MCMAHON: I was totally unruly. Would not go to school. Did things that were unlawful, but I never got caught.
PLAYBOY: Did you ever steal?
MCMAHON: Automobiles. But I always brought them back. I just borrowed them, really. There were other thefts, too, and I ran a load of moonshine in Harlowe, North Carolina in a 1952 Ford V8. That was a badass car at the time.
PLAYBOY: What did you get paid for running hooch?
MCMAHON: A fortune. I think it was 20 bucks.
PLAYBOY: Finally, the police caught up with you.
MCMAHON: They had a lot of circumstantial evidence. I was always in fights, too. They'd pull up and there we were, me and my group of guys, going at it with the Marines.
PLAYBOY: You fought the Marines?
MCMAHON: Havelock is right outside the Marine base at Cherry Point. There was a place called the Jet Drive-In. Real creative --The Jet, because of all of the military jets at the base. On Friday and Saturday nights it was time to get it on with the Marines. It was a challenge. Most of them were in great condition, but they didn't know how to fight. I'm not saying they were easy pickings. They got their testosterone going and they were all liquored up. Some of them were real tough. But me and my guys were street fighters. I mean, maybe you've been through basic training and you know how to operate a bayonet. That's different from sticking your finger in someone's eye or hitting a guy in the throat, which comes naturally to a street fighter. And they can't believe you're not "fighting fait". Suddenly they can't breathe and/or see, and they realize: "Oh my God, am I in for an ass kicking".
PLAYBOY: Ever come close to killing one of them.
MCMAHON: I would like to think not very close. That's not what I wanted to do. You want to incapacitate a guy. Once you get someone down you don't want him getting back up. You don't want him moving, so you make sure he doesn't. It's not pretty, but it was challenging and fun.
PLAYBOY: Finally the authorities in Havelock gave you a choice--
MCMAHON: Right. It was reform school or military school. I went to Fishburne Military School in Waynesboro, Virginia, in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Military school is expensive. My mom was still my guardian and she couldn't afford it. So my dad was notified and he paid.
PLAYBOY: Your father was a pro wrestling promoter. It was wrestling money that sent you to military school.
MCMAHON: That's right. I would see him in the summertime and on the occasional holiday. That he was able and willing to send me to military school made an impression. It was a chance to start over. Maybe it doesn't seem that I changed, since I was the first cadet in school history to be court-martialed, but I at least started to change. No one really knew me at Fishburne. I had no badass reputation to uphold.
PLAYBOY: So why did they court-martial you?
MCMAHON: For no particular infraction. Again, I was lucky and a little drafty--I wasn't caught for some stuff that would have meant immediate dismissal, like stealing the commandant's car. Colonel Zinneker had an old, green, beat-up Buick, and he always left the keys in it. He also had a dog that he was nuts about. I love animals, but one day I couldn't resist giving the that dog a laxative. I put the laxative in some hamburger and the did his has business all over the commandant's apartment, which thrilled me greatly.
PLAYBOY: What finally got you in trouble?
MCMAHON: Insubordination. I had no respect for the military because they were playing military. Sure, it's an ROTC program, but we weren't in a war. We were a bunch of kids. The idea of this adult from Army ROTC ordering all of the kids around--and getting off on it--ugh! What kind of human being is that? I was insubordinate, but I didn't really have many scrapes at Fishburne. I was playing sports --wrestling and football- and that helped me.
PLAYBOY: What position in football?
MCMAHON: Offensive guard and defensive tackle. But all I really knew how to do was fight. So it was, "Bring it on!". But when you've got bare knuckles and you're hitting a guy with a helmet on, it's no good. I was used to gouging eyes and going for the throat. A big kick in the nuts is always primo--you hear the guy go "Huhhh!" and you think, his ass is mine. But you can't do that on the football field. Football is all about technique, and I was a lousy football player. In one game I was personally penalized more yardage than our offense gained.
PLAYBOY: Still, you beat the court-martial and even graduated. By then you had stolen cars and run moonshine. You'd had a drink. You'd had your first joint. You'd lost your virginity.
MCMAHON: [Pauses] That was at a very young age. I remember, probably in the first grade, being invited to a matinee film with my stepbrother and his girlfriends, and I remember them playing with me. Playing my penis, and giggling. I thought that was pretty cool. That was my initiation into sex. At that age you don't necessarily achieve an erection, but it was cool. At around the same time there was a girl my age who was, in essence, my cousin. Later in life she actually wound up marrying that asshole Leo Lupton, my stepfather! Boy this sounds like Tobacco Road. Anyway, I remember the two of us being so curious about each other's bodies, but not knowing what the hell to do. We would go into the woods and get naked together. It felt good. And for some reason I wanted to put crushed leaves into her. Don't know why, but I remember that. I don't remember the first time I had intercourse, believe it or not.
PLAYBOY: Your growing up was pretty accelerated.
MCMAHON: God, yes.
In Part 3, Vince McMahon discusses the ramifications of not having a father in his life, and getting to know his own and finding a place for himself in the wrestling business.