Roderick James "Jess" McMahon (May 26, 1882 - November 21, 1954) was a professional wrestling, professional boxing promoter, and the patriarch of the McMahon wrestling family. McMahon was the founder of the Capitol Wrestling Corporation, along with Toots Mondt.
Roderick James McMahon was born May 26, 1882, to Roderick and Elizabeth McMahon. They had recently moved from Ireland to New York City. He and his brother Edward attended Manhattan College where Roderick graduated with a commercial diploma at the age of 17. The loss of their father resulted in the two brothers taking jobs as bank clerks, although they expressed interest in sports.
By 1909, the McMahon brothers were managing partners of the Olympic Athletic Club and bookers at the Empire and St. Nichols Athletic Clubs, located in Harlem. Facing a loss of public interest in boxing, the two McMahons overcame obstacles to appease the public with high quality fights. They expanded their affairs in 1911, founding the New York Lincoln Giants, a championship caliber baseball team. Touring with the squad, McMahon and his brother ventured to Havana, Cuba, where in 1915 the co-promoted the World Boxing Association match between Jess Willard and then-champion Jack Johnson in a 45-round fight. Soon after, he left his boxing career behind and anchored in Long Island, where he became the first McMahon to promote professional wrestling, at the Municipal Stadium. The vicious wrestling wars led McMahon to ally himself with another independent faction captained by Carlos Louis Henriquez. Together they booked the Coney Island and Brooklyn Sport Stadiums, with Carlos being the main fan favourite. The formation of the "Trust" calmed New York territory enough to allow McMahon to have access to a larger pool of wrestlers. Among the wrestlers were the likes of Jim Browning, Hans Kampfer, Mike Romano and Everette Marshall. By 1937, wrestling popularity was waning, however while most bookers left the city for fresher ground, Jess dug in for the long haul. His contacts allowed him to freely trade wrestlers with promotors in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Connecticut.
A perpetual force in the Northeastern sportsworld, Jess would most probably be remembered for his spell as matchmaker at the Garden than for his 20 years as a wrestling promotor. On November 21, 1954, as a result of a cerebral haemorrhage, Jess died at a hospital in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Upon Jess's death, his second son Vincent J. McMahon took over the business, eventually creating the World Wide Wrestling Federation, known today as World Wrestling Entertainment.
Roderick married a young New York woman named Rose, who was of Irish descent, and together they had three children, Vincent J. McMahon, Roderick Jr., and a daughter named Dorothy. His grandson, Vincent Kennedy McMahon, currently runs WWE. Jess's great-granddaughter Stephanie McMahon also works for the company. His great-grandson Shane McMahon also worked for the company before ending his 20-year stint in 2010.