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Report: WWE Talent Worried About Roster Cuts with Vince McMahon Eyeing Potential Sale

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 9, 2023

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 04:  Vince McMahon attends the WrestleMania 29 Press Conference at Radio City Music Hall on April 4, 2013 in New York City.  (Photo by Eugene Gologursky/WireImage)
Eugene Gologursky/WireImage

With former WWE chairman, CEO and head of creative Vince McMahon returning to the WWE board of directors last week, some wrestlers in the company are reportedly concerned about being the victims of cost-cutting measures.

According to Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer Radio (h/t H Jenkins of Ringside News), some talent are worried that a reported effort to sell WWE could result in mass releases.

Meltzer also noted that morale had been "much better" since McMahon retired in July amid a WWE board of directors investigation that found he paid millions of dollars to multiple women to cover up details of sexual encounters and relationships they had with him, as well as some allegations of sexual misconduct.

McMahon's WWE return officially occurred Friday when WWE filed his placement back on the WWE board of directors with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC):

Brandon Thurston @BrandonThurston

Vince McMahon is back on WWE's board of directors. <br><br>A new filing says effective immediately Vince puts himself, Michelle Wilson, and George Barrios on the board and removes independent directors Alan Wexler, JoEllen Lyons Dillon, and Jeffrey Speed.<a href="https://t.co/HGzFZNvaXM">https://t.co/HGzFZNvaXM</a> <a href="https://t.co/Y3HIRGearx">pic.twitter.com/Y3HIRGearx</a>

Lauren Thomas of the Wall Street Journal reported on McMahon's desire to return one day earlier, noting that it was in relation to McMahon wanting to be a significant part of sale talks.

McMahon did not confirm any plans to sell, but in a statement regarding his return, he mentioned the importance of being involved in television rights negotiations due to his status as WWE's majority stakeholder.

The current WWE TV rights deals with NBCUniversal and Fox expire at the end of 2024, meaning negotiations should begin this year.

CNBC's Alex Sherman reported Saturday that WWE hired investment banking company JPMorgan to aid in the potential sale of the company. Sherman added that any sale would likely occur within the next three to six months.

Sherman also reported that Comcast, Fox, Disney, Warner Bros. Discovery, Netflix, Amazon, UFC owner Endeavor Group Holdings and Formula One owner Liberty Media are among the prospective buyers.

Since McMahon retired, new head of WWE creative Triple H has replenished WWE's roster by signing some new talent and bringing back several wrestlers who were either released or allowed to hit free agency under McMahon's leadership.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, WWE made waves of talent releases in an effort to cut costs, and signings of established talent were few and far between.

It isn't uncommon for companies to attempt to lessen spending in an effort to look more attractive during a sale process, and given McMahon's recent penchant for making cuts, WWE wrestlers may not be out of line for their reported fear of what McMahon's return could mean for them.

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