In case you haven’t heard the big news today, Vince McMahon is out as WWE CEO and chairman temporarily while an ongoing investigation by WWE’s Board of Directors looks into a $3 million payout McMahon gave to a former employee he and WWE head of talent relations John Laurinaitis had an affair with. Replacing him will be his daughter, Stephanie McMahon, who recently made news for taking a leave of absence from WWE several weeks ago.
At face value, this would seem to suggest a potentially seismic shift in the WWE hierarchy going forward. According to some, however, the move from Vince to Stephanie may have other motives behind it. In a tweet early Friday morning, CNBC’s Alex Sherman reported there was another reason behind Stephanie McMahon’s new role.
“I’m also told that elevating Stephanie to CEO, after she just left to focus on family, is an optics play to signal Vince McMahon has no intention of stepping down,” Sherman tweeted.
It should be noted that despite Vince McMahon stepping down as WWE CEO and Chairman, he will continue to be in charge of WWE’s creative going forward. Shortly after the announcement that he would step down, WWE also announced McMahon would be appearing on tonight’s episode of “Friday Night SmackDown”; according to Sherman, McMahon will be addressing his temporary absence in character as Mr. McMahon. He is also expected to address talent backstage regarding the allegations against him
Regardless of the reasons, Stephanie McMahon now finds herself as WWE’s temporary CEO, one cannot help but note the irony following several reports earlier in the month where WWE sources questioned McMahon’s performance as Chief Brand Officer. Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter later noted that it appeared people in WWE were trying to bury McMahon following her leave of absence.