Former WWE photographer John Giamundo recently recalled how Vince McMahon originally wanted his Mr. McMahon character’s funeral to turn into a comedy segment.
On June 11, 2007, the WWE Executive Chairman’s on-screen persona passed away after his limousine burst into flames. Two weeks later, the storyline was nixed following the real-life death of WWE wrestler Chris Benoit. It later emerged that Benoit had committed suicide after murdering his wife and seven-year-old son.
In an interview on the Cheap Heat Productions Podcast, Giamundo said Mr. McMahon’s funeral was scheduled for the June 25, 2007, episode of RAW. Earlier that day, he found out that someone was supposed to drop the casket during the light-hearted segment:
“Now we’re in Corpus Christi and we’re being told that that show was Vince’s funeral,” Giamundo stated. “They were gonna do a memoriam and it was all just gonna be ‘haha’ at Vince’s expense. We were told what was gonna happen, they’re gonna drop the casket, and all this goofy, typical wrestling stuff.” [21:20 – 21:41]
On the same day, news broke that Benoit had died. McMahon immediately dropped his own death storyline and turned RAW into a tribute show for the Canadian wrestler. At the time, the circumstances surrounding Benoit’s death had not been revealed.
How Vince McMahon informed WWE staff about Chris Benoit
A day before RAW, Chris Benoit failed to show up to the Vengeance: Night of Champions event. According to John Giamundo, some wrestlers thought Benoit must have been sick and did not want to answer the phone.
Giamundo added that WWE staff found out about Benoit’s death when Vince McMahon gathered everyone together in the arena before RAW:
“We were in our room, our studio space, and somebody walks in, they’re like, ‘Everybody’s gotta come out to the ring.’ One of the photographers goes, ‘Think it’s about Chris?’ I’m like, ‘I dunno.’ And then we’re all sitting on one side of the arena, and Vince has a microphone and tells everybody what happened. Just gasps.” [21:43 – 22:02]
In a separate Cheap Heat Productions Podcast interview, Giamundo reflected on his release from WWE in 2022 after 21 years with the company.
Do you have any memories of the Mr. McMahon death angle? Let us know in the comments section below.
Please credit the Cheap Heat Productions Podcast and give a H/T to Sportskeeda Wrestling for the transcription if you use quotes from this article.