Vince McMahon has said he will return to the WWE Board of Directors in order to approve media right deals and a potential sale, as the only shareholder whose vote matters, no one can stop him.
In the world of professional wrestling, few things can pop the crowd like a dramatic return, even when someone was a villain originally, they’ll come back to thunderous applause as current WWE Chief Content Officer Triple H did in at the 2002 Royal Rumble. A report from Deadline states that the latest dramatic return may be the biggest yet, though it will take place entirely in the board room, as Vince McMahon is starting the process of returning to the company he built into a media juggernaut. While the disgraced former CEO’s return may terrify some fans, excite others, it has already bolstered the company’s stock, because Mr. McMahon is thinking of coming back to sell the company.
Around six months ago, Vince McMahon resigned from his position as CEO of the WWE, following reports that he had an inappropriate relationship with an employee and paid her hush money to keep the affair quiet. Prior to leaving the company he helped build, Mr. McMahon was involved in all aspects of the product, from managing the on-screen product, booking matches, developing storylines, hiring and firing of wrestlers. As part of his return to the company his father started, the new role will be greatly diminished, confined to negotiating media-rights or even, a sale.
The WWE set records just a few years ago when Vince McMahon orchestrated a $1 billion deal to transfer the WWE Network to Peacock. The deal lets Peacock subscribers watch every WWE Premium Live Event at no additional cost, and have access to nearly a million hours of archived footage from the history of the sport, ranging from the AWA and WCCW, to the Monday Night Wars era RAW and Nitros, and original programming looking behind the scenes at the lives of the superstars. That deal runs through 2026, while the broadcast rights to RAW, Smackdown, and NXT expire in 2024, meaning now is the time for media companies to start bidding on some of the highest-rated weekly programs worldwide.
Vince McMahon, even after resigning from his position, is still the largest shareholder of the company with the ability to approve or veto any deal. The former chairman says this is his reason for returning to the office in Stamford, to oversee media negotiations, and given how attractive the company is for large conglomerates looking to create content, maybe oversee a sale that will for the first time, remove the WWE from the McMahon family control. A limited return, just to the boardroom, where longtime McMahon allies George Barrios and Michelle Wilson will also be making their own comebacks, is good, provided it keeps the Royal Rumble winner away from managing the in-ring product.
Since Vince McMahon left, Triple H has been bringing back fired performers, including Dakota Kai, Braun Strowman, Bray Wyatt, and most recently, William Regal. The returning performers have coincided with tighter storylines, longer matches, championship matches that matter, and an overall improvement to the in-ring product. Despite the cloud of abuse McMahon left under, it seems like the self-proclaimed workaholic, a man that has said he eats, sleeps, and breaths sports entertainment, just can not stay away from the company that made him a millionaire.