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23rd Jul 2022

WWE boss Vince McMahon says he’s finally retiring – others aren’t so sure

Dave Hanratty

Vince McMahon

The WWE chairman has been hit with a series of sexual misconduct allegations.

World Wrestling Entertainment supremo Vince McMahon is finally stepping down from the company he has led as promoter since the early 1980s, or so he says.

76-year-old McMahon has been hit with a series of ongoing sexual misconduct allegations in recent weeks, initially announcing that he was voluntarily stepping down as CEO in the middle of June.

However, that appeared to be a surface-level move, with McMahon continuing to produce WWE television shows and turn up as an onscreen character.

On Friday night (22 July), WWE released a statement via its corporate website announcing that McMahon has now officially retired from all of his roles with the organisation.

“As I approach 77 years old, I feel it’s time for me to retire as Chairman and CEO of WWE,” McMahon began.

“Throughout the years, it’s been a privilege to help WWE bring you joy, inspire you, thrill you, surprise you, and always entertain you. I would like to thank my family for mightily contributing to our success, and I would also like to thank all of our past and present Superstars and employees for their dedication and passion for our brand.

“Most importantly, I would like to thank our fans for allowing us into your homes every week and being your choice of entertainment. I hold the deepest appreciation and admiration for our generations of fans all over the world who have liked, currently like, and sometimes even love our form of Sports Entertainment.”

WWE will now be led by chairwoman and co-CEO Stephanie McMahon and co-CEO Nick Khan. Stephanie McMahon presented a loving tribute to her father on Friday night’s edition of Smackdown, even calling on the fans to cheer ‘Thank you Vince’ at one point. And they duly did.

If all of this seems a little strange given the severity and stark nature of the allegations against McMahon, well, that’s the notoriously sleazy professional wrestling industry for you. It is also an industry built on lies, of course, given the pre-determined nature of the bouts presented to the public and the soap opera storylines that drive them.

As such, many people have taken Friday night’s news with a heavy pinch of salt. One such sceptical individual is veteran reporter Dave Meltzer, who runs the weekly Wrestling Observer newsletter. On Friday, he noted:

“Those who have been around the business are sceptical this is for good, noting the proclamations in the 90s that Pat Patterson would never work in the company again.

“Vince still owns the most stock, has 80% of voting power unless there is a sale, and his daughter is listed as co-CEO. The big question regarding who is now in charge of creative has not been answered.

“There will likely be a lot of news coming over the next few days as far as creative goes, but the first hurdle is tonight’s show and how SummerSlam changes.”

‘Tonight’s show’ being last night’s edition of Smackdown, which, as noted, paid glowing respects to the supposedly outgoing boss.

There were also reports that Brock Lesnar walked out of the building upon learning about McMahon’s retirement, though he did show up at the end of the episode as originally scheduled.

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