent interaction with WWE is his interview with United States Champion Logan Paul, on Paul's podcast 'Impaulsive'.

The interview is set to air on 13th June, 2024. The promotional picture featured Paul and Trump holding Paul's WWE United States championship belt.

Paul signed a WWE contract in June 2022, and since then has battled Seth "Freakin" Rollins and Roman Reigns, competed in the Money in the Bank Ladder Match and won the United States Title," according to the WWE website.

In other promotional content, the pair were seen staring face to face with the championship belt behind them.


Face off with @Logan Paul drops tomorrow…

So perhaps the former president's relationship with WWE isn't over just yet.

Sign upto our free Indy100 weekly newsletter

Have your say in our news democracy. Click the upvote icon at the top of the page to help raise this article through the indy100 rankings.

How to join the indy100's free WhatsApp channel

The Conversation (0)