Posts Tagged ‘Vince McMahon’

WWE’s value has dropped from $4.995 billion to $4.485 billion.

Obviously, that’s still a staggering amount of money, but the company’s overall value has gone down 10.21% since reports surfaced in The Wall Street Journal alleging sexual misconduct from Vince McMahon towards a female employee.

That 10.21% equates to $510 million.

IndieWire also reported that some metrics have actually gone up for the promotion. This past week’s editions of Raw and SmackDown, for example, had higher ratings for some segments than WWE has experienced lately. That, of course, could have something to do with the ongoing controversy.

WWE announced McMahon for last Friday’s SmackDown ahead of time, but they kept his showing on Raw under wraps until it happened.

The company’s value fell from $4.995 billion to $4.823 billion within 24 hours of allegations surfacing against Vince and John Laurinaitis. By Friday, that number had dropped to $4.647 billion, and it continued to plummet towards the $4.485 billion figure.

It’ll be interesting to see if things stabilise soon, or if that number will keep dropping. WWE definitely won’t see it as a plus that value has gone down over $500m, that’s for sure.

As of this writing, WWE is now under investigation from five different law firms.

Originally reported as three firms by Mike Johnson over at PWInsider, Brandon Thurston of Wrestlenomics has an update that the number of legal companies currently looking into WWE now stands at five. The firms looking to take class action against Vince McMahon’s promotion are Scott+Scott, Rosen Law Firm, Schall Law Firm, Bragel Eagel & Squire, and Labaton Sucharow.

These investigations are in regards to WWE potentially violating federal securities laws.

To quote the Schall Law Firm – which mirrors the sentiments of the other aforementioned legal organisations – this pertains to:

The investigation focuses on whether the Company issued false and/or misleading statements and/or failed to disclose information pertinent to investors. WWE is the the subject of a June 15, 2022, article in the Wall Street Journal titled: “WWE Board Probes Secret $3 Million Hush Pact by CEO Vince McMahon, Sources Say.” According to the article, the Company’s board “is investigating a secret $3 million settlement that longtime chief executive Vince McMahon agreed to pay to a departing employee with whom he allegedly had an affair, according to documents and people familiar with the board inquiry.” The article continues, “the board’s investigation, which began in April, has unearthed other, older nondisclosure agreements involving claims by former female WWE employees of misconduct by Mr. McMahon and one of his top executives, John Laurinaitis, the head of talent relations at WWE, the people said.” On June 17, 2022, the Company issued a press release stating, “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.”

All law firms investigating this have encouraged any shareholders impacted by these recent events to get in touch with them.

Of course, in the aftermath of these allegations being made public last week, Vince McMahon opted to make rare appearances on this past Friday’s SmackDown and last night’s Raw. Coming across to the majority of watching audiences as tone deaf at best, and egotistically arrogant at worst, these appearances saw McMahon do a whole lot of nothing while seemingly doing his best to show that it’s very much business as usual for Vince and WWE.

As mentioned above, a company statement announced that McMahon has stepped away from CEO and Chairman responsibilities while the WWE board’s investigation takes place, but Vince is still very much in control of the promotion’s creative direction.

Cross one legal headache from Vince McMahon’s list of things to worry about.

Settlement talks had broken down between McMahon and Oliver Luck, who had been commissioner of the rebooted XFL football league. Vince claimed the executive had been fired for cause; Luck believed it was a cost-cutting move ahead of shuttering the whole operation at the start of the pandemic.

Luck was suing for the roughly $24 million in compensation he said he was due. McMahon’s counter-claim focused on Luck’s signing of wide receiver Antonio Callaway, whose 2018 legal issues violated the league’s mandate to not sign players with any off-the-field issues. In depositions, Luck’s lawyers brought up McMahon’s own felony charge from his 1994 federal steroid trial, seemingly to demonstrate the mandate was hypocritical.

Last Wednesday (June 15), as we learned the Luck suit was headed to trial in July, the Wall Street Journal’s report on the WWE Board’s investigation into alleged misconduct by McMahon hit. Vince has since stepped down from his roles as CEO & Chairman, with his daughter Stephanie assuming those responsibilities on an interim basis.

Sports Business Journal now says a recent court filing shows that Luck & McMahon have agreed to settle. In a June 17 brief to the court requesting the remaining records in the case be sealed, Luck’s lawyer Paul Dobrowski wrote: ”The parties reached an agreement to resolve this case on June 16, 2022.” McMahon’s lawyer, Jerry McDevitt, does not oppose the motion.

