Vince McMahon, the promoter who turned professional wrestling show into a global entertainment empire, announced on Friday that he was stepping down as head of World Wrestling Entertainment amid serious allegations of sexual harassment.
McMahonamong whose old friends is Donald Trump, at some point he became the character of his own wrestling promotions and even launched an opponent in the NFL – his unsurpassed XFL.
“When I turn 77, I feel it is time for me to step down as Chairman and CEO WWEThis is stated in a statement by McMahon. “Over the years it has been my privilege to help WWE bring you joy, inspire you, excite you, surprise you and always entertain you.”
McMahon resigned from his WWE position last month pending the results of an internal investigation following allegations that he had an affair with an employee and paid her $3 million to keep the matter under wraps.
His daughter Stephanie has been named interim CEO and chairman while the investigation continues — amid mounting allegations of misconduct.
Wall Street Journal two weeks ago, it was reported that McMahon paid more than $12 million to four women previously associated with WWE over the past 16 years to keep quiet about cases and alleged misconduct, including a former female wrestler who claims he forced oral sex on her. .
Inheriting power from his father, also named Vince, and grandfather Jess, McMahon transformed WWE from its regional start into an open international enterprise with hundreds of employees in offices around the world.
As he took the sport to the world level, the younger McMahon introduced a unique and colorful brand of wrestling, recruiting the likes of Hulk Hogan, who went on to become a megastar far beyond his in-ring performances.
WWE wrestlers have become cultural icons as McMahon used music and storytelling to introduce his stars to popular culture, hosting major events such as the first WrestleMania in 1985 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
“The Rock” went from WWE icon to Hollywood superstar, while “Captain” Lou Albano starred in a Cyndi Lauper music video and Hogan went on to star alongside Mr. Black. Ty and Sylvester Stallone are a prime example of the stellar crossover that McMahon introduced.
McMahon also has long-standing ties to celebrity-turned-president Donald Trump, who is a WWE Hall of Famer and who gave McMahon’s wife Linda a government position as small business chief of staff.
At the climax of a staged feud, Trump once famously punched a WWE boss and shaved his head in the middle of a live wrestling ring.
Through television and live performances, WWE has become a star-forming machine that bridges the entertainment and sports worlds, creating iconic characters such as “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, “Macho” Randy Savage, “The Undertaker” and Ted DiBiase, and also known as “Man in a Million dollars.”
McMahon remained in the background as a commentator until the late 1990s, when he coined the evil “Mr. Black”. McMahon and a notable dispute with Austin, his own soap opera storylines become a big draw.
In February 2001, McMahon launched the XFL with many of the same flamboyant extreme moves and off-field storylines that worked in the WWE, but the potential NFL rival folded after one season due to low TV ratings, with a bid for a 2020 comeback being canceled by Covid-19.
“Loyalty and Passion”
McMahon thanked his family, staff, and artists for WWE’s success.
“Our global audience can take comfort in the knowledge that WWE will continue to entertain you with the same zeal, dedication and passion as ever,” said McMahon.
McMahon said he was leaving the company in the hands of daughter Stephanie and co-CEO Nick Hahn.
“As the majority shareholder, I will continue to support WWE in every way possible,” he said.