Hillbilly Jim on Vince McMahon Spending Recklessly in the ’80s

Hillbilly Jim shares the story of Uncle Elmer (Stan Frazier) being unable to make a WWF show in the ’80s and how Vince McMahon reacted in an excessive, wasteful way.

Hillbilly Jim tells the story of the time Uncle Elmer (Stan Frazier) couldn't make a show in the '80s and how Vince McMahon reacted in an exorbitant/wasteful way.
[Photoshop extraordinaire: JP Zarka]
Vince McMahon wasn’t born with a silver spoon. It was quite the opposite. He grew up with his mother, Vicky, and abusive step-father in an 8-foot-wide New Moon trailer in a trailer park. Before that, he lived in Manly, North Carolina, in a house with no indoor plumbing where he had to go outside whenever he needed to use the privy.


"I grew up dirt poor," McMahon shared in a 2016 interview with Muscle & Fitness. "When you’re in that class, a lower economic class, everyone is, quote, ‘above you.’ And there were a number of individuals who thought they were above me because of their economic situation. It always bugged me that people would think they were better than me. I developed a philosophy that no one’s better than me, and at the same time, I’m no better than anyone else."

His meager start in life fueled his ambition, and by the mid-’80s, McMahon was surrounded by excess via the boom period of WWF’s Golden Era. There are many stories out there of the unnecessary spending Eric Bischoff made in WCW with someone else’s money, but Vince was no better with his own. This story is an example of that!

"Uncle Elmer [was booked for] a match against King Kong Bundy," Hillbilly Jim began in a 2012 shoot interview with RF Video. "It was already advertised. [But apparently] he ‘ain’t going.’ Vince was livid!

"‘You gotta go.’

"‘ME gotta go?’

"‘YOU gotta go.’

"‘How am I gonna get there..?’

"They hired a Learjet."

Rather than Vince use any other member on the roster to take the place of Uncle Elmer, he dug deep into his pockets to fly Hillbilly Jim out to Providence, Rhode Island, as a replacement.

"So I’m flying along when the captain says, ‘Hey, you must be a pretty important guy.’

"I was sitting back going [looks around] ‘Me?’

"He said, ‘Yeah, you must be a pretty important guy.’

"I said, ‘Why you say that?’

"He says, ‘Well, you’re just flying there by yourself…’

"I then asked, ‘How much does it cost to fly me?’

"To which he replied, ‘$27,000.’

"Remember – this is in the 80s!"

When Hillbilly Jim arrived in the town of the show, he was in for quite a surprise.

"[Later in the limo] I say to the driver, ‘Take me to the arena!’

"He said, ‘Nah, just take your time. Don’t worry about it…’

"I said, ‘No, I need to get there-!’

"He says [calmly] ‘Don’t worry about it, I’m here to take you to the hotel.’

"I said, ‘BROTHER! I have to be at the Providence Civic Centre!’

"The dude looked around the corner, and he says, ‘Uncle Elmer showed up.’"

Uncle Elmer almost no-showed the event in Providence because he was trying to hardball Vince for more money. As it turns out, things were worked out between the two before Hillbilly Jim even landed. Despite not being needed at the show, Jim got a sweet ride and a unique story to share from the experience!

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JP Zarka founded Pro Wrestling Stories in 2015 and is the creative force behind the website as editor-in-chief. From 2018-19, he was the podcast host and producer for The Genius Cast with Lanny Poffo, brother of WWE legend Macho Man Randy Savage. His diverse career includes work as an elementary school teacher, assistant principal, and musician, notably as a singer-songwriter with the London-based band Sterling Avenue. Zarka has appeared on TV programs like “Autopsy: The Last Hours of” on Reelz (U.S.) and Channel 5 (U.K.) and has contributed research for programming on ITV and BBC.