The process of selling WWE — which appears to be completed with today’s announcement that UFC owners Endeavor will acquire the pro wrestling brand, merge it with their MMA one, and spin them off as a new company — officially began with Vince McMahon’s return to the Board of Directors in January.
He was returning from a brief resignation/retirement, precipitated by an investigation into various sexual misconduct allegations and payments he made to partners & accusers to ensure their silence. There were reports some prospective buyers would require McMahon to step away from the company post-purchase, and Vince says he was willing to do so. Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel’s made it clear he wanted McMahon as part of the deal, however.
During their appearance on CNBC’s Squawk in the Box this morning (April 3), McMahon publicly addressed the scandal for the first time. He was asked if the sale would have happened without his being forced out last summer, and Vince claimed it would have based on business factors alone.
McMahon dismissed characterizations that selling WWE, a business that’s been in his family for 70 years, was “tough”. That led to questions about his legacy, and the impact the last year might have on it:
.@ScottWapnerCNBC: Had the scandal not happened, would we be sitting here today?@VinceMcMahon: Absolutely...I'm always looking at what's best for stock holders.— Squawk on the Street (@SquawkStreet) April 3, 2023
McMahon reflects on his six-month departure from the $WWE following a sexual misconduct scandal and investigation. pic.twitter.com/YXn7MIG2P4
“Let me just say that I‘ve made mistakes, obviously [laughs], both personally and professionally through my 50-year career. I’ve owned up to every single one of them, and then moved on. I’m not sure — the legacy stuff. I’m not going to write it. So I don’t know. I want to say, as someone who had an extraordinary amount of fun, great passion for what they did, and wound up with the biggest deal he’s ever done in his life.”
It’s a casual dismissal of something that included allegations of rape, coercing a WWE wrestler into sex, and offering a WWE employee he was in a consensual sexual relationship with to former head of talent relations John Laurinaitis “like a toy”.
Sadly, the business community and general court of public opinion hasn’t assigned much weight to the allegations. So while there will be some justified grumbling about this answer, it’s extremely unlikely there will be any significant blowback.
As for his claim he’s not going to write his legacy, that doesn’t jive with the arrangement he came to with WWE prior to the sale that gave him full rights to his life story. So don’t be surprised if we do get more of Vince’s take on that at some point.
Based on this answer, it’s safe to assume McMahon’s version won’t spend any time on the women he’s allegedly victimized.