Former WWE chairman, CEO and head of creative Vince McMahon has reportedly told people close to him that he plans to return to WWE at some point.
McMahon retired in July amid allegations that he paid millions of dollars to four women over a 16-year period to secure their silence over sexual relationships with McMahon, told people he received "bad advice" to step down and believes the allegations against him would have "blown over" had he stayed in power, according to Joe Palazzolo and Ted Mann of the Wall Street Journal.
After purchasing WWE from his father in 1982, McMahon headed the business and creative sides of the company for decades before ceding control to a host of executives in July.
The 77-year-old McMahon's daughter, Stephanie McMahon, took over as chairwoman and co-CEO, while WWE president Nick Khan was elevated to co-CEO. McMahon's son-in-law, Triple H, took the reins as head of creative and vice president of talent relations.
In addition to the alleged payments, McMahon has been accused of sexual assault by two women. Former WWE referee Rita Chatterton sued McMahon over allegations he sexually assaulted her in a limo in 1986. McMahon's legal team reportedly received a letter from Chatterton's representative in November asking McMahon to pay $11.75 million in damages.
According to Palazzolo and Mann, McMahon was also accused of sexually assaulting a former spa manager in 2011 in a separate lawsuit filed in November
McMahon has reportedly denied both allegations and is refusing to pay any settlements.
According to Palazzolo and Mann, people familiar with the situation said the former spa manager reported her allegations to the resort. Those people also said she told her husband, who allegedly tried to confront McMahon with a baseball bat at a venue where a WWE event was being held before being turned away.
McMahon's retirement came after he was alleged to have paid $12 million in secret settlements to multiple women since 2006.
WWE's board of directors investigated McMahon and determined that the payments should have been recorded as WWE expenses, but weren't. People close to the situation told Palazzolo and Mann that the WWE board of directors is still looking into the possibility of taking legal action against McMahon.
In July, Palazzolo, Mann and Joe Flint reported that the $12 million in payments were made to four different women. An investigation into those payments began when allegations came to light that McMahon paid $3 million to a woman who was a WWE employee from 2019 until January 2022 in exchange for confidentiality.
McMahon remains the majority owner and stakeholder of WWE and retains more individual voting power than anyone else in the company.
That suggests there is at least some level of possibility that McMahon could return to his previous positions with WWE at some point, but if the board of directors decides to block him or even take legal action against him, it may not be a realistic option.