Despite often being regarded as “beneath” other sectors of pop culture, the bombastic pseudo-sport of professional wrestling seems likely to be a permanent fixture of American life, having been a mainstay of TV programming almost since the medium was invented. While the 80s and 90s saw multiple large companies battle for wrestling industry supremacy, since the the early 2000s, there’s really only been one big game in town: WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment), founded and still run by colorful billionaire Vince McMahon.
The WWE empire has grown large enough under McMahon — and his family, most of whom help him run it — to support its own streaming service WWE Network, which boasts nearly 2 million subscribers worldwide. WWE also commands attention each year with its annual WrestleMania event, which brings so much positive economic impact to the city that hosts it that cities now actively lobby WWE for the privilege. The WrestleMania concept itself is also famously a Vince McMahon brainchild.
What really makes McMahon interesting, though, is that unlike other corporate executives, he’s spent a large portion of his career also playing an on-air character on WWE programming. McMahon spent years as a play-by-play announcer, before the rise of anti-hero “Stone Cold” Steve Austin in the 1990s brought about the creation of “Mr. McMahon,” an exaggerated, villainous version of the WWE boss that lived to torment the employees who displeased him. It’s definitely accurate to say that he’s led a very interesting life, a life soon to be explored on-screen, as Deadline reports that Sony Pictures’ Tristar is prepping a biopic about McMahon entitled Pandemonium.
While exactly what portions of McMahon’s eventful life the film will cover is currently unclear, Pandemonium will at least reportedly spotlight his ascension into the upper echelon of the wrestling world. McMahon is a third-generation wrestling promoter, having bought the company that would eventually become the then-WWF from his father Vince Sr. in the early 1980s. McMahon would of course turn what was then a regional promotion into a global behemoth, primarily on the backs of huge 80s stars like Hulk Hogan and “Macho Man” Randy Savage.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of Pandemonium is that the McMahon-owned WWE Studios is producing along with Tristar, suggesting that the film has the blessing of its subject. While in some ways that’s certainly a good thing to have, one wonders just how honest the depiction of McMahon’s history will be allowed to be with WWE itself in the creative mix. If McMahon finds himself displeased, it wouldn’t be too surprising to hear shouts of “You’re fired!” coming from the set.