The question of Vince McMahon’s influence on WWE’s creative has been the subject of intense speculation ever since he forced his way back into the company in early 2023.
While Triple H (Paul Levesque) is officially running the creative direction of the company, Vince McMahon has been making now weekly changes to both Raw and SmackDown with many of those changes taking place on the show days themselves. This has led to several alterations to shows with advertised matches being scrapped with no warning to fans tuning in.
Speaking on Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer noted that Friday’s SmackDown show was entirely changed by McMahon and speculated that this will be causing discontent in the company’s creative department:
“He re-did the entire show (SmackDown). I’ve heard a lot about this, and I know that there’s rumors that… everyone’s gotta be, like, treading on water. Because I am sure, logic will tell you, that there are many unhappy people. And Paul Levesque has to be one of them. These are matches that were built up with promos, they’ve been promoted for a week, they did the angles last week, and then just take them away like nothing.
“So it’s gotta be frustrating for the writers, it’s gotta be frustrating for Paul Levesque. But the thing is, it’s Vince, right? And you can’t say anything. That’s what somebody brought up to me, if you’re a writer, you can’t say anything to Vince. Even if you’re Paul Levesque you can’t say anything to Vince because you’re f**ked if you say anything to Vince. So you can’t say anything.
“They’re trying to figure out a way to have him not do this. One person noted to me like, it would be a lot better if you did it the day before, or two days before. But he’s doing it the day of the show. (Last) Monday wasn’t bad, it was only he dumped the Seth Rollins and Ciampa match, and I knew a lot of people who thought it was for the better because the Finn Balor attacking Seth Rollins, it adds more heat to the pay-per-view.”
Meltzer continued by noting that Vince McMahon clearly has differing priorities and they can be judged by what and who is being moved around on the shows:
“Yeah, you missed out on Seth Rollins and Ciampa, would have probably had a really good match. Ciampa would have lost but it would have been… I think he would have benefited a lot more losing to Seth than he would beating Miz. He didn’t get anything out of beating Miz. But, he’s not Vince’s priority.
“Just like this week, whatever they were gonna do with Shotzi and Bayley, Shotzi and Bayley aren’t Vince’s priority. Cameron Grimes and Baron Corbin aren’t Vince’s priority.
“They added that Rey Mysterio/LA Knight match for LA Knight to get a win, so obviously Vince has gotta be somewhat high on LA Knight, and in Vince’s eyes, Rey is a guy that you always beat because people will always get into his matches and he’s bulletproof and all that.”
Meltzer also added that he’s sure there are frustrations surrounding McMahon’s changes in the company but nobody is going to confront the Executive Chairman:
“When I saw that unadvertised match when I was watching it before I had even heard, it was like ‘This is Vince. I know Vince’s MO with Rey’. All these things that are advertised that don’t happen in the last couple of weeks, they’re always, or 90% of the time or more, they’re Vince. But this one was the most because it was three matches advertised all pulled hours before the show. So there was a lot of frustration. But it’s Vince.
“I’m sure there’s gonna be people who are gonna try to ask him nicely, but it’s Vince, he’s gonna do what he’s gonna do.”
Former WWE US Champion Ricochet recently discussed Vince McMahon’s influence in the company, noting that McMahon has his “fingers in everything.”