Vince McMahon has been dominating the world of sports entertainment and most notably, professional wrestling, for many decades now. However, while Vince McMahon has found a lot of success in the pro wrestling world, he did have one notable failure and that came in the world of bodybuilding. In the early nineties, McMahon started his very own professional bodybuilding league known as the World Bodybuilding Federation. The company was initially set to be a foray into magazine publication as a magazine for those in the bodybuilding world. The publication was simply a front for something that was an even bigger undertaking and that was the World Bodybuilding Federation.
The promotion first gained notoriety at the 1990 IFBB Mr. Olympia competition, where McMahon purchased a booth to announce that he was opening a rival bodybuilding promotion. When the company launched in 1991, there was a total of thirteen bodybuilders signed to exclusive contracts, they were to be dubbed Bodystars. Of those thirteen competitors who Vince McMahon would sign to exclusive contracts, only one would be remembered and that was Gary Strydom and for a good reason you will soon find out. The promotion would make their official debut in June 1991 on pay-per-view, most notable among the first show was that television legend Regis Philbin was a host on the show.
In a way to cross promote the WBF with his much more popular World Wrestling Federation (now WWE), McMahon had five stars from each brand battle it out on Family Feud. McMahon, thinking what would work in pro wrestling would work in the world of bodybuilding, decided to give each bodybuilder a distinct persona or character. This move, although an interesting move by McMahon, would prove to raise the ire of the bodybuilding purist out there. By the way, it would be Gary Strydom who would win the initial competition and be named the inaugural WBF World Bodybuilding Champion. The promotion was struggling along as we move onto 1992 and McMahon, in an attempt to gain more attention for his struggling brand, would be in The Incredible Hulk…or so he thought.
McMahon would announce that legendary bodybuilder and star of the TV show The Incredible Hulk, Lou Ferringo, would be returning to competition at the WBF. The deal would quickly turn sour though as Ferringo would never make a single appearance for the promotion because some last second items caused the deal to fall through. McMahon, again reaching from the world of professional wrestling, would sign longtime World Championship Wrestling star Lex Luger to not compete in the WWF, but in the WBF. Fate would crush McMahon and the WBF again as Luger would get into a career threatening motorcycle accident before his WBF debut. Luger would appear on the final WBF pay-per-view event, but not as a competitor, just as somebody being interviewed on the broadcast.
Gary Strydom would again become the WBF World Bodybuilding Champion in 1992 and ironically, the only champion in the promotions history. Due to low pay-per-view buy rates and his attempt to mingle pro wrestling in the world of bodybuilding, McMahon would close the promotion down in 1992. It has been nearly twenty five years since the final World Bodybuilding Federation event, but the story of the companies fall and the effect it had on bodybuilding will be remembered forever.