Vince McMahon's Potential WWE Return Plan Revealed

Vince McMahon is returning to WWE. The 77-year-old announced he's taking steps to return to the company as executive chairman as it sets a new round of rights deals that he believes should be in tandem with discussions of strategic alternatives, including a sale of the company, according to Deadline. McMahon stepped down as CEO and chairman of the board last July following a scandal over sexual misconduct and a board investigation over payouts for women. His daughter, Stephanie McMahon, and Nick Khan became co-CEOs. Triple H also became the chief content officer after McMahon stepped down. 

"WWE is entering a critical juncture in its history with the upcoming media rights negotiations coinciding with increased industry-wide demand for quality content and live events and with more companies seeking to own the intellectual property on their platforms," Vince McMahon said in a statement. "The only way for WWE to fully capitalize on this opportunity is for me to return as Executive Chairman and support the management team in the negotiations for our media rights and to combine that with a review of strategic alternatives. My return will allow WWE, as well as any transaction counterparties, to engage in these processes knowing they will have the support of the controlling shareholder."

When it comes to WWE's TV deals, weekly shows Monday Night Raw and NXT air on NBC Universal's USA Network, and the deal ends in 2024. Friday Night SmackDown airs on Fox, and that deal also ends at the same time as Raw and NXT. Peacock absorbed WWE's streaming network in 2021 and has the rights to it until 2026. 

The Wall Street Journal reported that McMahon wanted to return to WWE last month and said he would not support or approve any media-rights deal or sale unless he has direct involvement as executive chairman. Despite stepping down last year, McMahon still controls the company through his ownership of Class B shares, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Along with McMahon returning to the board, WWE announced that Michelle Wilson and George Barrios – former WWE Co-Presidents and Board members, and currently the Co-Founders and Co-CEOs of Isos Capital Management – are back on the board.

"I look forward to working closely again with Michelle and George – as well as the Company's remaining directors and management team, who have my full support and confidence," McMahon said. "WWE has an exceptional management team in place, and I do not intend for my return to have any impact on their roles, duties, or responsibilities."