Terms of the settlement are unknown. But with this off their plate, McMahon & McDevitt can focus on defending Vince during the board’s investigation into alleged hush money payments to former WWE employees.

FTR are damn proud of their wrestling roots. From homages to the Midnight Express, to recently being managed by their own hero Bret “Hitman” Hart, “wrestler” is a term that Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler wear with pride. In a recent interview with Sports Illustrated, the ROH World Tag Team Champions talked about how WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon turned that term into a slight against them.

Harwood mentioned a night, after wrestling for WWE, where the former-WWE Raw & Smackdown Tag Team Champions found Vince McMahon in his usual spot backstage. “He had his hands in his pockets, and he said to us, ‘Everyone says you’re the next great tag team. But you know what I see? The problem with you guys is you’re just professional wrestlers.’”

McMahon has been famously uncomfortable with the terms like “professional wrestling” or “professional wrestler,” opting instead to call what WWE presents as “Sports Entertainment” that is presented by “Superstars.” Clearly designed to get under the skin of the tag team, and in some ways, he was successful, as Harwood says he was thinking of that moment as he stood in the ring alongside Wheeler and Bret Hart.

“That night in the ring,” Harwood continued talking about having Bret Hart in FTR’s corner recently at Big Time Wrestling. “I thought to myself, ‘Damn right, I’m a professional wrestler. I’m a great professional wrestler, and look at where my life is right now.’”

Harwood and Wheeler wrestled as Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder in WWE respectively. Their tenure in both “WWE NXT” as well as WWE’s main roster was met with critical acclaim from fans and from many inside wrestling. Fed up with their treatment in WWE, the duo requested their release in 2019 but were not granted the release until April of 2020.

The duo debuted in All Elite Wrestling in May of 2020, and have since gone on to win the AEW World Tag Team Championships, and are currently the World Tag Team Champions of both ROH and AAA.

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“.

In a story entirely unrelated to the Vince McMahon news currently dominating the cycle, the WWE Chairman is set to go to trial over a compensation claim relating to the XFL.

The Athletic’s Daniel Kaplan reported that McMahon and former XFL commissioner Oliver Luck are suing each other after settlement talks broke down after just nine minutes.

Pro Football Talk had the full story, noting that Luck is suing McMahon for $23.8million in compensation from his former XFL contract after providing a personal guarantee that he’d be paid. In response, McMahon has countersued with allegations that the XFL’s parent company Alpha Entertainment incurred damages of over $572,000 as a result of Luck breaching his contract and associated duties.

McMahon officially relaunched the XFL under the Alpha Entertainment banner in January 2018, with the football itself kicking back off in February 2020. Operations were subsequently suspended at the onset of the global pandemic, and Luck and the rest of the XFL staff were all let go in April. XFL filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings just days later.

The pair will go to trial on July 11th.

As noted, Vince McMahon is reportedly being investigated by the WWE board of directors over cash settlements made to former employees over alleged misconduct. WWE Head of Talent Relations John Laurinaitis is also named in one of the settlements.

The investigation began in April after the WWE board was made aware of a $3 million settlement between McMahon and a former paralegal for the company with whom McMahon allegedly had an affair.

The settlement was from January of 2022, and a statement from the WWE board claims that the relationship was consensual. Upon further investigation, there were numerous settlements with former female employees to silence allegations of misconduct, which is when John Laurinaitis’ name was mentioned.

Fightful Select has backstage news about the ongoing allegations against both McMahon and Laurinaitis.

According to the report, sources that Fightful spoke to have indicated that the relationship between McMahon and the paralegal was suspected by many in the company and it was hinted that she was given a substantial promotion around the time of the April 2021 WWE cuts. She was promoted from John Laurinaitis assistant to a “director” role that spring.

Stephanie McMahon is on the company board and would have been aware of the investigation as would Nick Khan and Triple H.

Fightful also asked about Nia Jax’s tweet from April 30, “It’s a shame, some people deserve to get the opportunity to shine like the star they really are, but unfortunately certain higher-ups can never see past their own perverted ways. Too bad, there aren’t the lucky ones who can use blackmail to keep their jobs.”

There was no mention of it from any higher-ups and the tweet was just dismissed as “bitter.” The tweet would have been after the investigation was underway too.

