Posts Tagged ‘Stephanie McMahon’

Vince McMahon has sensationally stepped down as WWE CEO.

Stephanie McMahon has been named Interim CEO and Chairwoman of the company as the WWE’s board of directors continue their investigations into misconduct allegations that were reported by the Wall Street Journal this week.

In statements released via WWE Corporate, the company announced the following:

Stamford, Conn. – WWE (NYSE: WWE) and the Board of Directors today announced that a Special Committee of the Board is conducting an investigation into alleged misconduct by its Chairman and CEO Vincent McMahon and John Laurinaitis, head of talent relations, and that, effective immediately, McMahon has voluntarily stepped back from his responsibilities as CEO and Chairman of the Board until the conclusion of the investigation. McMahon will retain his role and responsibilities related to WWE’s creative content during this period and remains committed to cooperating with the review underway.

On accepting the role and the ongoing investigations, Stephanie said (h/t SEScoops):

“I love this company and am committed to working with the Independent Directors to strengthen our culture and our Company; it is extremely important to me that we have a safe and collaborative workplace. I have committed to doing everything in my power to help the Special Committee complete its work, including marshalling the cooperation of the entire company to assist in the completion of the investigation and to implement its findings”

Vince McMahon himself added:

“I have pledged my complete cooperation to the investigation by the Special Committee, and I will do everything possible to support the investigation. I have also pledged to accept the findings and outcome of the investigation, whatever they are”

As noted in the official statement, McMahon will remain directly related to WWE’s creative content, which perhaps explains murmurings following the news that tonight’s SmackDown would be “business as usual“.

Former WWE Head of Talent Relations and Commentator Jim Ross spoke on the latest episode of Grilling JR about Triple H and the disrespect he has received over the years from fans and wrestlers due to him marrying Stephanie McMahon.

Over his 20 years with WWE, Ross grew to become close to Triple H and even his parents as he detailed on the podcast. Being the Head of Talent Relations during much of Triple H’s rise to superstardom, Ross detailed how much complaining he would hear about “The King of Kings” marrying into the McMahon family and that being a reason why he got a big push.

“People get pissed at Triple H because they’re jealous and because of who he married,” Ross said. “Maybe they believe that he would not have been such a success if he had not married the boss’s daughter. I totally disagree with that. You can’t tell me the wedding vows made him a great worker, he made himself a great worker but he’s not given enough credit for it because of the jealousy thing and the anti-McMahon backlash at times. He’s never given credit sometimes for his hard work and his dedication to the business.”

Ross discussed Triple H’s historic loss at WrestleMania 12 to Ultimate Warrior. Bruce Prichard recently discussed the match and how Warrior was difficult to deal with in the lead up to it. Ross Triple H praise for being okay with allowing Warrior to squash him.

“We’ve talked about the Warrior, he’s a head case,” Ross said. “He’s always worried about things, he was hard to do business with at times. What we wanted to try to accomplish there was to put him with somebody that he could trust and that he knew would make Warrior look good and we trusted Triple H to get that done. It wasn’t a great booking for him I guess, he’s going to work with one of the previously known stars of the business, he is going to do the honors. He also knew what his real job was there, to protect the image of the Ultimate Warrior because we didn’t know at that time that Warrior didn’t have plenty of gas in the tank, if he was going to become this red hot box office attraction that he used to be.

“We didn’t know that, we hoped that he would but we knew that if he got started off on the wrong foot and fans saw too much rust or too many missteps, we knew that Hunter was not going to put the Warrior in a situation that the Warrior couldn’t address and come out looking good. That was really the deal, it was more that we had great trust in Triple H, we knew his skill set was conducive to covering up Warriors inconsistencies and I talked to Paul about that over the years. He’ll laugh about it but the bottom line was he understood what his role was and he didn’t mind being a role player in that situation. He knew going forward if he was going to continue to rise up the ladder, he’s going to have to work with a lot of guys that may not have his same skill set but he’s going to have to work with them and end up when they leave the ring with people saying that’s a hell of a match.”

Ross continued to mention how Triple H was squashed by Warrior in under two minutes, with Warrior even no-selling his Pedigree finisher.

“I wouldn’t have done that,” Ross said. “I’m sure Warrior probably wanted that spot in and again, the office knew that was not the way to go but you got to get over that hill of kicking out of the Pedigree or no-selling the Pedigree. Again, going out of our way to adhere to the insecurities and the paranoia of the Warrior.

