Vince McMahon is a very complex individual. The owner of World Wrestling Entertainment has been a huge success story, building WWE into a global brand. And yet, his attitude and behavior can be unique, to say the least. It’s easy to have a boss who’s despised by his workers or one that's unquestionably loved. Vince is the only man who can elicit both reactions from the exact same people.
For every wrestler ready to bad mouth him there is another talking of Vince’s surprising generosity and good spirit. It’s well known that if you get on Vince’s bad side, your career suffers. Yet many wrestlers who were supposedly on the outs with Vince have been welcomed back to WWE with open arms. This kind of flip-flopping makes it harder to figure out who the real Vince is sometimes given such odd, shifting behavior.
What is known is that Vince loves to travel with his workers—a lot. His private plane is seen as a huge status symbol in the WWE world. To be able to say you were allowed on Vince’s jet is a point of pride for workers and it often proves who has Vince’s favor.
However, not every WWE star has been allowed on the plane. Even some big names aren’t exactly favorites on Vince’s plane because he’s pretty particular about who gets on or not. Some guys Vince has long loved to hang with and even get into some crazy antics on the plane, while others are just ignored. Here are 10 wrestlers Vince has been known to love flying with and 10 not allowed on his plane.
20 LOVES: Hulk Hogan
The relationship between Vince and Hulk Hogan has been fascinating to watch. In the 1980s, they were joined at the hip and it was Hogan’s huge stardom that helped Vince expand WWE into a global powerhouse. The two hung out a lot together during private plane rides and really got along well. But they had some major fallings out in the 1990s that led to Hogan jumping to WCW. They made up in the 2000s and Hogan was once more welcomed in Vince’s good graces. They had another falling out over Hogan’s infamous behavior in 2015 but Hogan’s come back recently. Somehow, Vince and Hulk just can’t quit each other and even though Hogan has his own jet, Vince is ready to fly with him like old times.
19 REFUSES: Any NXT Guys
NXT has been hailed as a great thing for WWE. HHH runs this brand, which basically allows future stars to hone their craft before jumping to the main roster. It’s been terrific, providing WWE with some major famous names in the last few years. The brand is loved for its fantastic action with their “TakeOver” specials always stealing the show. However, Vince doesn’t seem to be as enamored of these guys as Hunter is. Thus, no matter how big someone may be in NXT, they just aren’t allowed on the WWE jet. Vince still maintains a hierarchy of the talent in WWE and thinks the NXT guys aren’t on the level of WWE stars just yet. The NXT guys would have to buy their own jet before they’d get on Vince’s.
18 LOVES: HHH
Even before he was Vince’s son-in-law, HHH was a major favorite. He was always a big star and a skilled worker, so he and Vince got along great. HHH has been one of Vince’s favorite passengers on the plane. Since Hunter took over as a major executive for WWE, he and wife, Stephanie, have been using the plane as their main method of transportation. Hunter and Vince have a good relationship and Vince is obviously grooming HHH to take over the company one day. Thus, HHH is always welcome on the plane, with Vince enjoying his presence, showing that Hunter is as much a part of the family as he is just a great WWE star.
17 REFUSES: Braun Strowman
Braun Strowman has taken off in WWE and proven to be just as huge as his physical size. At first glance, he’s your typical monster—yet the man has also shown a terrific flair for comedy in his promos. He’s won fans over with everything from flipping an ambulance to winning the tag titles with a ten-year-old kid. Many feel Braun should be WWE champion but he hasn’t quite gotten to that level yet. However, Braun isn’t a guy Vince travels with that much. Part of that is just due to his size. Braun is more comfortable in vans and cars than on a plane. It’s also that Vince just doesn’t feel that close to the man. Braun is a huge presence in WWE yet he hasn't earned his way onto Vince’s plane.
16 LOVES: John Cena
Since his debut in 2002, John Cena has been one of the biggest stars in WWE. Cena has clearly been one of Vince’s favorites from the start, as proven by how often he was allowed on the private jet. Some fans complain about Cena getting such a huge push for so long and yet the man remains WWE’s most visible current face. Cena has utilized the plane a lot, usually for post-WrestleMania appearances and some big publicity events. The man is basically an ambassador for WWE, so he essentially requires their jet. This has been cut down lately, as Cena has taken to using his own private jets thanks to his Hollywood success. Yet if he wants, Vince would love still sharing an air ride with the huge star.
