WWE boss Vince McMahonis opening up about a contentious 20-year-old HBO interview he did with Bob Costas ... saying if Costas were bigger, the two would have come to blows.
The revelation was made in Jim Miller's new book Tinderbox: HBO's Ruthless Pursuit of New Frontiers ... where both McMahon and Costas recalled the combative convo that apparently left a bitter taste in Vince's mouth even to this day.
During the 2001 interview, Costas drilled Vince with a wide range of questions on everything from the XFL's ratings to certain aspects of WWE that he found distasteful ... and, well, McMahon wasn't too thrilled about it.
“Once we were doing the interview, he kept interrupting me and interrupting me, and bringing up topics that had nothing to do with what we were supposed to be talking about,” McMahon said.
“He kept trying to do the ‘I gotcha’ kind of thing. It was clear he didn’t want to hear any of my answers."
The interview got so heated at one point, that McMahon actually sat up in his chair, told Costas to shut his mouth ... and accused the legendary sportscaster of not knowing what he was talking about.
“The other problem was that Bob is so freaking pompous. The entire time he acted like he was above me and was just using me to show how great he was," Vince said.
"I was sitting there really pissed off and started thinking, I wish he wasn’t 5-feet high and 140 pounds. If he was 6-5 and 295, he would deserve to get the s**t beat out of him. I could have really given them some great television.”
Speaking of great TV ... Costas admits he knew the two were having a memorable moment, but contends his questions were coming from a legitimate place and not a malicious one.
McMahon was so furious over it all that he stormed off after the interview ... slamming doors in the process, according to Costas.
The two would go on to have another interview a year later ... however, that encounter was far less memorable than the first one.