“Was it the right thing to do in theory? Of course not. You kick out a guy you’re building’s finish and you beat him in two minutes? Again, the risk reward was if we can get Warrior hot again, we’re going to come out of those dull rooms where the business was soft and a lot of talents weren’t hot and over. That’s all we were trying to do. If Warriors got some fuel left in the tank, let’s get something [out of it].”

The Bella Twins are preparing for an in-ring return.

The sister duo have expressed heavy interest in getting back inside the squared circle for just about a year, and even got a little physical at April’s WrestleMania. Now that both Nikki and Brie have given birth and been mothers for a little while, conversations about a return to wrestling have resurfaced.

Speaking with Entertainment Tonight, Brie Bella emphasized that a certain title is what peaks her and her sister’s interest in getting back in the ring.

“The one thing is that WWE brought the Women’s Tag Team Titles in,” Brie said. “We were like, ‘Wait a second, how do the Bellas not have this on the résumé?’ It’s tempting because we would love to go fight for the tag titles because that’s what we’ve always been: a tag team.”

Beyond the temptations of gold, Brie recounted a specific in-ring memory that she wants to rekindle with her children in the crowd.

“Now that Birdie is four, and we talking about when the boys get a little older too, to have your kids watch what we used to do in that ring would be really special for us,” Brie said. “I’ll never forget the moment when I wrestled Stephanie [McMahon] at Summer Slam. To see her three little girls, they were little at the time, to see their faces when we came back. They looked at their mom like she was a superhero. I want that one day. I just thought that was the coolest thing.”

AJ Styles once used the t-shirt tagline “never rest, never rust.” Nikki seems to be taking that approach to wrestling again, as the longest-reigning Divas Champion confirmed she is already training.

“For me, I’m definitely starting that preparation,” Nikki said. “I want to train hard for it. When we come back, I want to change my style in the ring a little bit. I want to make a statement.”

As for the next generation of Bellas, Brie says sees the squared circle in her son Buddy’s future.

“Buddy is a wrestler in the making,” Brie said. “He’s so strong. Sometimes when you change his diaper, he’ll put an arm bar on you. It makes Bryan so proud. ‘He already knows how to do an arm bar! It’s in his blood.’”

Nikki says her son Mateo leans on the side of his father, professional dancer Artem Chigvintsev.

“My guess is Mateo is going to be a dancer and a soccer player,” Nikki said. “He has fast feet, he moves his feet a lot, he points his toes perfectly. He hasn’t really shown me the aggressive wrestling feels yet, but personality wise he can be very stubborn.”

Regardless, Brie notes that there is precedence to mix wrestling with dancing.

“In wrestling there’s Fandango,” Brie noted. “That could be a tag team.”

While most retired wrestlers will leave their in-ring futures as “we’ll see” and “never say never,” Brie affirmatively declared their position on a return: “The Bellas are definitely going to make a comeback. We don’t know exactly when, but we said that we have one more run in us.”

ROH star Maria Kanellis recently appeared on the KAWADA DRIVER show and said the advocacy for women in wrestling put forth by WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon is more promotional than anything else.

Kanellis and husband Mike Bennett left WWE last year amid other COVID-19 budget cuts. In this new interview she wondered how Stephanie deals with WWE not doing any kind of women’s empowerment pay-per-view events after the all-women’s Evolution show in 2018.

“So you have all these pointless pay-per-views, you have the opportunity to do a women’s empowerment pay-per-view and you don’t do it? I don’t get it,” Maria said. “I don’t know how Stephanie McMahon deals with that.

“Like as a woman, I’ve been very outspoken about women’s wrestling and women in wrestling. It should come as no surprise that as a woman I couldn’t deal with that. If I had all that power in the industry I couldn’t deal with that. I have minimum power in this industry and I am fighting my tail off to create more opportunities.”

Maria continued and named some of the projects she would have the WWE women’s division involved in if she had the power that Stephanie does.

“If I had that much power there would be a whole show plus a reality show that actually covers the girls live,” she said. “Plus on top of that we would have a makeup line and be on the cover of Vogue saying: ‘Guess what? These women are badasses and they are beautiful in their own right.’”

Maria and Mike are currently working for ROH after recently signing contracts with the company.

WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon was on The Bill Simmons Podcast to promote WrestleMania 37. Simmons brought up WWE’s new competition, AEW, and he asked if it is good for WWE to have competition.

“I think having to a competitor, it always makes you — it’s not that we never had a competitor. We just look at everything as competitive,” McMahon said. “Anything that’s competing for eyeballs and attention is a competitor. We’re all competing against each other, but in terms of a direct wrestling competitor, I think hopefully, it’s going to make you a better company. It’s going to make you re-examine everything that you do and do it to the best of your capability.