15 REFUSES: Undertaker
Vince has always enjoyed the Undertaker. No matter how bad things got for WWE, Taker was always the one guy who never jumped ship and Vince respected that. The Undertaker can still get fans going with his random appearances and even though he’s mostly retired, Vince enjoys having him around. However, Taker isn’t really a guy allowed on the plane that much. He prefers road trips and while he likes Vince, they’re not really that close. Taker would take commercial flights if he had to but usually prefers car rides. As much as Vince enjoyed Taker as a performer and values his great loyalty, they were never close enough to be flying buddies.
14 LOVES: Seth Rollins
Already an indie star as Tyler Black, Seth Rollins really took off in WWE. His reign as heel champion was terrific business and Rollins has continued to use that success as a huge star. Rollins really got a push recently by beating Brock Lesnar for the Universal title at WrestleMania 35. This earned him another trip on WWE’s official plane to get to the next RAW show. While Rollins is closer to HHH, Vince likes the guy, as well, and has been okay with Rollins being pushed so much. Rollins using the plane for several post-Mania appearances shows how much he’s become a guy that Vince enjoys as a flying companion.
13 REFUSES: Kevin Owens
By all accounts, HHH had to fight Vince to make sure Kevin Owens got this far in WWE. While a very big star on the indies, Owens is hardly the type of guy Vince would push due to his look. It was HHH who championed Owens in NXT and then he won the Universal title. Owens got over with fans thanks to his program with Chris Jericho and later held the US title. Right now, Owens’ status in the company is a bit uncertain. What is certain is that Owens just hasn’t been a guy Vince wants to fly with. He’s only been on the WWE plane a couple of times and even then, as Hunter’s guest. Owens is a fan-favorite but not one of Vince’s.
12 LOVES: Chris Jericho
Chris Jericho had a fantastic debut in WWE in 1999 and has been a dependable star ever since. The man is loved for both his in-ring work and his hysterical promos, which include everything from wild insults to putting people on the “List of Jericho.” For a time, Jericho was a major face on Vince’s plane and has loved to tell his fans stories about his travels. From a contest with Steve Austin to a truly gnarly encounter with Hulk Hogan, Jericho has seen a lot when on this plane. He's a rock star, as well, so Jericho is used to some high living and while his rides are less common, Y2J is still a guy Vince enjoys having around.
11 REFUSES: The Miz
No one could have dreamed Michael Gregory Mizanin was going to be a huge star when he debuted in 2005. The reality TV maven ended up astounding fans by turning into a capable worker and a terrific on-screen heel. He’s held numerous titles and become a guy fans love to hate. He and wife Maryse even have their own reality TV show. Despite all those pushes, however, Miz isn’t a guy Vince is that close to. Miz himself prefers road trips over private planes (as seen on the show) and isn’t that comfortable on WWE’s plane. It’s ironic that the guy who bills himself as a borderline Hollywood star doesn’t ride in such high style.
10 LOVES: Kurt Angle
The Olympic gold medalist had a fantastic debut in WWE. In his very first year, he held numerous championships, including the WWE title, and he quickly became one of Vince’s favorites. A famous story is that Vince actually goaded Angle into a wrestling match in mid-air on the plane, which is just astounding. Even after that, Angle was a popular guy for Vince to fly with. Obviously, Angle’s years in TNA prevented him from going on more plane rides. However, he was back in Vince’s good graces when he rejoined WWE in 2017 and earned a couple more trips. Angle is now semi-retired yet it seems Vince still likes a guy who could give him a real wrestling bout.
9 REFUSES: Randy Orton
Randy Orton is a very capable performer and has proven himself as a major WWE star. And yet, he hasn’t reached the level of being welcomed as a regular face on the private plane. A key reason is that in his early days, Orton (by his own admission) was a massive troublemaker whose ego got him in major trouble. That poor backstage attitude made Orton a guy Vince wasn’t ready to hang out with. Even though Orton has improved his attitude and is now one of WWE’s biggest stars, Vince hasn’t forgiven him for his earlier antics. They just have never been that close and so, even when he’s WWE champion, Orton hasn’t been the guy to get the status of a Vince traveling companion.
8 LOVES: Shawn Michaels
True, it’s been a while since Shawn was on the WWE plane. Like many part-timers, he doesn’t get to use the official jet too much. But in his heyday, Vince and Shawn got along pretty well. In his prime, Shawn was famous for a party attitude and Vince liked to get in on that a bit. Shawn was welcomed on the plane a lot, even during the time he had to cut back on in-ring action due to a severe back injury. A famous moment in 2006 had Shawn and HHH taking the plane on a joyride and vandalizing it. While he doesn’t use it as much anymore, Shawn can still be welcomed on Vince’s ride.
