WWE CEO Nick Khan has explained why he always expected Vince McMahon to return to WWE and says it’s “not that insane” to him.
Khan has been a big player in WWE since joining the company. He currently acts as the company’s CEO, a role he previously held alongside Stephanie McMahon prior to her resignation. That came as her father Vince McMahon returned to WWE’s Board of Directors before being installed as Executive Chairman.
It is widely believed that Vince McMahon has returned to help oversee a sale of the company, something that could benefit Nick Khan’s bank balance immeasurably according to recent reports.
Speaking on the Bill Simmons Podcast, Nick Khan gave his thoughts on Vince McMahon’s return and why it was something he always saw coming:
“From the inside, it’s not that insane to me…my thought has always been ‘there’s only one boss at WWE and it ain’t me.’ It was always my point of view, always Stephanie’s point of view that he would, at some point, come back. I think the way that he played it, to me, was smart. In that, he went away for five, six months, which people – meaning the audience – seems to like when somebody does that. And he came back and took control back of his company as the controlling shareholder.”
“So it is the public’s company, it’s a publicly-traded company, but that controlling share gave him a lot of authority, and he used it and I applaud him for doing so. To me WWE is Vince, Vince is WWE and we’re going to do the best we can to keep building the company.“
Khan then added that he made an effort to keep in frequent contact with McMahon during his short-lived retirement:
“I made it a point, as did others, to see him about once a month or so while he was sitting out. I was surprised [Vince stepped down] in the moment. But once I thought about it for a couple of days, it made total sense to me. I wouldn’t say it caught me off-guard because, again, we were on the inside sort of feeling a bit of the pressure that was going on. So it certainly seemed, again, the right thing at the right time.”
Nick Khan then explained that he wasn’t surprised by Vince McMahon’s return and says anyone that thought his retirement was permanent doesn’t really know the Chairman of the Board:
“No. No. That’s Vince. Anyone who knows him…anyone who believed that [his retirement] was permanent, doesn’t know him. That was never gonna happen, but I’m appreciative of the fact he gave it five, six months to let the dust settle a bit and then coming back in the way that he’s come back.”
“I think the succession plan in his mind is the one he put in place when he stepped down. Which was Paul (Triple H) runs creative and then Stephanie and I co-run, or help to run the company, if you will, with Steph as Chairwoman. So, to me, I never got a sense of any sort of bitterness or anything like that. He seemed, for the first month of his hiatus, thrilled […] I think by month five, he was getting ready to return.”
“I think the strategic alternative process is a real one, I think he’s hyped for it. I haven’t seen any sort of ‘heat’ from him towards anybody who was at WWE, with WWE, there’s no commentary from him – certainly to me, and I’ve been in touch with him (as you might imagine) a lot this past week – there’s no ‘Why did you and Paul hire this?’ or ‘Why did Steph and you do that?’ There’s been none of that.”