“I think that it’s always a good thing. It can make you better and stronger.”

Simmons then noted that Jon Moxley left WWE and has gone on to become a bigger star. He asked McMahon if WWE sees moves like that and think about if they made a mistake or not.

“In his particular case, he was leaving anyway, and I do believe that was a mutual decision. Though, I wasn’t a part of those conversations,” McMahon noted. “His case is a little bit different, but I remember back when it was WCW and the Monday Night Wars and our talent were getting stripped away and showing up on their show. I think it taught us a lot about business. Handshake deals don’t necessarily matter at the end of the day. You need to have contracts. You need to do business differently.

“I think those were some of the key learnings from that time. From this time, we’ll see where it all shakes out, but yes, we’re constantly talking about how we can be better and what we can do better because we always want to be the best company that we can be for our fans, for our shareholders, for employees [and] for our talent. We want to be the best.”

Former WWE Champion Rob Van Dam will be spotlighted in an upcoming episode of the WWE Icons docuseries airing on the WWE Network.

Speaking with The Dropkick Podcast, RVD discussed signing with WW, where he found success as a singles star. While Van Dam was a very unique character, his move-set occasionally got him compared to the late Eddie Guerrero. RVD said he pushed back on the comparisons, but that didn’t stop WWE from trying to alter his character.

“I was resisting it because I didn’t want to change,” Van Dam said. “And you know, I had everything, but one time they wanted me to get rid of my airbrush outfits. WWE wanted to make me outfits that were made out of material like Kurt Angle’s and you can see pictures of it because it’s black and has a red dragon, it’s so basic.”

When RVD first jumped to WWE, he revealed he was supposed to work a romantic storyline with Stephanie McMahon. RVD revealed that the angle did not happen because of his girlfriend at the time, and noted that his real-life persona was too intertwined with his wrestling character.

“Something that comes to mind is when I first got there they wanted me to do a bit of a romance angle with Stephanie and myself. And my evil ex was like the most insecure b—h on the planet and I was like thinking, ‘oh my God, this gonna cost me so much grief at home.’ We had a talk, me and Stephanie, and she said, ‘you know, just think of this like you’re an actor’. I was like, ‘that’s cool, except you call me Joe Blow because I’ve been Rob Van Dam for the last ten years’.”

RVD will be spotlighted in an upcoming episode of the WWE Icons docuseries airing on the WWE Network. As for his future, the former Intercontinental Champion revealed that he is working on his own podcast.

“I am preparing to start streaming on one or two platforms,” Van Dam said. “It’s called RV Theology.”

Jim Ross talked about the career of Chyna and the issues that resulted in her leaving the company on the latest episode of the Grilling JR Podcast. Ross mentioned how Chyna was being offered a $400,000 downside guaranteed contract before her and the company decided to part ways. He said the reason she left was because she wanted to be paid the same as one of the top stars in the history of the company and there was just no way he and Vince McMahon could justify that.

“The 400k was probably more than she was making when she was making a million,” Ross said. “She gets an increase in her downside, she’s going to make about $8000 a week. If she gets back rolling and gets creative rolling again and invests in herself like she did before in her character, then the chances of her making more money and being higher up on the card is obviously there. Her deal to me was: ‘I’m as valuable as Stone Cold is to WWE.’ Chyna is as valuable to WWE as Stone Cold Steve Austin is?

“She knew there were a handful of guys that were making a million dollar downside and he was one of them. That was the magic number. At that time, that was the number you strive to attain if you’re a talent because that was the top of the pay grade, $19,000 a week. A lot of guys just took it as they earned it.”

Ross mentioned the money being offered was guaranteed and she could have made a million dollars in incentives. He noted a conversation he had with Chris Jericho recently about how he hit a high amount with WWE on an even lower downside guarantee than Chyna was offered at the time.

“Jericho and I talked about that the other day, he had some 2 or 3 million dollar years on a $350,000 downside,” Ross said. “It’s there to make. That’s the incentive of it, that’s why it worked so well. You’re incentivised. [Chyna’s] deal was: ‘No, I don’t want a $400,000 downside guarantee, I want a million dollar guarantee.’ She wanted exactly what Austin, Undertaker, some of those cats were making. She was never going to be cast in their light or used in their way.

“It would not have been a good investment for us to make. If Vince had said to me her heart was broken, she’s had some bad luck here, give it to her, well I would’ve given it to her. If that’s what he wants, it’s his money. But that’s not what he wanted.”

