It’s time for WWE to move past Vince McMahon

WWE, Vince McMahon (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
WWE, Vince McMahon (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /

The headlines haven’t been too kind to WWE in recent weeks. Everything from losing top stars, moving PPVs to smaller venues, and potentially the release of a generational talent in Sasha Banks doesn’t look good for any organization in the world of professional wrestling. Even still, Vince McMahon’s recent inclusion in mainstream media headlines is the worst of sorts. Board investigations and rape accusations keep his name front and center, while fans shower him with praise. All that needs to be unpacked, but one thing needs to be discussed as well – WWE can exist without McMahon at the helm and it’s time to take those steps.

On June 15 Joe Palazzolo and Ted Mann of The Wall Street Journal dropped a bombshell that the board of WWE is investigating a $3 million dollar settlement paid by McMahon to a former employee to keep an affair secret. The revelation included a lot of information that has led to the fallout of John Laurinaitis being placed on a leave of absence and McMahon stepping down as CEO and Chairman, being replaced by his daughter Stephanie McMahon.

On top of that, McMahon’s name has also hit the headlines for Rita Chatterton’s accusation of rape, which was covered by Abraham Riesman of The Intelligencer. These accusations have come up in the past, but Riesman’s piece brings forth additional information to corroborate Chatterton’s accusations.

Those paragraphs alone signal a firestorm, but the appearances when WWE television is fired up come off entirely different. McMahon has stepped down from the two biggest roles on his resume but has remained in control of creative. The same creative on WWE television that hasn’t been great in recent years. When his music hits McMahon walks out to cheers and bows from fans, giving the appearance that while there is a fire going on outside, nothing inside his ring will change. He’s in control, whether it is his name or his daughter’s on the door. And that is exactly what needs to change.

When news of the investigation broke, one of the first questions asked is whether this would be the matter that sees McMahon ousted. McMahon has solidified himself in the organization and even as this investigation moves forward, he’s consolidated the vast majority of said power into his own hands. Are there steps that could occur to see McMahon removed? Yes. Are those steps easy? No.

As accountability becomes a focal point in today’s society, professional wrestling continues to struggle with the idea of it. WWE and the rest of the industry continues to employ and promote names that were named during the Speaking Out movement. It’s hard to believe that Vince McMahon, perhaps the most important name in professional wrestling, will face accountability for what he’s accused.

This situation has popped up in professional sports rather recently. Jerry Richardson and Donald Sterling saw their ownership of the Carolina Panthers and Los Angeles Clippers come crumbling down because of similar issues, Richardson’s especially. Both individuals were forced out when in reality they didn’t have to step down, but the controversy pushed the goal forward. Could 76-year-old McMahon be facing similar challenges? Only time will tell.

Without Vince McMahon at the helm, who would run the show? Stephanie? Triple H? Nick Khan? Bruce Pritchard? An amalgamation of the group? Or a sale of WWE to flip the entire situation on its head? That is up for debate, but that doesn’t change the stance that Vince shouldn’t be the figurehead moving forward.

Vince McMahon’s theme song, “No Chance In Hell” has a double meaning after the last two weeks. He’s in the spotlight for some of the worst reasons since the Steroid Trial he faced decades ago. Will this be the situation that pulls the chair out from under him? The verdict is still out but the time has come for WWE to move past the of the most important individuals in the history of professional wrestling.