When John Laurinaitis was given back the spot as Head of Talent Relations in 2021, female talent were frustrated with the move. One source revealed today, according to the report, that she would rather get all her stuff sent to her in a trash bag when she gets fired than to have to deal with Laurinaitis.

One former office employee also said that they believe this will be a “domino effect” and Vince McMahon will fight hard to stay, but doesn’t see a situation in which Laurinaitis doesn’t resign.

There are also assumptions that these allegations are the biggest threat to McMahon’s power in WWE since the steroid trial nearly three decades ago.

It was also noted in the report that some sources that Fightful spoke with expected John Laurinaitis to be replaced before all is said and done, and one speculated that he’s being set up as the “latest fall guy for Vince, his turn in line was coming.”

One male wrestler who was active from the 2000s and 2010s told Fightful that there long had been rumors of John Laurinatis’ misconduct, while a former writer said it was an open suspicion in the mid-2000s.

Former WWE star Raven “had heat” with Vince McMahon during both of his runs in the company.

Raven told Soundsphere that (in particular) he “didn’t get to do everything [he] wanted” during his second stint with WWE between 2000-2003. The celebrated ECW original actually viewed his career as a failure because he didn’t win Vinnie Mac’s World Title – Raven later “had to spend time on a psychologist’s couch to be happy” and “accept the fact that [his} career was incredibly successful”.

He admitted during the interview that he always held himself “to a higher standard” than others around him. That, Raven says, was “arrogant” and “pretentious” behaviour. Had a peer moaned about a career as successful as his, he’d have cut them down and then helped them see that they still had a great time.

Raven couldn’t see that at the time. He had quite the chip on his shoulder.

Some of this “heat with Vince McMahon” may have been born during his first WWF/WWE run in the early-1990s. The then-Johnny Polo partied with a young and impressionable Shane McMahon, and that could’ve raised the ire of Vince.

Matt Hardy told fans tuning into his podcast that Bray Wyatt always had a “very strange” relationship with WWE boss Vince McMahon.

The AEW star remarked that Vince often “looked at [Bray] like a son” behind the scenes. That was the case when things were going well, at least. When McMahon was angry at Wyatt, he’d “become hated; like he was going to lock [Bray] away for good”.

Hardy couldn’t quite believe the dynamic Vince and Bray had together. He described it as “a different duality”, and likened the punishments McMahon would hand out to Wyatt as akin to those he and wife Reby Sky might use to discipline their children.

Yep, “very strange” might be the best way to put it then.

Matt went on to say that Vince would flip from one extreme to the other where Wyatt was concerned. One minute, “he was all about him” and wanted to make Bray WWE’s focal point. The next, McMahon “would punish him and insult him”.

Wyatt’s summer departure from the company shocked the entire wrestling world last year. He’s been linked with various promotions, but hasn’t wrestled a match since WrestleMania 37.

Seven-time WWE Women’s Champion Trish Stratus may go down in history as the greatest WWE Female talent of all time thus far. Recently, while appearing at the For The Love Of Wrestling convention in Liverpool, Stratus discussed perhaps one of the most controversial moments in her time in WWE.

During the build to WrestleMania X-7, there was a controversial angle where Vince McMahon, who was involved in an on-screen romance with Stratus at the time, humiliated her and made her bark like a dog while in her lingerie.

“Vince pitched the angle to me like this — ‘so we’re going to have this angle where you are barking like a dog and get really humiliated, and basically hit rock bottom.’ And I was like, ‘amazing!’” said Trish. “Because I knew a couple of weeks later, I would be getting my comeuppance on him and I would be slapping him on the grandest stage of them all, which is Wrestlemania, and turning on him. I was going on to stand up for myself, not needing a man to lean on and fighting for what I needed to fight for.”

Stratus would then continue on in regards to how she saw this moment for her on-screen character, and how the moment stood the test of time.

“I get questioned about that a lot, and most people go, ‘oh, remember you had to bark like a dog and you had to do that thing that was so degrading, right? For the character, it was, yeah, because that was what the character had to go through. We don’t talk to Halle Barry when she had to get abused by so and so, you know, it’s a character.

“That, for me, was integral for the character to be at that rock bottom, to have the foresight to say, ‘I can break free from this. I won’t let this happen to me again and let’s move on.’ And you know what? 22 years, we’re still talking about it!”.

Trish Stratus last competed at SummerSlam 2019, losing to Charlotte Flair by submission.