In Daily DDT’s annual year-end awards, Vince McMahon was the News Story of the Year for 2022. There is a multitude of reasons why this is the case from the revelations of multiple women being sexually assaulted or harassed, spending company funds to pay for their silence, and ultimately resigning from the company that he made a global phenomenon.
2022 gave us a couple of other big news stories that would have been the major story in another year. The full results breakdown includes:
- Vince McMahon garnered 58% of the vote
- AEW All Out Media Scrum and Fight received 35% of the votes
- Stone Cold Steve Austin wrestling his first match in 19 years received just 5% of the vote
While both of those are big deals, they pale in comparison to McMahon. This is a story I’ve covered for Daily DDT from the beginning. It is an understatement to say that the reporting from The Wall Street Journal was a bombshell. What began with a story about a $3 million dollar hush payment led to the formulation of a WWE investigation board. It uncovered four women receiving $12 million in hush money over 16 years. Then came to the revelation of McMahon’s right-hand man, John Laurinaitis was also involved after a woman McMahon was involved with for a year was passed to him “like a toy.” McMahon appeared on live television to stroke his enormous ego after the first news story broke. In all, six women were paid $19 million dollars.
Last summer, McMahon announced his retirement via Twitter. His daughter, Stephanie, was named co-CEO with Nick Khan. Paul “HHH” Levesque was named Executive Vice President of Talent Relations and Head of Creative. He is also a WWE board member.
Several weeks ago, WSJ reported that yet another woman had previously come forward about being sexually assaulted by the billionaire. McMahon is facing “legal demands” from this woman along with former WWF referee, Rita Chatterton (who says McMahon raped her in 1986). At the same time as this report, WSJ also stated that McMahon believed he received bad advice and wanted to return to the company.
Although many in the company from talents to corporate made it clear that they didn’t want McMahon back, he forced his way back in five days into the new year. He returned under the guise that he wants to potentially sell the company and would not approve any sale unless he was installed as Executive Chairman. He brought back former WWE co-Presidents, thus forcing three to vacate their board positions. Two people resigned as well.
This could very well be the story of 2023. While everyone is focusing on a potential sale or shopping media rights, the story here is that Vince McMahon used his power and his position to harm women. He used company money to buy their silence. This man is a predator and has no business being in power where he can potentially do even more damage. No matter how many twists and turns this story takes, we must never lose sight of the fact of what got McMahon here in the first place.