Long-time allies of Vince McMahon are said to even be against the idea of him returning to the helm of WWE according to a new report.
After forty years as the boss of WWE, McMahon retired from his role in July 2022. He was replaced by his daughter Stephanie McMahon as company Chairwoman, while she along with Nick Khan are WWE’s co-CEOs. Triple H was tasked with leading the company’s creative direction on television and was given the title of Chief Content Officer.
Vince McMahon’s retirement came amid an internal WWE investigation into allegations of hush money payments made to female ex-employees of the company as a result of alleged sexual misconduct by McMahon.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Vince McMahon is facing new demands for financial compensation as a result of alleged sexual assault. Former WWE referee Rita Chatterton has launched a demand for over $11 million while an unspecified amount is sought by a former spa manager who alleges McMahon assaulted her at a California resort.
Interestingly, the Journal’s report notes that McMahon was planning an audacious comeback to WWE, according to sources familiar with McMahon’s comments. McMahon has said that he received “bad advice” to step away from the company from “people close to him” and that had he stayed on as WWE Chairman and CEO, he believes the allegations and investigations would have blown over.
Speaking on Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer noted that Vince McMahon does want to come back to WWE but if he does, it could cause a major backlash with the company’s broadcast partners:
“Vince wants back. Vince is the majority shareholder. He owns the most voting power. He does not own 50% of the stock, but he does own probably close to 80% of the voting power. If it was a private company, he could be in tomorrow. But because it’s a public company, the Board of Directors have to make decisions, and the Board of Directors, their job is to look out for the company, and they may very well believe – and probably do – that Vince coming back would not be the best thing.”
“He left because of these allegations that are public, if he came back, there would definitely be issues with some sponsors, there’d be queasiness. Even perhaps Fox and USA. You’re definitely risking that because, with these different allegations out and the payoffs and stuff like that – it’d be a big, big, big risk.”
Meltzer also noted an interesting point coming out of the story being that if McMahon does want to return, he might block any potential sale of the company due to being the majority owner:
“Another key thing with that story is that because he wants to come back, that company’s not being sold. It can’t be sold, because then he’ll have no voting power.”
If it’s sold, he’s never coming back. And obviously, as long as he wants to come back, he will not sell this company. And he does have, because of owning over 50% of the voting shares, he can block any sale that Nick Khan or anybody else, Stephanie, wants to do. With anyone. So that’s one of the big stories in this, is whatever talks of sale there is, it can’t happen until Vince gives up the ghost and says, ‘I’m not gonna come back’. As long as Vince has this attitude, they’re not gonna be able to sell.”
Dave Meltzer also noted that people that were considered allies of Vince McMahon may no longer feel that way in a business sense as they think his return would be “the worst thing:”
“There’s a lot of other ramifications to this too. The morale situation, now everyone’s kind of uncertain again of what’s going on. There’s really a lot of uncertainty in the company. It would be major, major internal upheaval in that company for him to come back. But he’s Vince, and maybe he will. He will certainly try. In itself, just the fact that he’s trying, is gonna be a big, big story.”
“I know allies of Vince – very much allies of Vince and very protective of Vince and things like that – who are not business allies of Vince within that company right now, because they know that it would be the worst thing. And they are very strong allies of Vince. People who you would think are his allies, you don’t know. People are happier in the company, they know the company’s running better, and so the people who are allies or looking at the best interests of the company, they don’t want him back.”