There was a WWE investors conference call earlier today based on the financial information that WWE released earlier today for the fourth quarter of 2018 and the year-end 2018. You can read all about it in the press release that WWE released today.
The below quotes are from WWE’s Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon during the investors call with thanks to WrestlingInc for the transcript:
Vince McMahon responding to a question about Ronda Rousey’s role in WWE:
“We can bring people in from the outside to our environment. It can’t be just a one-off type thing because our audience realizes that’s not going to push the envelope as far as their enjoyment of what we do. Nonetheless, bringing Ronda in gave us more visibility in terms of the initiative of reaching more women. And when you do something like that it allows you to not just use Ronda’s platform from a different niche to come into WWE, Ronda in of herself becomes a brand of WWE. It’s a different Ronda than what you saw before, in terms of UFC and things of that nature. When you put talent, rub talent up against Ronda, Ronda can help us make talent, and she’s doing just that. She knows how to do it, she’s one of the brightest people we’ve ever done business with. And the fact that she’s adapted to the WWE culture so fast, it really is truly an amazing salute to her as an athlete, and as a human being. So, the Rondas will come in and out, and when they do, as long as we know what those dates are, we plan around it.”
Vince McMahon commenting on John Cena’s absence from WWE:
“The unfortunate aspect of sometimes in our business, is that we… our performers are not cartoons. They get hurt. This year, leading up to where we are now, we’ve had an inornate number of injuries. And when you have injuries… you know, there’s a whole bunch of them. Roman Reigns being the principle among them. And even John Cena, not an injury type thing but we thought we were going to have John be more of a part of our programming than we do. John, God bless him, is making more movies. And even John, I would think, would say, ‘Geez, I thought I was going to spend more time with what I love to do,’ which is WWE. So, he’s been coming in and out, he’s not really a part of our storyline.”
Vince McMahon on injury situations in WWE:
“You lose John, you lose Roman Reigns. In addition to that, we’ve had injuries… Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch, who is one of our top female performers, was injured. Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, Bray Wyatt, Charlotte Flair, Alexa Bliss, Braun Strowman, Dean Ambrose, Ember Moon, Samoa Joe, Akam from a new tag team, Jason Jordan, Fandango, Big Show, Seth Rollins. It’s like we… you had all these injuries, which is really unusual for us, and they’re characters.
It’s no different if you’re writing a soap opera and all of a sudden your main character wasn’t there. You’re in the middle of production, what do you do? You very nimbly change the storyline, but it’s not as good as the original one. Sometimes it is better because we’re pretty good at it, but those are things that we’re faced with, and one of the reasons why television ratings have dropped. And one of the reasons, obviously, from a live event standpoint, that’s dropped too. Because if you don’t have your favorites on television, obviously you can’t see them at a live event either. We’re wide open and Ronda’s done an extraordinary job. There will be other individuals coming from different areas that will join us on a longterm basis, that will help us as well.”
TJR Thoughts: It’s not a surprise that Vince would be happy with Rousey’s performance because she has done well. His point about Rousey attracting to WWE is true and that’s why they have pushed her so hard. They are right to push her like that.
Some of the names he mentioned about injuries haven’t been out that long or had injuries at some point in the last year that put them on the sidelines. I don’t know if there are more injuries now than if there were a few years ago, but there are definitely a lot. Would that lead to WWE changing their schedule and giving more off days to the talent? Maybe, but I think WWE is going to stick to their usual schedule because that’s just how the business is.