Sigh, here we go again… In case you missed it, yet another “bombshell” of a story was released on Vince McMahon former owner and President/CEO/Chairman of the WWE and now TKO Board Chairman… Gee, is it a Wednesday? Prior to this story, Vince McMahon accumulated up to $20 million in settlements for the past 20 years with female employees or wrestlers. Non-Disclosure Agreements were signed for said sexual harassment (or maybe assault) infractions that kept things hush-hush and out of the law’s hands.
A former female employee of the WWE filed a lawsuit alleging being “the victim of physical and emotional abuse, sexual assault, and trafficking at WWE”. The employee is also filing not just to address her own suffering, but for those who are afraid to speak out! I could get into the dirty details of the allegation, but they are quite graphic. The lawsuit is also filed against John Laurinaitis, who was participated in the allegations as well and was also involved in multiple other workplace issues that required settlements/NDAs. In fact, both of Johnny Ace’s exits from WWE (mid 2012, mid 2022) were as a result of highly questionable behavior.
And now this…
Certainly, I can understand why people refuse to watch WWE because it has been led by Vince McMahon and he’s pretty much had his way with the company’s on-screen product and with particularly women who work for the company. While I knew that he was an admitted cheater, despite his marriage to Linda, and there was a past accusation of a female referee during the 1980s (which he settled during 2022’s stuff), it wasn’t to THIS LEVEL of accusations along with the $20 million in NDA/settlements announced during 2022.
Personally on my end, I became more of a WCW fan when the early 1990s steroid allegations were thrown at Vince and I actually boycotted the WWE from mid-2007 through late 2009 (no columns from me) due to WWE’s lack of concussion protocols and the lack of drug testing heavily revealed following Chris Benoit’s murders/suicide. Once I observed a stronger Wellness Program in place and stronger concussion protocols, I started casually watching again and returned to writing columns during early 2010.
For me, I know Vince McMahon is shady… BUT NOT EVERYONE WHO WORKS WITH HIM IS… There have been many great workers who put on great shows for fans and then are quite welcoming to them with fan service from appearances, etc. Big shows like Wrestlemania, SummerSlam, and Royal Rumble have enriched our lives with great entertainment and afforded great income opportunities for those who worked for Vince McMahon. Just because John Laurinaitis is allegedly involved in Vince McMahon’s weird personal games, doesn’t anyone else is (though a “UFC fighter and WWE wrestler” wanting to re-sign during 2021 may have been involved… Allegedly). But again, those who were involved in any trafficking or sex games with Vince need to fry in hell with him.
WWE is a 24-hour job and when you’re working there, you’re close to everyone in the company. WHY WAS THERE SO MUCH SILENCE?!?!
To me, it’s not the Kingpin at the top, but the enablers below him who either let them get away with crimes to please the boss or are afraid of him.
Several of the NDA/Settlements occurred during the 2000s when Linda McMahon, Vince’s wife, was President/CEO of the WWE corporation. Trust me, in that position, she saw those legal threats and likely signed off on those settlements. She probably also made the decision to not report those settlements in WWE’s company financials.
There are many EVPs, SVPs, VPs, and other office workers in that WWE office building in Stamford, CT. Anytime there is an office romance, you know because gossip gets around. If you see a new employee who seems to be liked by upper management, yet that person lacks any real skillset to have that job, you know what’s going on. But why wasn’t anything said?
People like Kevin Dunn, Stephanie McMahon, Triple H, Michael P.S. Hayes, and many others have been around Vince backstage and at the office for DECADES… Nothing to say?
I wonder what Stephanie McMahon‘s reasoning was for her early 2022 exit was? She was a WWE board member at the time, so hence she heard the allegations made to the board about a victim who signed an NDA. Then when Vince McMahon forcefully reclaimed his top role in the WWE during early 2023, Stephanie resigned abruptly. Obviously, you don’t want to drag your father through the mud and that’s the likely position Triple H is in with his father-in-law. Vince made HHH lots of money as a wrestler and executive, while obtaining his daughter’s hand in marriage. He’s likely going to be quiet, too, while setting a personal example contrary to him.
Makes you wonder why Kevin Dunn abruptly retired now at the end of 2023? Maybe he knew that the legal complaints train was going to take out Vince, and thus he’d be open season for removal as well?
It baffles me how silent so many workplaces were on bad actors… The #MeToo movement really emphasized terrible behavior in the workplace in Hollywood or for several Corporations while Pro Wrestling had its fill with the #SpeakingOut movement that cancelled a few workers from ever working again. With women having a wage gap with men, while males still hold most CEO and executive jobs, anyone female with an issue with a co-worker has probably felt intimidated.
But damn, Vince McMahon pre-2022 was viewed much differently than what we know now through early 2024, especially after today’s allegations.
