For some reason anytime one of the McMahons sells some of their WWE stock, it stirs up a whirlwind of discussion on various news outlets. Depending on which McMahon it is also affects which news outlet does the reporting. Shane McMahon selling a few million dollars worth of stock isn’t going to make CNBC; you’ll find it on some ad-ridden “wrestling scoops” webpage that’s like the internet version of the Mos Eisley cantina.
On the other hand whenever Vince McMahon—the big tuna himself—unloads on some WWE paper, it makes headlines. But again, depending on how much stock is sold will affect how much reporting is done. Selling three or four million isn’t going shake the foundations of the earth.
A few weeks ago Vince McMahon sold one-hundred million dollars worth of WWE stock.
Needless to say…headlines were made.
The big story is not just the selling of the stocks, but the recent reports that pro wrestling’s top banana was starting up a new operation, Alpha Entertainment. Unlike the WWE Network or WWE Studios, this is an outside venture, separate from WWE and funded entirely by Vince McMahon himself. That story coincides with another report (this is like a tiramisu of intrigue) that Vince was seriously considering reviving the XFL. When a spokesman was asked if Alpha Entertainment was connected to a potential rebirth of the alternative football league, the response was a surprisingly vague “we’re not ready to disclose anything yet.” Not only that, but apparently Alpha Entertainment filed for several new XFL-related trademarks, only furthering the speculation.
So all of those various ideas have coalesced and now the big story is “VINCE McMAHON IS SELLING WWE!!!1!”
First of all, that’s a bit of a reach.
To be fair, it was Dave Meltzer (the king of WWE inside scoops) who made the audacious claim a few weeks ago. He actually made the claim before Vince sold that big chunk of stock. When he did, that only seemed to confirm Dave’s assertion. But keep in mind Dave said Vince was only willing to sell under certain circumstances. He didn’t say Vince was selling. On one end of the spectrum Vince may think he can keep WWE and Alpha and let the former company continue to coast along while the latter company blossoms. On the other end of the spectrum he may just be waiting to see if Alpha can be a success and, if so, sell WWE and use the capital to put all his might behind the new project.
This may all end up fizzling out faster than Tout. Vince has been known to change his mind after all. But let’s suppose he did sell.
Who might buy?
I mean, come on: He was the Million Dollar Man in 1988 but that was just a title. We were never told exactly how many millions he had. Inflation alone will probably double the amount from its 1988 levels, and then you factor in what is likely a tremendous credit score and he’s starting to look like a reasonable buyer.
Granted, with a Ted DiBiase ownership, you’re looking at replacing NXT on Wednesday nights with a mid-week Bible Study hour, but at least WWE would be in the hands of someone who has a history with the company.
On the other hand…
The other Ted is seven years Vince’s elder and worth about seven-hundred million more in cold hard cash (though he’s substantially more wealthy thanks to his real estate ownerships), but that would surely change if the southern mogul were to buy WWE. Turner owning WWE seems like blasphemy given how the 1990’s went down, but Vince would probably see it as a win, taking so much of Turner’s money to go off and find success in another realm of entertainment.
Ted Turner owning WWE would mean a very hands-off ownership. He might even hire Triple H and Stephanie to run things. It would be a strange ending to such a longstanding feud (even if much of the Vince vs Ted fight was all in Vince’s head), but history is filled with longstanding feuds ending in handshakes. Sonic is a regular attraction on Nintendo consoles. Marvel and DC had that one crossover comic. Shoot even Vince McMahon hugged Eric Bischoff on a Monday night in 2002.
It could happen.
Why not? They’re buying up everything else under the sun. Their acquisitions have grown exponentially over the years. They bought Miramax. They bought ABC and ESPN. They bought Jim Henson Productions (or at least The Muppets). They bought Pixar. They bought Marvel. They bought Lucasfilm. They bought 21st Century Fox.
And those are just the big ones.
For years nerds have speculated that Disney would try to branch out into another venture, perhaps making an offer to purchase Nintendo (which is less likely to sell than Vince McMahon). Instead, their purchase of Fox indicates a push to beat Netflix at its own game, with a major All-Disney Streaming Service (set to drop in 2019). Thus, they might see value in purchasing Vince McMahon’s empire and with it the company’s own Network-sized library of film. Folding the PG-rated WWE into the Walt Disney family is a crazy idea that seems less crazy the more you think about it, especially since Disney is remarkably hands-off with their major acquisitions like Marvel and Star Wars.
There’s also this:
Which just feels like an omen.
The ever-hated multimedia conglomerate already has NBC and USA under its wing, and WWE and NBC/USA go way back. It’s a natural fit and, as much as this article has floated a variety of possibilities (from the silly, to the far fetched, to the reasonable-but-unlikely), this one is actually the most likely scenario in my mind, should Vince ever actually decide to sell. Comcast has the capital, they have the relationship, they have impetus to see the brand not fall into a competitor’s hands, such as Disney/ABC, and they would most likely allow the McMahons to retain management of the brand, which is probably a critical sticking point for Vince.
Good heavens imagine if Comcast owned WWE.
Hulk Hogan doesn’t have the money to make this purchase, but if you don’t think he would sell his soul to do it, you’re crazy. He would call in every favor, take out every loan, tell whatever lie, do whatever was necessary.
What would a Hulk Hogan-run WWE look like?
Let’s not think about it.
In the end all of this may blow over. Vince may indeed try to restart the XFL with an emphasis on fixing and simplifying a lot of the complaints around the NFL today. I’m sure a whole interview will be given explaining what will be considered a catch. Maybe the new league will last more than a season. Maybe it will become a true alternative to the NFL.
But even if that happens, the most likely scenario for WWE is Vince McMahon stepping aside and turning the company over to his children.
Though which child would get to sit on the throne is real story no one is talking about.
Sound off, Cagesiders. Do you think WWE will ever be sold to a non-McMahon? If so, who do you think makes the most sense? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.