In 2001, Vince McMahon joined Bob Costas for an interview on Costas' HBO show "On The Record" about wrestling and the XFL. The interview became heated as Costas seemed to criticize McMahon and the WWF for its content, which McMahon didn't take kindly to. Costas believes he was sticking to his journalistic morals and asking McMahon tougher questions than perhaps McMahon was used to.
McMahon started to lean in towards Costas, who stood his ground as the show rolled on. Eventually, things ended without an incident.
In Jim Miller’s new book “Tinderbox: HBO’s Ruthless Pursuit of New Frontiers," McMahon and Costas recalled the interview.
“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.”
Costas noted that he knew it was good television and he had producers telling him to "keep going." He also heard McMahon slam the studio door after storming off.
“He stormed off and you could hear the doors slamming behind him,” Costas said. “It takes some strength, by the way, to slam the doors of the studio. Those doors aren’t like the door to your kitchen. I could hear them slam.”
The following day, Vince proposed a rematch.
“The following day the phone rings, and it’s McMahon. ‘Bob, let’s make it two out of three. You took last night. I want a rematch.’ I said, ‘Great.’ We did another one a year later that was less heated, was still a good exchange, but it wasn’t as memorable as the first one," said Costas.
Fans can order Tinderbox: HBO’s Ruthless Pursuit of New Frontiers by clicking here.