“What a maneuver” and other great lines from McMahon’s commentary days

I guess every wrestling TV commentator has his sayings that take on a life of their own. Certainly, Jim Ross’ “slobber knocker” phrase is well-known to WWE fans, as is Jerry “The King” Lawler’s penchant for racy suggestions during diva matches.

But no one had more well-remembered one-liners than the chairman himself, Vince McMahon, back when he was the lead commentator on WWF Championship Wrestling in the 1970s and ’80s. Here is a collection of McMahon-isms that I bet many of you can still hear in your mind:

  • “What a manuever!” — Reserved for the many times that McMahon had no clue what wrestling hold or spot had just occurred. As I recall, the British Bulldogs high-flying, Japanese-influenced style often elicited this line from McMahon. C.M. Punk reminded McMahon of this great phrase over the summer during his “worked shoot” angle.
  • “One big, tough hombre” — This phrase and several other similar ones usually applied to a mean heel. Guys who I can vividly remember commanding this description from McMahon were Stan “The Lariat” Hansen,  Terry Funk, and Swede Hanson.
  • “There is ju-bi-lation!” — McMahon’s attempt to chracterize a crowd’s pop during a big moment, ususally when a babyface won a title after a hard-fought match. You hear it at about 5:40 of this match from 1985, during which Barry Windham and Mike Rotundo regain the WWF Tag Team Titles from the Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff.
  • “It’s pick ’em time.” — This was Vince’s invitation to his color commentor, usually Jesse “The Body” Ventura, to predict who was going to win a big match. In Ventura’s case, he always picked the heel to go over.
  • “He’s a house afire!” — A phrase that has long disappeared, McMahon used this one to describe a babyface’s comeback. I remember it mostly from when Rick Martel would get a hot tag from Tony Garea. “Oh, Martel is a house afire,” Vince would roar as Martel threw his dropkicks.
  • “Oh, come on!” — This was the classic McMahon line, usually brought out when a heel was flagrantly acting badly, such as when Funk beat the bejusus out of ring attendant Mel Phillips.

Let me know if I missed any others…

14 comments

  1. Brad

    He would also try to add “notwithstanding” or “unquestionably” any chance he got to any sentence.

  2. Prince of Corn Flakes Sr.

    I remember Vince used to say “devestating maneuver!!” a lot. And “smack of the flesh”, “down to the canvas”, “OH NO!!”
    And I think he said “what a manuever” and “Unbelieveable” pretty much 80% of the time. He was still funny as hell, especially when the heels cheated, and he would either
    say” Come on ref, turn around!” or “Disqualify him, ref!!”

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  6. Anonymous

    This blog is literally blowing my mind. I was particularly left in awe when some midget executed a move Gorilla Monsoon termed as a “keester bop.”

    I may have only been 11 or 12 years old, but I always appreciated Gorilla Monsoon’s attention to protocol… especially his demands to hear clarification from Commissioner Jack Tunney.

    Thanks for the memories, sonofsaf

  7. J.Cee

    George “the animal” Steele: “One of the more unorthodox wrestlers in professional wrestling today.” And when George would leer sideward for a camera shot, “THAT green tongue that he’s wagging lasciviously,” as with a sense of urgency.

      • modew's manager

        One Vince classic is the call of the challenger’s near-fall in a title match: “One, two, wehaveanew … NO!”

        Select Monsoonisms:

        “Shot to the external occipital protuberance.”
        “He just got his clock cleaned!”
        “The Garden has gone strictly bananas!”
        “History has been made!”
        And..
        “He can’t tell a wristlock from a wristwatch!”

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