Ross mentioned what Vince McMahon told him to deal with Chyna’s contract. He said Vince really wasn’t crazy about bringing her back but it had nothing to do with his daughter dating her ex-boyfriend Triple H.

“[Vince told JR] ‘Give her her raise and put it in the level of a lot of these other guys earning seven figures, not being guaranteed it, and let’s call it a day. Quite frankly, I’m not crazy about keeping her.’ Which is what I wanted to hear, it was an ongoing saga. [I told her] everytime you come to work, you see Hunter or Stephanie, it’s going to eat you alive, you’re going to be miserable. I was just trying to be honest with her.

“Kids never came into it. Vince was not sure we, the WWE, could manage her in a successful way any longer based on what has transpired. I don’t disagree with that. It’s going to sound like JR wanted her out of the door so he had less issues to deal with. It was a situation that was built for failure. No one can convince me that she would eventually be okay. If you sat in those meetings with she and I, fly on the wall thing, you’d see exactly what I’m talking about.”

Ross noted that there was no way Chyna could come back and it was due to her heart being broken. He said he didn’t see any way Chyna would ever be able to get over the break-up and if Vince believed she could make WWE money at any time, he would have brought her back.

“Her heart was broken,” Ross said. “I don’t know how you mend a broken heart, I really don’t. I think we made the right call, I tried to end it with no hard feelings. If we saw going forward down the road that we could’ve brought her back on even keel or level footing because of the Hunter Stephanie thing, if it could draw money, I’m sure Vince would bring her back. I never thought that she would get to a place in her life where she would feel comfortable walking the halls. She created this monster around herself.”

Ross talked about her bigger goal of becoming a female actor and wanting to expand her skillset into Hollywood. He said she wanted to be like Wonder Women and had her eyes set on being the female Terminator.

“After all these talks with her, every week in person and on the phone, I knew she had her eye on acting,” Ross mentioned. “She wanted to be that Schwarzenegger. She’d use him as an example. ‘I could be the female Arnold Schwarzenegger.’ Then I said, that’s what you should go for because you’re only going to be young one time.

“I was trying to give her enough positive reinforcement to try and ease her out of the wrestling business. Personally, selfishly, I didn’t want to deal with the heartache of managing a talent who was going to walk around gloom and doom, and to be honest with you, you start wondering about the stability of someone mentally. How are they going to react going forward?”

Ross talked about the aftermath of not renewing her contract and how they decided to report it as a mutual parting of ways. He said once her and Vince stopped having meetings, she would show up to television with no plan or storylines.

“Well, we decided not to renew her contract,” Ross said. “We wanted her to save face. We wanted her to leave without having to die on her sword. Consequently, I decided it would be a mutually agreed parting of the ways. It left her with some credibility, it didn’t make her seem like such a victim, which I’m not sure she didn’t want to be. She may have wanted to be a victim and garner the sympathy that a baby face would against a big heel and then insurmountable odds and overcoming them.

“She had a meeting with Vince, and then he stopped meeting with her. She still came to T.V. thinking she might get booked or used, and i don’t know why we kept bringing her to television. I nipped that in the butt because it was a waste of money, a waste of her time. We made her a real good offer I thought.”

Kurt Angle gave Steve Austin a little bonus during his ‘Broken Skull Sessions‘ appearance by telling the grinning ‘Stone Cold’ what Vince McMahon’s reaction was when he kissed his daughter Stephanie 20 years ago.

On the 24 August 2000 episode of SmackDown, Kurt planted a smooch on Steph after carrying her to the backstage area. Angle admits he found the sketch nerve-wracking, but only because Vince was “around three feet away” and directing the whole thing.

The boss wasn’t going to put up with some half-hearted kiss either.

Kurt was so worried about raising the ire of Vince that he kept his mouth closed and refused to kiss Stephanie properly. When they’d finished filming, Steph pulled back and said, “You kiss like a fish”. Vince, meanwhile, sat next to the scene with wide eyes and stared a hole through Angle after hearing his daughter’s comment.

Angle was mortified, but tried to explain that he was only being polite.

The kiss was all part of a storyline love triangle between the pair and Triple H. Kurt just found the whole thing awkward, especially when Vince was present.

This week on Raw seemed to signal the end of the association between Zelina Vega and her clients Andrade and Angel Garza. Vega said she “can’t do it anymore” in regards to managing the pair and proceeded to walk out on them before confronting Asuka in the ring.

That seems to be a shift from Vega managing to wrestling and that is something she’s very eager to do. Vega discussed being happy with being done with Andrade and Garza when she joined Table Talk w/DVon.

