Today is Stephanie McMahon’s birthday (she turns 39, although don’t tell her I told you that). Stephanie’s been a divisive figure since making her public debut in 1999. She’s been involved in some questionable storylines, although she’s also crafted one of the most entertaining heel characters in WWE history during her years on TV. Behind the scenes, her run as head of creative was sometimes less than laudable, but she’s also worked to change WWE’s image, transforming it into a more compassionate, diverse company. The fact is, with the obvious exception of her father Vince, probably nobody has had as great an effect on WWE over the past 15 years as Stephanie McMahon.
So, here are a few things you may not know about the WWE’s face-slapping, wheeling-dealing, business-handling Billion Dollar Princess…
André the Giant is Stephanie’s favorite wrestler.
Stephanie McMahon was born in 1976 in Hartford, Connecticut, right around the time Vince was starting to get seriously involved in his dad’s wrestling promotion. As such, some of pro wrestling’s most colorful and infamous names were a part of Stephanie’s life pretty much from birth.
Stephanie’s favorite of those wrestlers was the legendary André the Giant. According to Steph, she first met André when she was 3 years old. He rolled up to the McMahon hacienda while Steph was playing on the trampoline. As the nanny panicked, André walked over to the trampoline and offered Steph his hand. Rather than grabbing the huge mitt, Stephanie stepped onto it, Andre lifted her like a human forklift and Steph gave the giant a kiss on the cheek. B’awww. With a first meeting like that, I can see why Andre was Steph’s favorite.
Oh, and yes, that infamous angle a couple years back where Steph claimed The Big Show had been her friend since she was young was actually based on her special connection with André. They just changed it to Big Show to make it seem like Stephanie was a decade younger than she is. The things you can get away with when your last name’s McMahon.
Her brother Shane basically raised her as a child.
For some time, there’s been idle speculation that Stephanie and her brother Shane don’t get along, based on Shane having left the family company in 2009. The fact is, Stephanie and Shane are extremely close, as Shane played an almost parent-like role in Steph’s life, given their father and mother were pretty busy destroying and reshaping the pro wrestling landscape in their image during her formative years. “My parents weren’t around until later at night, so for the most part, Shane raised me. He not only toughened me up, but he kept me thoroughly entertained.”
In more recent years, Stephanie has said in multiple interviews that she misses Shane being a part of the company, so yeah, something drove him away, but it wasn’t sibling rivalry.
She started at the bottom with WWE, modeling t-shirts and answering phones.
If the world ever starts to get you down, remember, this picture of Stephanie McMahon in a Matilda shirt exits.
Not to cast aspersions, but Stephanie’s WWE career may have been helped along by nepotism. Y’know, just a little. That said, it wasn’t like Stephanie was immediately thrust into a high-ranking executive job. Steph first started working for the WWF at the age of 12, modeling the company’s tubular ’80s shirts and merchandise. Later, starting at the age of 14, she answered phones and did intern work for the company’s various divisions. In 1998, she became an account executive in the WWF’s marketing department, and then became the head of the creative team in the early-2000s. Obviously, Stephanie was given every opportunity in the world to succeed, but she certainly put in the work. She was never the spoiled rich kid sitting behind a desk throwing paper airplanes and cashing a check from daddy for doing nothing.
Stephanie owns victories over Big Show, Kurt Angle and The Rock.
Stephanie doesn’t lace up the boots often, but when she does, she makes it count. She’s scored tag team victories over Big Show and Kurt Angle, and actually pinned The Rock. Oh, and she also got into the ring with Brock Lesnar one-on-one and didn’t lose. Take that, Undertaker.