Vince McMahon has admitted that he wanted to beat up Bob Costas during their infamous 2001 interview, describing the star as “so freaking pompous.”
In March 2001 Vince McMahon was interviewed by Bob Costas for his HBO show ‘On The Record.’ During the interview, Costas pulled no punches, questioning McMahon over the declining popularity of the XFL and the risqué content of the Attitude Era.
As the conversation went on, McMahon become visibly more uncomfortable with the line of questioning and by the end of the interview was becoming increasingly hostile.
In Jim Miller’s new book ‘Tinderbox: HBO’s Ruthless Pursuit Of New Frontiers,’ the two men recalled the now infamous interview. Costas revealed that as the tension increased between the two men, the show’s producers in his earpiece were telling him to “keep going.” He added that he knew what was taking place was undoubtedly good television.
“It was live, and obviously since it’s HBO, there were no commercials,” Costas said. “I knew it was good television in the moment, but I wasn’t trying to hype it. Sometimes things can become sensational, but they start from a legitimate place. And the legitimate place was that the XFL was trying to find a place in mainstream sports, on a mainstream network. It started out with great interest. I think they got a rating of 10 for the first game, but by the end, they were getting the lowest ratings of any program in prime time in the history of network television.”
For his part, Vince McMahon said that Costas had little desire to listen to what he had to say, describing him as “freaking pompous.” He went on to admit that he was “p***ed off” and that if Costas would have been bigger, he’d have deserved to have the “sh*t beaten out of him.”
“Once we were doing the interview, he kept interrupting me and interrupting me, and bringing up topics that had nothing to do with what we were supposed to be talking about,” McMahon said. “He kept trying to do the ‘I gotcha’ kind of thing. It was clear he didn’t want to hear any of my answers.
“The other problem was that Bob is so freaking pompous. The entire time he acted like he was above me and was just using me to show how great he was. I was sitting there really pissed off and started thinking, I wish he wasn’t 5-feet high and 140 pounds. If he was 6-5 and 295, he would deserve to get the s–t beat out of him. I could have really given them some great television.”
Speaking earlier in 2021, Jim Ross, who was Head of Talent Relations with WWE at the time, questioned whether the interview was a good idea, describing it as “a bit embarrassing.” However, he also admitted he understood McMahon’s motivation for wanting to appear on the show.
H/t to New York Post for the transcription.