“Oh, I wasn’t lying! I wasn’t lying when I said all that. I was not joking. I said I am sick and tired of raising other people’s thoughts, but mine. I’m sick of it,” said Vega. “I wasted some of the best years of my career by managing those two selfish little ingrates. Why? Why? If they don’t take me seriously, then why?

“I don’t know if you saw Twitter, but Angel’s over here tweeting, ‘Oh go Asuka! Go Asuka!’ Well cheering for you never worked, so yeah, cheer for Asuka.”

Vega and her Superstars she was formerly managing have become weekly staples on Raw over the last few months. The circumstances involving the last few months has played a factor into her getting more TV time but she knows that this is an opportunity she can’t let slip by.

“It’s weird because I think that too and I’m like, you know what? If quarantine didn’t happen – not saying that I wouldn’t have had these opportunities – but maybe it would have taken a little bit longer. And also, Becky’s having her baby so there are people that are not here so that just leaves spots to fill and for me, I’m like, ‘Give me the ball! If I drop it, screw me!’ But you lose nothing and I was always ready for that and I think it started with Drew [McIntyre] when we had that back and forth. I was like, ‘Man, he’s like my other promo half.’ It was just perfect,” stated Vega.

“Whenever it happened, it was just magic with him and it’s interesting because before even quarantine happened, Vince would always say, ‘You’re one of my favorites. You’re one of the reasons that I watch RAW. I love your character.’ It was such an honor to hear that because one of the things that he used to say to me was, ‘You remind me of Stephanie because she was always working out there. You’re a cutaway machine. I love that about you’ and first of all, I was like, ‘Are you serious?’ Legit, I was going to cry. I love Stephanie. She’s a huge inspiration when it comes to me and the Zelina character, but it’s wild to think that if this quarantine didn’t happen, I wonder where I would be. I wonder if I’d be getting a RAW Women’s Title shot against Asuka.”

In the past Vega has cited The Rock for helping her career in wrestling and outside of wrestling as he helped her land a role in Fighting with My Family. But she also credits another fellow WWE manager who has supported her from day one.

“About taking the ball, you wouldn’t be getting the ball if it wasn’t for someone that believed in you and one person that really believed in me was Paul Heyman,” revealed Vega. “I’m so lucky to say that I had someone like him on my side because he fought for me every single time, every single day and when it comes to being a manager, I look up to him a lot because he’s one of the greatest of all time. And when you have someone like that who believes in you, it just fuels your fire that much more. So definitely Paul Heyman now, but Tommy Dreamer’s the one who got me into TNA. So, we’re talking ECW, I mean, we have some roots here.”

stephanie-mcmahon

Stephanie McMahon has been one of the driving forces behind the Women’s Revolution in WWE. Over the last five years the women have gone from being involved in lackluster feuds with one or two-minute matches, to being featured all over the show. The women have continued to make strides in the past few years including getting their own Royal Rumble match and being featured in the main event at WrestleMania 35.

In a recent interview with The National, McMahon explained that the progress has been amazing to be a part of but did mention that there is still more to do including trying to add more female writers.

“We do not have enough,” McMahon said. “We do not have enough female writers in the writers’ room, we are actively working on that. There is a dedicated focus to how we tell our women’s storylines in the show, but we can always be better.”

McMahon also said that the increased focus on the females has allowed the fanbase to grow in that area as well.

“I’ve grown up in WWE so I have a bit of a different story than your typical executive, but I have seen our female fan base grow to now nearly 40 per cent,” McMahon said. “I have seen little girls in our audiences wearing all the merchandise of our female superstars – and little boys, too, by the way. I’ve definitely seen a huge growth in our business.”

McMahon discussed how the women were always featured on WWE TV but for were mostly reduced to small roles as managers and not focused on in the way the men were.

“Throughout the years, we’ve seen women’s wrestling ebb and flow,” McMahon explained. “In the Attitude Era, it was thought that our women were ‘nice to have’ not a ‘need to have’. They weren’t featured as main events, they were in various other roles.”

McMahon’s husband, Triple H, is also deserving of a lot of the credit for the advancement in women’s wrestling according to her. In NXT the women were given a lot more opportunities and time to develop their storylines and have better matches.

“He started recruiting elite female athletes, as well as men, and he started training the women the same as the men, giving them the same amount of match time on television at our live events,” McMahon said. “These women, when given the opportunity, absolutely started to steal the show every time, [to the point] our fans started chanting ‘this is wrestling’ and ‘women’s wrestling’.”