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Nick Khan reportedly ‘a buffer who kept things smooth’ between Vince McMahon & Stephanie, Triple H

One of the most prominent theories for what’s gone on behind-the-scenes at WWE the past seven months (and was probably playing out for much longer, unbeknownst to the general public) is that Stephanie McMahon & her husband Paul “Triple H” Levesque attempted to usurp control of the family business from her father, Vince. And, at least at this point, it looks as if that coup failed.

You don’t have to have read Barbarians at the Gate in business school to put that premise’s puzzle pieces together. It’s a trite observation at this point, but watching Succession is probably a better primer, anyway (or perhaps Arrested Development would be more appropriate, but you get the oft-made joke).

Stephanie took a leave of absence in May of 2022. Anonymous sources inside the company then bad mouthed her performance as Chief Brand Officer — negative reviews which ran counter to pretty much everything we’d heard about her up to that point. A couple months later, word of Vince’s off-the-books payments to silence stories & accusations about his sex life hit The Wall Street Journal. Quickly, his daughter was back, and Vince was out. The elder McMahon’s “retirement” didn’t even last six months, though. Days after his return, Stephanie once again left the company. This time, there’s no indication she’ll be back.

Since her resignation on Tues., Jan. 10, we’ve heard a few things that support this theory. Five other board members, who evidence indicates opposed Vince’s return, preceded Steph out the door. A report says she & Levesque opposed Vince’s stated reason for returning to the company — a sale of WWE.

Now, the newest Wrestling Observer Newsletter claims Stephanie & Vince didn’t work well together. While she’s gone, an issue between Vince & Triple H apparently remains. Dave Meltzer wrote about those dynamics while addressing what he’s hearing about the publicly stated reason for Steph’s latest exit (that she wants to spend more time with her family, and only returned to help steer the ship through her father’s scandal):

“But that doesn’t explain why this was a resignation, and she left the board and cut all ties with the company she has worked for since she was a teenager. It was also conceded that she and Vince did have issues in working together as family members and how Khan was a buffer who kept things smooth between them as well as between Vince and Levesque.”

In and of itself, it’s not proof of palace intrigue. It certainly doesn’t help clarify current CEO Nick Khan’s role in a possible pro wrestling version Game of Thrones.

But if you’re applying that old Baltimore proverb, “Come at the king, you best not miss” to what we’re seeing occur in WWE’s corporate offices & boardroom?

There’s another talking point for your next debate on the subject.

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