Before the news that Triple H doesn’t want to dwell on hit, WWE’s parent company TKO Group announced that Dwayne Johnson was joining its Board of Directors. Johnson also got ownership of the name “The Rock” in a deal that will also net him $30 million in TKO stock awards over the next two years.
Johnson posted a video on social media today (Jan. 30) chronicling last Tuesday when his new role was announced. Like Trips, Rock seems to want to focus on the positives. There’s no mention of Vince McMahon or the sexual abuse allegations against him that have been making headlines for the past five days, and McMahon is almost entirely edited out of shots at the New York Stock Exchange when he & Johnson were standing side by side.
Which isn’t to downplay the personal and professional significance of the move for Rock & his family — past & present. It’s also not to say this would have been the right way for him (or any TKO Board member) to address the allegations against McMahon or the culture at WWE which would have allowed Vince to do the things described in the lawsuit that Triple H says he hasn’t read. It also wasn’t a press conference, and Johnson is not responding to any specific questions.
But while he has every right to celebrate his accomplishment, part of “going to work” is going to involve assuring the public that TKO will make whatever changes are necessary to assure that what is said to have happened to Janel Grant & others doesn’t happen at WWE again. He & the rest of TKO’s leadership team should address that in detail as soon as possible.
Until we get that — or at least some word on how & when we’ll get to such a plan, it will be hard to celebrate any great business news from TKO/WWE without reservation.
Of course, “going to work” also means convincing TKO’s various constituents that Johnson’s Board seat — and McMahon’s resignation — signal a fresh start for WWE. To that end, here Rock has attempted to do that while subtly reminded the world that people other than McMahons helped build the pro wrestling business. With that at least, he’s demonstrated that he has a better handle on public relations (and/or a better PR team) than his old rival Hunter.
Here’s the post:
My honor to join @TKOGrp Board of Directors— Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock) January 30, 2024
(parent co who owns @WWE @UFC)
An historic day of big business with deep and personal “life comes full circle” significance for me.
I have the privilege now to sit at the table, that my grandfather and my dad helped to build.
The full caption for which reads:
My honor to join @TKOGrp Board of Directors (parent co who owns @WWE @UFC). An historic day of big business with deep and personal “life comes full circle” significance for me. I have the privilege now to sit at the table, that my grandfather and my dad helped to build. Now the fun part - we go to work. We build.
Thanks to all you guys out there for your support and hype. And thank you to my TKO/WWE partners-
Paul “Triple H” Levesque
And a transcription of Johnson’s voiceover in the video:
“My grandfather, High Chief Peter Maivia, and my dad, Rocky ‘Soulman’ Johnson, would’ve never thought this day would come. Which is why I’m very humbled to have a seat at the table that has decades of history and family legacy for me. A table that my family helped to build.
“Being on the TKO Board of Directors, and taking full ownership of my name, ‘The Rock,’ is not only unprecedented, but incredibly inspiring as my crazy life is coming full circle. At my core, I’m a builder who builds for and serves the people, and Ari is building something truly game changing. I’m very motivated to help continue to globally expand our TKO, WWE, and UFC businesses as the worldwide leaders in sports and entertainment — while proudly representing so many phenomenal athletes and performers who show up every day putting in the hard work with their own two hands to make their dreams come true and deliver for our audiences.
“I’ve been there, I’m still there and this is for them.”