For years, we’d heard Vince McMahon would never retire. The man who’s run WWE since buying it from his father in 1982, transforming it from a regional pro wrestling promotion into a worldwide media corporation, loved the job too much to ever step away.
But that was before he was forced to step back from two of his most prominent roles in the company, CEO and Chairman, in the wake of a Board investigation into hush money payments he’s made over the years to employees & others with whom the 76 year old’s had sexual relationships.
Even in the wake of misconduct allegations, McMahon appeared defiant. He held on to creative control of WWE’s television shows, and even appeared multiple times on Raw and SmackDown to seemingly send a message that he wasn’t going anywhere.
Then, late on a Friday afternoon, he retired via social media:
A more complete statement was issued on WWE’s corporate website, which mentions that Nick Khan and Stephanie McMahon will serve as co-CEOs, effective immediately:
VINCE MCMAHON RETIRES
STAMFORD, Conn., July 22, 2022 – Vince McMahon today released the following statement:
“As I approach 77 years old, I feel it’s time for me to retire as Chairman and CEO of WWE. Throughout the years, it’s been a privilege to help WWE bring you joy, inspire you, thrill you, surprise you, and always entertain you. I would like to thank my family for mightily contributing to our success, and I would also like to thank all of our past and present Superstars and employees for their dedication and passion for our brand. Most importantly, I would like to thank our fans for allowing us into your homes every week and being your choice of entertainment. I hold the deepest appreciation and admiration for our generations of fans all over the world who have liked, currently like, and sometimes even love our form of Sports Entertainment.
“Our global audience can take comfort in knowing WWE will continue to entertain you with the same fervor, dedication, and passion as always. I am extremely confident in the continued success of WWE, and I leave our company in the capable hands of an extraordinary group of Superstars, employees, and executives – in particular, both Chairwoman and Co-CEO Stephanie McMahon and Co-CEO Nick Khan. As the majority shareholder, I will continue to support WWE in any way I can. My personal thanks to our community and business partners, shareholders, and Board of Directors for their guidance and support through the years. Then. Now. Forever. Together.”
There’s no mention of his role in creative, which is already fueling speculation he may still keep his hand in the behind-the-scenes workings of Raw and SmackDown.
That’s one of many, many aspects of this story we’ll see unfold in the coming days, weeks, and months. Stay tuned.
UPDATE: Wrestling Observer’s Bryan Alvarez tweeted that McMahon sent a message to talent announcing his retirement, and telling them they won’t be seeing him, but he’ll be watching. Before tweeting about the possible sale of WWE in the wake of this bombshell news, Brandon Ross of investment research firm Lightshed reported that Vince is out as head of creative