Update 1/6/2022 11:00 a.m. ET: According to Reuters, Vince McMahon has officially returned to the WWE as a member of the company’s board of directors to negotiate the media rights sale of Smackdown and Raw. It is still unclear what position McMahon has on the board or whether he will replace his daughter, Stephanie McMahon as chair. According to Bleacher Report, McMahon has already removed and replaced three members of the WWE board of directors. Original story follows below.
Vince McMahon, the former CEO of WWE, plans on returning to the wrestling company as executive chairman following his scandal-riddled retirement, he announced in a statement.
To recap: last year McMahon suddenly announced his retirement from WWE on Twitter while he was under investigation for paying multiple women within the company $12 million to keep quiet about alleged sexual affairs. Following his retirement, the company announced that Vince’s daughter, Stephanie McMahon, would serve as the wrestling promotion’s CEO and chairperson. Shortly after, the company announced that Stephanie’s husband, Paul “Triple H” Levesque, would be in control of WWE creative storylines.
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According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, the reason McMahon wants to return to the company as its executive chairman is so that he can help spearhead a strategic-review process and take advantage of a narrow window in which a sales process can be initiated as the media rights for WWE shows Monday Night Raw and Friday Night Smackdown are about to be renegotiated. People close to the situation told the WSJ that unless McMahon has direct involvement with the strategic review of the WWE shows as the organization’s executive chairman, he won’t support or approve any media-rights deal or sale to a streaming or network platform.
Last month, WWE’s board responded to McMahon in a letter and stated it was willing to collaborate with him while hammering out the review process for selling the intellectual property of Smackdown and Raw. However, sources familiar with the correspondence between McMahon and WWE told WSJ that the board unanimously agreed that McMahon returning to the company wouldn’t be in shareholders’ best interests.
People close to the situation told WSJ that McMahon expects he will be able to assume the role of executive chairman, but in order to do so, he’ll need the board’s approval. WWE’s board also requested that McMahon re-confirm his obligation to repay expenses incurred by WWE related to an investigation of the allegations against him, and that he agree not to return to WWE during government probes over his alleged misconduct. According to the WSJ, McMahon agreed to complete paying reimbursements, so long as they weren’t covered by insurance, but refused to agree to not return to the company.
Kotaku reached out to WWE for comment.