As a WWE fan, now, it makes you appreciate who is really in charge of the WWE now. Nick Khan is a mystery and keeps his personal life very private. As far as we know, he’s never been in trouble or has any sexual harassment/assault allegations thrown at him. For Triple H, he’s clean and only has allegations from a heartbroken Chyna who only made public allegations but never pressed charges or lawsuits which HHH has categorically denied. As as far as we know, Triple H is a proud family man with his wife Stephanie McMahon. With Triple H, I sense that he tries to look out for talents, like a father, particularly with the women’s division. I believe that HHH wants to make a good, wholesome WWE product that his 3 daughters would enjoy.
Below Nick Khan and Triple H, you have groups of executives and direct reports who seem to be solid and hardworking people who aren’t playing in Vince’s weird games. You also have someone like Shawn Michaels who had personal demons 20 years ago and has been working hard ever since to remain clean and an inspiration for young WWE talents. HHH has helped build a culture that doesn’t have excessive partiers, drug use is WAY down, and wrestlers are very respectful of each other like a team.
If this lawsuit filed is legit towards Vince McMahon and John Laurinaitis, it’s not a big loss… Vince McMahon, through selling his company to Endeavor, has been rendered useless with Endeavor’s ownership % of TKO and Nick Khan acting as WWE President. Endeavor has also blocked Vince McMahon from micro-managing the WWE, like he used to, and focusing only on corporate duties. The only problem would be the $2-3 billion share buyout he could exercise, but I’m sure Endeavor and its cashflow could easily raise capital to cover that (ewww, rough with these interest rates).
Now, if the alleged UFC Fighter and WWE wrestler turns out to be who we thing it is… Let’s just appreciate that in his last match with the WWE, he put over another wrestler bigtime. He’s in the latter half of his 40s, too, and thus getting close to that expiration date. If these allegations are indeed true, they’ll stick with him if he joins another promotion. Thus, the WWE can rest easy letting him go, if they have to, because they already got the most of him, he’s getting older, and he put over a star in his last match. Not a big loss, though if he came back at the 2024 Royal Rumble to participate in WWE’s 2024 programs, it’s icing on the cake for an already stacked roster.
Now, if you’re a younger promoter in the wrestling business, LEARN from the lessons of Vince McMahon. Everything is about CULTURE… WWE is rebounding because Triple H is implementing a wholesome and inclusive culture, while HHH is at no risk of doing any settlements or NDAs himself. WWE has really boomed since 2022 under Triple H in charge with more experience and general concern for wrestlers’ lives. Hell, CM Punk even returned to the WWE culture and is feeling good so far.
But if you’re a male in a position of power, the tables are turning on you. All of that bad behavior is coming back at ya. Furthermore, if you’re the enablers to bad behavior, the pain is coming your way as well. Usually when a CEO gets terminated for cause, much of his staff gets terminated by the next CEO anyway. Which again, that makes me wonder why Kevin Dunn just abruptly retired from the WWE without any notice. Furthermore, Endeavor cleaned out WWE’s office building with many enablers who probably knew all about Vince McMahon’s games but said nothing out of loyalty to the man who gave them employment.
The problem with many is that they are LOYAL TO A FAULT… In other words, you’ve unknowingly become dependent on the person or company that you’re loyal to and provide absolute allegiance to them out of fear of what is unknown to you. Many WWE workers just got caught in the WWE routine and their brains were rewired to think that Vince McMahon could get away with anything. Doesn’t that sound familiar? There’s quite a big political movement out there that is loyal to 1 man and he’s friends with Vince McMahon along with being a WWE Hall of Famer.
If Vince McMahon was truly a corporate monster behind the scenes, as up to $20 million in NDA/Settlements and now this lawsuit horribly alleges, I just wonder who truly knew what Vince McMahon was doing and who enabled it by looking the other way. Seems like being in the WWE for Vince was like being in a cult, and many female employees were sacrificial lambs for the cult leader.
MOVING FORWARD, the company is in good hands with Nick Khan and Triple H. HHH, in particular, seems to sincerely care about his talents and the culture that HHH has installed has caused the WWE environment to thrive since mid-2022. So while Vince McMahon is vile man, many of those who work for WWE aren’t unless they were involved or knew about the terrible stuff Vince allegedly did with women. I think you can be quite proud of where WWE is headed right now, with or without Vince McMahon.
Don’t be surprised if Endeavor does the $2-3 billion stock buy out to get Vince McMahon out of their lives for good. After all, Endeavor/TKO listed Vince McMahon as a “risk factor” in their SEC filings due to his past legal behavior. Well, that risk is apparently here again.
Thanks for all of the entertainment, Vince… But damn, you’re disgusting.
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