7 LOVES: Charlotte Flair
Charlotte Flair clearly got the same wrestling and performing genes as her father. A standout in NXT, Charlotte has been a major star for the company, holding both Women’s titles multiple times. She was part of the major main event of WrestleMania 35 and a terrific looker, as well. Thanks to her standing, Charlotte has earned multiple trips on the WWE plane, including a trip after her victory as champion at Wrestlemania 32. Vince clearly favors Charlotte more than other female workers and his relationship to her dad also helps to win her Vince’s respect and trust. Thus, Charlotte is the WWE female star most likely to be getting rides on Vince’s plane.
6 REFUSES: Almost Any Woman Besides Charlotte
WWE has made a huge deal of the so-called “Divas Revolution.” After years of being presented solely on their looks, the women of WWE have been pushed as real athletes and stars. However, as much as Stephanie champions the women, they just haven’t been regular faces on WWE’s plane. Aside from Charlotte, almost no major female star has been allowed on Vince’s plane. That includes such notable names as Alexa Bliss, Sasha Banks, or even Becky Lynch, who’s taken off majorly as a star. Ronda Rousey was pushed hard by WWE yet even she wasn’t a passenger (to be fair, Rousey does have her own private plane). It seems off that Vince believes Charlotte is the only lady in WWE to deserve a ride on his jet.
5 REFUSES: Brock Lesnar
The relationship between Vince and Brock Lesnar has been tense. Lesnar famously walked out on WWE in 2004 after being pushed as a huge star and champion. When he returned, he was pushed again, including a deal where he dominated as Universal champion despite barely showing up on TV. Thanks to his UFC deals, Lesnar is a very wealthy man and can be standoffish from the rest of the WWE roster. As a result, Lesnar usually takes his own private planes rather than go with anyone else. That’s just added to his poor backstage reputation so, as much as Brock may get huge pushes, Vince doesn’t like to travel with him.
4 LOVES: Roman Reigns
Wrestling fans have been up and down on Roman Reigns. Many enjoy him as a performer but hate how he’s been pushed as a main event star and champion over others they feel are more deserving. However, Reigns has garnered huge sympathy because of his health battles. Vince has long loved the guy and clearly, this is the key reason Roman has been pushed so hard as the company’s face. As such, Roman has been on the WWE plane quite a lot. That includes following WrestleMania and several trips as champion. It works out well to show “The Big Dog” is always welcomed for a ride on this famous plane.
3 REFUSES: Goldust
Dustin Runnels has been a regular star for WWE since 1995. His father, Dusty Rhodes, is a legend who Vince truly loved. However, while Dustin has been terrific as Goldust, he’s basically been banned from ever being on Vince’s plane. The reason stems from back in 2002, Dustin was part of what has become known as “The Plane Ride From Hell.” This was a long trip from Europe packed with crazy antics, including a few fights, that is still legendary in wrestling circles. Dustin was a major part of that and got into trouble for it. Throw in some other issues and while Dusty may have been a favorite for Vince, Goldust has never been welcomed on the WWE plane.
2 REFUSES: The Big Show
It’s not that Vince dislikes the Big Show by any means. The guy has gotten numerous pushes in the company and is still a big star. The reason he doesn’t fly on the plane is…well, look at him. When you’re seven foot tall and nearly 500 pounds, it’s pretty hard to fit into even a luxury plane seat. Big Show has been upfront that he much prefers driving whenever he can because it’s far easier for him and others. The few times he’s been on a plane, it has to be a first-class seat to fit his body. The truth is that someone that heavy would put a bit of a strain on a plane and thus, Show just isn’t a passenger on Vince’s flights.
1 LOVES: Kofi Kingston
It’s been a long road to the top for Kofi Kingston. The man was a popular face on Vince’s plane for some time as a single worker. This included the famous moment where Vince challenged Kofi to a fight and they got into it right on the plane. Maybe that earned Vince's respect, as Kofi would later be a regular face on the jet alongside New Day partners Xavier Woods and Big E. While they liked road trips, the trio could also use the jet a lot. Kofi finally reached the top by winning the WWE title at WrestleMania 35. This should ensure he gets more rides on the jet as champ and maybe that old fight earned Kofi his ticket with Vince.
Sources: Forbes, WWE, Uproxx, and Jim Cornette Podcast.