Vince McMahon Announces Retirement from WWE amid Sexual Misconduct Allegations

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJuly 22, 2022

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Longtime WWE chairman and CEO Vince McMahon announced his retirement from the company Friday, one month ahead of his 77th birthday.

Vince McMahon @VinceMcMahon

At 77, time for me to retire. <br>Thank you, WWE Universe. <br>Then. Now. Forever. Together. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WWE?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#WWE</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/thankful?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#thankful</a>

The longtime WWE figurehead purchased the company from his father in 1982 and made it into a global phenomenon that boasts multiple billion-dollar television deals and is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange.

McMahon said in a statement that his daughter, Stephanie McMahon, and current WWE president Nick Khan will take over as co-CEOs. Stephanie will also serve as chairwoman.

Last month, McMahon announced he was temporarily stepping down from his role as chairman and CEO but remaining as head of creative after the Wall Street Journal reported that WWE's board of directors was investigating him for paying $3 million to a former WWE paralegal in exchange for her silence about a sexual relationship between them.

A subsequent Wall Street Journal report found that three additional women who worked for WWE allegedly signed nondisclosure agreements.

One of them said she was coerced into giving McMahon oral sex while she was a wrestler for the company before getting demoted and not having her contract renewed in 2005 when she refused to engage in additional sexual encounters.

McMahon reportedly paid her $7.5 million in a 2018 settlement.

A second woman, who was a WWE contractor, reportedly received a $1 million payout in 2008 when she showed the company nude photos McMahon sent her and alleged that he sexually harassed her on the job.

Another payment reportedly occurred in 2006 when McMahon paid $1 million to a woman who was a former WWE manager and allegedly had a sexual relationship with McMahon, who has been married to his wife, Linda McMahon, since 1966.

Further information regarding McMahon's alleged affair with a paralegal was uncovered as well, including an allegation that McMahon "gave her like a toy" to head of talent relations John Laurinaitis.

McMahon and Laurinaitis have been under investigation by WWE's board of directors ever since. Another move Friday suggests Laurinaitis is also out of the picture.

WWE announced earlier Friday that Stephanie McMahon's husband and Vince McMahon's son-in-law, WWE legend Triple H, had taken on the role of executive vice president of talent relations.

While McMahon is permanently out as chairman and CEO, he didn't make an announcement about the role of head of creative.

If it is assumed McMahon will retire from that position as well, creative will likely be a collaborative effort among the writing team, although longtime WWE executive and McMahon confidant Bruce Prichard would perhaps be the top candidate to take the lead.

For a period in the early-to-mid 1990s, McMahon, Prichard and the late Pat Patterson made all of WWE's creative decisions. With Triple H's promotion, Prichard can pivot from the role of interim head of talent relations that he had reportedly been occupying.

During his time at the helm, McMahon helped change the course of professional wrestling by eliminating the territory system and making WWE an international brand.

He also created WrestleMania, which is the biggest event in all of pro wrestling or "sports entertainment," and was pivotal in WWE's establishing itself as the clear market leader in the business.

Hulk Hogan, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, The Rock, The Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart, John Cena and Roman Reigns are just a few of the Superstars who reached international prominence under the McMahon-led WWE.

While McMahon is vacating his official positions with the company, he noted in his statement that he remains WWE's majority shareholder and will "continue to support WWE in any way I can."


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