Earlier today, Vince McMahon released a press release outlining the first steps of his scheme to regain his status as CEO of WWE. His plan agrees with Wall Street Journal Latest reports on this issue.
Ostensibly, Vince’s power game involves making it easier to sell the company to increase shareholder value. In some ways, though, his words amounted to a threat to hold up some of WWE’s upcoming major business deals if the board of directors did not agree to his request to reinstate the responsibility. Speaking of the board of directors, Vince plans to elect to the board the people he chose himself, including himself, in order to strengthen his influence and position in this battle.
I’m no expert on the nuances of this topic, but thankfully Wrestlenomics’ Brandon Thurston Ring in the matter. He addressed the situation on YouTube, noting that Vince’s inclination to sell the company is a way to counter the notion that it’s too risky to bring him back into the company after last year’s financial investigation. Thurston responded to WWE’s stock price hike today with the following:
Maybe this is motivated by the idea that, well, he says he wants to come back so he can make a sale. This is good for the share price. Because now [he] He could say, “I’m not trying to come back to the company just because I like control and want to be in charge of the company again, but I’m going back to the company because I’m doing something really good for shareholders, it’s driving shareholder value, by talking about what I want to be.” And that’s his way back in again, if he’s going to do something to offset what he’s going to see as the risk associated with him coming back into the company and being a CEO again.”
If you want a reminder of some of the risks WWE faces with a potential McMahon return, Thurston touches on two ongoing stories of alleged sexual misconduct:
It was reported that Rita Chatterton, who worked as a referee in the 1980s in WWE, and who claims she was raped by Vince McMahon, was seeking a settlement due to a recent law change in New York state. People claiming to be victims of sexual assault can file civil lawsuits. Similarly in California, where The Wall Street Journal reported that in 2011 another allegation of sexual misconduct against Vince McMahon involved an individual he met at a spa in California.
If Vince returns to power in WWE, it opens the door to a world of trouble for the company, which is why the board of directors voted unanimously on his first request for a return to power last month.
“If he returns, does this re-energize SEC scrutiny? Are there investigations that could happen that would put WWE, the company, in trouble?”
After he announced he was leaving the company, The Wall Street Journal reported that… there were government inquiries, there were investigations, and there were files released by WWE that referenced subpoenas. So it looks like there was a lot of federal government scrutiny… maybe. Revitalizing investigations back? That could hurt WWE’s brand value.”
Stephanie McMahon recently admitted that Vince’s disgraceful resignation hurt WWE’s advertising dollars in 2022.
“Stephanie McMahon on her most recent earnings call…she said there was a ‘pause’ on advertisers wanting to buy ad space with WWE because of the news surrounding Vince. So there’s a risk there.”
The networks and platforms bidding on WWE TV rights could have a huge impact here. If they’re not willing to deal with Vince in charge over concerns about losing sponsors, McMahon’s claim that his comeback is good for shareholders falls apart quickly:
Ultimately, that will be up to NBCUniversal and FOX, and maybe whoever else is interested in their rights, maybe Amazon, are the ones who have a lot of power here. Because they’re the ones who really hold the keys to WWE’s value, because a lot of it [WWE’s] The value is consolidated into a single revenue stream, the live TV rights fee.”
Even with all of these risks explained, Thurston believes Vince is likely to successfully return to power in WWE. And he might be willing to burn everything in order to win this battle:
“I was inclined to expect him to come back. I was more hesitant [several weeks ago]But I don’t see anything stopping him. My impression is that there is no Wall Street Journal article, sourced as is, unless he really would do it…and I don’t see the legal barriers that would really prevent him from doing this.”
“I think Vince wants to be in control, and any situation where Vince isn’t in control is not what he wants. And he’s willing to burn his house down to make that happen.”
Now that you’ve had more time to digest the Vince McMahon news, where do you think this story is headed next? Let us know in the comments below, Cagesiders.