Jess McMahon

The patriarch of the McMahon family, Roderick James "Jess" McMahon first cut his teeth as a promoter forming a Negro Leagues baseball team named the New York Lincoln Giants. Along with his brother Eddie, Jess delved into boxing. The brothers were successful, beginning with matchmaking at the Empire Athletic Club. Defying convention, they held mixed-race bouts, which was taboo. Eventually, Jess' reputation grew to the point he was appointed matchmaker at Madison Square Garden by esteemed boxing promoter Tex Rickard. Notably Jess co-promoted a bout between Jack Johnson and Jess Willard. With a decline in boxing that was aided by World War I, Jess made his foray into wrestling. As Rickard disliked pro wrestling, there was a "no wrestling at the Garden" policy so Jess joined promoters Joseph "Toots" Mondt, Ray Fabiani, Rudy Dusek, Jack Pfefer, Paul Bowser and the Johnston Brothers. In 1932, Jess began presenting cards at Municipal Stadium in Long Island. Promoters waged battles over territory and Jess allied himself with wrestler Carlos Henriquez, booking events at the Coney Island and Brooklyn Sports Stadiums. The formation of "The Trust" quelled the raging territory wars and allowed Jess to now sign prominent wrestlers including Gino Garibaldi, Jim Browning, Hans Kampfer, Sandor Szabo, Tor Johnson and Abe Kashey. However, it was his partnership with Toots Mondt that would lead to his most significant venture as a wrestling promoter - the founding of Capitol Wrestling Corporation (now World Wrestling Entertainment) on January 7, 1952 and joining National Wrestling Alliance. Jess passed in 1954 so he would not see what became of his creation and his son Vincent James McMahon would take it to the next level along with Mondt. While Jess' legacy is more prolific as a boxing promoter, he set the foundation for a wrestling dynasty that is thriving nearly 70 years later.