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This could be the end of Vince McMahon

WWE.com

In the aftermath of the scandalous allegations made against Vince McMahon in yesterday’s report from the Wall Street Journal, many pro wrestling fans are wondering if this is the end of the road for McMahon as the CEO of WWE.

While discussing the situation on Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer explained that people in WWE believe Vince will survive this:

“Major CEOs far more powerful than Vince McMahon have been brought down for less than this. I know people in the company who do believe Vince will survive this, not so sure about John Laurinaitis, but do believe Vince will survive this with the idea that as long as there’s no company funds used to pay this off.”

The WWE board of directors cannot force McMahon out of power because he controls the majority of the voting shares. In order for this to be the end of McMahon, he would have to voluntarily resign. Is that outcome possible if enough pressure is put on WWE from corporate sponsors, NBCUniversal, and the FOX network? A significant amount of WWE’s revenue is tied to their business relationship with those entities.

There are several other questions that naturally arise from this report:

  • Whether or not company funds were used as part of McMahon’s alleged hush money settlement with the ex employee is a big part of the independent investigation that is being conducted. McMahon’s attorney Jerry McDevitt has denied that WWE money was used. With that in mind, how will McMahon’s fate be affected if the investigation finds merit to the claim that he doubled the 41 year old woman’s salary after they began a sexual relationship?
  • The Wall Street Journal’s report said the WWE board of directors is aware of multiple prior nondisclosure agreements with former female WWE employees who alleged misconduct by McMahon and Laurinaitis. If more information is discovered about these past agreements, could that be a bigger factor in determining McMahon’s fate than the matter of company funds referenced above?
  • What is WWE’s succession plan if this scandal does result in McMahon stepping down as CEO? Does Nick Khan take over the business side of WWE while Paul Levesque or Bruce Prichard run the television/creative side?
  • Is WWE more likely to be sold as a result of this scandal?
  • Stephanie McMahon is a member of WWE’s board of directors. These allegations were brought to the board’s attention over two months ago, before Stephanie took a leave of absence from WWE. Does the timing of her decision to step away from WWE have anything to do with these allegations made against her father?
  • PW Insider reports that Vince McMahon will be at tomorrow’s SmackDown taping and WWE is expected to run “business as usual” in the aftermath of this story. Meltzer suggested that McMahon is likely hoping media coverage of this story will quickly die down so he can move forward. In general, pro wrestling has rarely been treated seriously by mainstream media, and that often works out to WWE and McMahon’s benefit. Will that be the case here?

We’ll have more on this story as it develops. In the meantime, it will be very interesting to see how WWE’s stock price changes today. Here is Wrestlenomics’ Brandon Thurston with the latest on that aspect: