Today’s news and press release on former WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon taking steps for his return to the company to help with a potential sale has reportedly shocked people within WWE.
As reported back in mid-December, The Wall Street Journal revealed that McMahon told people he plans to make a comeback at WWE an that he received bad advice from people close to him to step down back in July, and that he now believes the allegations and investigations would have blown over had he stayed, according to these people. It was then reported today that McMahon has made the first steps to make his return to the company as he is looking to help lead a sale, and that he is looking to bring on former WWE Co-Presidents Michelle Wilson and George Barrios to help, who were shockingly let go in early 2020. Shortly after that report broke, McMahon issued a press release to confirm his plans for a return, with a statement and more details. You can click here for the mid-December report that included details on Vince’s recent responses to two accusers, you can click here for today’s report on Vince’s comeback plans for the potential sale, which includes the reported response from the WWE Board of Directors and how they feel about a possible return, and you can click here for the report on Vince’s press release.
In an update, a new report from Fightful Select notes that multiple sources were “floored” by the news. It was noted that no one in any department – talent, production, creative or general staff – said they were tipped off or given any information before or immediately after the news broke today.
“Not one bit, but considering some people from his regime were kept this long, they must have known it would happen. We’ll see if they talk to us tomorrow,” said one talent, referring to tomorrow’s SmackDown tapings.
When it was reported in mid-December that McMahon was looking to return in some capacity, sources spoke anonymously and made it clear Vince was not wanted back in a general sense. It’s said that Vince does have at least some supporters still.
There has been at least some concern among talent that McMahon could return to the creative side of things. Production employees also were not informed of today’s news ahead of time, and the unanimous reaction from production sources that are speaking was either bad news, or “news above their pay grade” that they wouldn’t concern themselves with until they needed to.
One talent said, “Finding out online is scary, and it’s Vince so I don’t believe a word that he says. I’m hoping current management and everything doesn’t change, but only time will tell,” before noting they have a lot of respect for WWE Chief Content Officer Triple H and WWE Chairwoman & Co-CEO Stephanie McMahon. Another talent says they believe their will be roster uproar if Vince returns to head up creative.
“I can’t count how many interviews I’ve read or people I talked to outside of the company that said ‘Vince liked me, but I got fired,’ He didn’t like you, he didn’t like any of them he fired or they wouldn’t have been fired during a pandemic,” one concerned higher-up reportedly said.
“I would be blown away if he returned to creative,” a recently-signed talent said.
As we’ve noted, it was initially revealed on Wednesday, June 15 that WWE’s Board of Directors had been investigating then-Chairman & CEO Vince over the “secret $3 million settlement” he made to a former paralegal that was hired in 2019. Then-Talent Relations head Laurinaitis was also being investigated for his involvement, and it was revealed that the Board had been looking into other instances with former female employees as well. It was then announced on Friday, June 17 that Stephanie McMahon returned from her leave of absence to act as the Interim CEO & Interim Chairwoman after Vince voluntarily stepped away from his Chairman & CEO corporate duties, while still continuing his creative responsibilities, at least at that time. It was then revealed on Monday, June 20 that Bruce Prichard, WWE’s Senior Vice President and RAW/SmackDown Executive Producer, was working as the Interim Senior Vice President of Talent Relations, filling in for Laurinaitis during the investigation. It was then revealed on Friday, July 8, that McMahon agreed to pay more than $12 million in “hush money” to four women, including a former wrestler, as another round of allegations were made public. Prichard is no longer working the interim role as WWE announced on July 22 that Triple H is the new WWE Executive Vice President of Talent Relations. Vince’s retirement was announced hours after Triple H’s new role was announced, and Vince was the first to confirm that Stephanie is the new Chairwoman & Co-CEO, along with Co-CEO Nick Khan. Laurinaitis was also confirmed to be gone from the company. WWE announced on July 25 that Triple H is also the new head of creative, and his title was upgraded to WWE Chief Content Officer. There have also been additional promotions and corporate changes since then. WWE also announced on July 25 that previous financial statements were being revised due to “certain unrecorded expenses” by Vince, in the amount of $14.6 million, which are the payouts to various women. WWE noted then that Vince was personally re-paying the amount. It was also revealed on July 25 that the federal government is investigating the McMahon payouts. It was then revealed on August 9 that another $5 million in payments was made by McMahon, and he will be paying that money back to the company like the previous payments. You can find full details at the links below, including statements from Vince and Stephanie, full details on the anonymous e-mails that led to the investigations, the “hush money” pacts, and more, along with recent WWE comments on how the scandal hurt the company, and comments on the end of the Special Committee investigation.
Stay tuned to WrestlingHeadlines.com for more. Below are links to some of our recent reports on the McMahon – Laurinaitis situation:
FULL COVERAGE OF THE VINCE MCMAHON – JOHN LAURINAITIS ALLEGATIONS AND FALLOUT: