So I was sitting at the Retirement Home for Internet Columnists, enjoying my oatmeal, and then I dared to tune into NoDQ.com to check in on my former stomping grounds…
And then I saw story after story regarding Vince McMahon…
What the hell?
In case you missed it, here is a summary of what has allegedly happened and a significant WWE Corporate change that happened in response of this story (thank you to the Wall Street Journal for their journalism on this topic):
1) Reportedly, there was a paralegal hired during 2019 who left the WWE during January 2022 with a signed Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) and a reported settlement of $3 million.
2) Various WWE Board of Directors (not named) began investigating this “secret settlement” during April along with other NDAs signed that involved not just Vince McMahon, but Talent Relations manager John Laurinaitis.
3) The WWE Board appeared to be tipped off by an email sent to various Board members regarding the paralegal being hired at a salary of $100,000 but was soon promoted to earning $200,000 reportedly (around April 2021, Fightful reports) after beginning her affair with Vince McMahon. Then, it is alleged that Vince McMahon “gave her like a toy” to John Laurinaitis.
Obviously, this is a huge Public Relations hit for the WWE, a publicly traded company. But it could be a Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) nightmare where the Federal Government becomes involved because (a) the paralegal was promoted reportedly due to the affair and WWE funds were used to pay for that promotion and (b) if the settlement of the reported $3 million was paid out by WWE Corporation. With Vince McMahon, WWE CEO/President, Board Chairman, and MAJORITY WWE STOCK SHAREHOLDER involved, WWE funds could be argued to have been directly and indirectly involved.
In response to the allegations and breaking news stories, Vince McMahon has agreed to step down as President/CEO and Board Chairman of the WWE Corporation while Stephanie McMahon has become the “interim” President/CEO and Board Chairman in his place. Yes, THAT Stephanie McMahon, the one who just recently took a LEAVE OF ABSENCE as of a few weeks ago to “take care of her family”. Also, THAT Stephanie McMahon that had details leaked about how ineffective she was as Chief Brand Officer and how other WWE officers were relieved that she stepped away due to her inabilities at that role. Yes, THAT Stephanie McMahon has become the “interim” President/CEO and Board Chairman!
Now, she’s just a placeholder President/CEO and Board Chairman. Vince McMahon could easily obtain those permanent titles back whether the rest of the WWE Board votes in favor of him returning or not. Why? Because he’s still the Majority Shareholder of the WWE Corporation and by a longshot. His votes + other Shareholders can flip that entire WWE Board of Directors at anytime. Thus, if Stephanie McMahon tries to pull any HBO Succession type moves, Vince has many aces to play to defeat any corporate overhaul attempts. Stephanie is 100% loyal to her Dad and owes that big pile of wealth and prestige to him and the WWE.
That was the point, I believe, of Vince McMahon‘s brief speech to start Smackdown. There is nothing to see here and I, Vince McMahon, am going to weather this storm. After all, this isn’t the only affair that I’ve had and I survived those! Vince is thumbing his nose at this controversy and feeling invincible.
But remember… The WWE Board is reviewing OTHER Non-Disclosure Agreements. That is the key.
And now that a former paralegal reportedly walked away with $3 million, news of that shall open the floodgates. With Vince McMahon having a history of infidelity, it is very likely that other females (or males) who have signed NDAs and received settlements LESS THAN $3 million might lawyer up and start talking. Usually, it’s not the first incident that breaks the dam but the “piling on” effect. Look at things quickly escalated during the #MeToo movement or even for Pro Wrestling’s own #SpeakingOut movement of sexual harassment or worse in several cases, legitimate assault. Many participants have been completely cancelled or are working hard to rebuild their names.
WWE Board is investigating other NDAs…
And with John Laurinaitis involved, it shows that WWE has a toxic climate in which top WWE officers are enabled to get away with bad behavior, too, and are just following the lead of Vince McMahon.
WWE employs many females in the company, both in the office and inside the ring. With the WWE Corporation trying to push diversity checklists within their Human Resources department, their roster of wrestlers and females working on writing staffs or at the office has only increased. The “Wolves of the WWE” had many opportunities to harass or have affairs with a deep pool of female employees or wrestlers.
Makes you wonder what’s up with Sasha Banks reportedly receiving her release shortly after these news stories are breaking. I’m NOT saying that Sasha was harassed or more by WWE officers, but she could have heard or said things. What if the conditions of her release was to sign a NDA herself to remain quiet about the WWE Corporation to allow for her contractual release with many years still left on her contract? It’s a possibility… And what if Vince or Johnny Ace could be proven to show any favoritism towards other females instead of Sasha Banks?
The only time that Vince stepped down as CEO/President was following the 1994 Steroid Trials in which Linda McMahon became President and actually held that title through the late 2000s (Vince was Board Chairman when the company went public). That’s the only time that Vince stepped down and since the 2000s, he has only deepened his roots despite many pulling the ageism card on Vince to want him to step down. It must be more serious than Vince is letting on to step down, temporarily.
Speaking of Linda McMahon, where are you in all of this? Not just with this recent alleged affair, but the others in the past? How can you repeatedly turn a blind eye and be loyal to Vince despite his affairs and ruthless business practices? Do you enjoy his money that much? It’s no wonder that you’ve failed twice as a United States Senate candidate because nobody trusts you based on what you’ve enabled.
Just wait and see… It’s the “Piling On” effect that may officially finish Vince McMahon‘s tenure in ruling the WWE. Look at DeShaun Watson right now in the NFL. Though Grand Juries have cleared him of any legal wrongdoing, the accusations are still there via civil suits and many new reported victims are beginning to speak out or present legitimate texts/social media messages. This “Piling On” effect is likely to cause a full year, if not more, suspension for Watson and maybe even deny him the $250 million guaranteed contract that he signed with the Cleveland Browns upon being traded to them (this is why the Browns will never win a Super Bowl).
At least with Watson, the pain is just hitting him directly… With Vince McMahon and the stories leaking, it’s not just him. John Laurinaitis was reportedly involved and they were reportedly sharing a female co-worker. That’s messed up and if there are more WWE officials involved in this culture of using women for their own fantasies or fun, that will pour #MeToo gasoline all over this controversy.
Remember, Vince McMahon has taken a political side and there are much deeper investigative journalist operations within the Left Wing media than the right. The Wall Street Journal leans right yet it broke this story. Wait until the New York Times or Washington Post get a hold of this story, while it’s likely that several tabloid newspapers in the New York area will pounce as well. Now that the sharks know there is blood in the water, they are going to pounce! Many “anonymous” sources will come out, as past NDA signers can just leak whatever they want while the media will not reveal their sources.
And what’s up, John Laurinaitis? Is the Bella Momma not doing it for you?
What a mess…
And this is VERY BAD for the Pro Wrestling industry. I know that many of you THINK that a WWE without Vince McMahon is a bad thing, but just look at what could happen without him in place. Shane McMahon can’t do it, as if you look at the 2022 Royal Rumble, it was a hot mess and Shane is obsessed with becoming a pro wrestler himself. Nick Khan is all business and cut-throat at that. But he doesn’t know how to produce an in-ring product (maybe with complete power, he would hire someone that could?). We’ve seen the best of what Triple H has to offer. While he did great building the women’s division, he has struggled to create a top drawing Main Event HEAVYWEIGHT from his signings. HHH signed too many smaller wrestlers or ex-TNA performers. Stephanie McMahon was AWFUL at WWE Creative from the time she led it, late 2000 to late 2013. Why on earth would we want that back? Lastly, Kevin Dunn has his own fantasies on how wrestling should be promoted and has ruined many talent’s lives because Kevin personally didn’t like them (he hated Becky Lynch’s accent, for example).
If this causes WWE to unravel, then our hopes and dreams are for All Elite Wrestling (AEW) to carry the wrestling ball. Yeah, right. They just did LESS THAN 800,000 viewers for their most recent AEW Dynamite broadcast. Can’t blame the NHL Playoffs, as the higher drawing NBA Playoffs was on the previous week and AEW did a better number then. Do you really trust the immature Tony Khan to figure out Pro Wrestling anytime soon? And he’s running out of effective former WWE guys to sign, too, and has a weak developmental system to create any new wrestlers.
If Vince’s problems in the WWE Corporation actually take down the WWE, Pro Wrestling is screwed.
Just remember, there are OTHER Corporations at play here. WWE has their deals with Comcast and FOX (expiring in 2024) while having deals with Corporate Sponsors. Not only that, WWE has individual deals with actual countries at play here as well. Then, State and the Federal Government could get involved, too…
But then you get into matters like online allegations of WWE Executive Producer Kevin Dunn selling shares of his WWE stock in April. Now, many have countered that Dunn is not on the WWE Board and he shouldn’t have any knowledge of what the WWE Board has been investigating since April 2022 regarding the paralegal’s settlement. However, Dunn is the VERY BEST FRIEND of Vince McMahon. While illegal, it’s very possible that friends tell each other things and if Vince confided in Dunn about what the WWE Board was investigating, Dunn could be in trouble, too.
Any whiff of “insider trading” will catch the Securities Exchange Commission‘s attention, as the SEC was established in 1934 to regulate the stock market. Not only that, but they require things like quarterly/annual reporting, accounting practices, and making known of any activities to the public so that any shareholders or potential shareholders have equal access to information when buying or owning stocks. While Kevin Dunn isn’t a Board member, his sales of WWE Stock must be made public via SEC reporting because he’s an Executive Vice President of the company.
If the paralegal’s promoted salary or the $3 million settlement were made with WWE funds, it shall cause attention. And then it “piles on” from there on which WWE employee sold stock from April through early June 2022. Yikes! SEC could have a field day.
Folks, this is BAD… And I predict it shall get worse. Vince McMahon has a reported history of having affairs with women and with the allegations causing him to step down, temporarily, as CEO/President and Board Chairman, it proves the old there of “when there is smoke, there is fire”. I believe that more women, with their lawyers, are going to come out of the woodwork and make allegations of what Vince McMahon or his other WWE officials did recently or in the past. While NDAs have civil implications, they don’t mean much if a law has been broken or if they are propping up a toxic workplace culture that local or federal investigators need to see. Specifically, if this becomes part of a Securities Exchange Commission review of the WWE Corporation.
And I’ll leave this column with this interesting quote made by Vince Russo, who worked with the WWE during the 1990s on the WWE Magazine and then as a member of the WWE Creative Team from 1996-1999. On June 15th, 2022 at 9:46pm EST, he tweeted the following:
Maybe now you are starting to fully understand why those same dinosaurs who add NOTHING to the @WWE product in 2022 are STILL THERE. You know who I’m talking about. Reason-they ALL KNOW where the Bodies are Buried. Bottom Line. They are the ones who have killed the Business.
If these allegations began to “Pile On”, Vince McMahon may have NO CHANCE IN HELL of returning to the WWE as CEO/President or possibly Board Chairman.
Then again, Vince McMahon has put on 20+ years of BAD wrestling and many of you PAY and WATCH it no matter what. So yeah, he’ll be back.
While there is always the person at the top committing the crime, it’s the enablers below him that keep him held at the top.
I’m still retired, but felt compelled to write on this story and also due to many requests via email. Thank you to everyone!