By Nathan Kamal | Published
Vince McMahon, perhaps the most famous and influential wrestling promoter of all time, has retired. The former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment (formerly known as the World Wrestling Federation, among other trade names) announced via Twitter that he was stepping down, followed by a longer official statement on WWE’s website. . Vince McMahon, 77, was recently investigated by WWE for a number of sexual misconduct allegations and reports that he paid millions of dollars in silent money to various women over the course of from previous years to squash these allegations. Here is Vince McMahon’s official Tweet:
According to the WWE statement, Vince McMahon is officially stepping down as Chairman and CEO due to his age. There’s no mention of the various sexual misconduct allegations against him, but the timing seems remarkable. Predictably, the statement goes on to thank fans of professional wrestling, sports entertainment, wrestlers (or “Superstars” in WWE parlance), employees and company executives. Vince McMahon specifically thanks his daughter Stephanie McMahon and WWE Chairman Nick Khan. Stephanie McMahon and Nick Khan will take over as co-chairs. The former is also currently acting as interim CEO of WWE since Vince McMahon allegedly paid a former WWE paralegal $3 million to cover up allegations of a relationship with him.
Vince McMahon is a third-generation wrestling promoter, following in the footsteps of his father Vincent J. McMahon and grandfather Jess McMahon. Jess McMahon began promoting wrestling events around 1915, a tradition that would become the family’s legacy. Vincent J. McMahon was instrumental in the growing popularity of professional wrestling in the 1950s, being a driving force behind the use of television to broadcast matches. When Vince McMahon took over the family business in the early 1980s, he expanded the business significantly, eventually gaining a virtual monopoly of professional wrestling in the United States. As WWE would face stiff competition from Ted Turner’s World Championship Wrestling in the 1990s, Vince McMahon eventually bought out the rival company and countless other regional wrestling groups.
He also made the unusual move of becoming an on-screen figure and performer. Apparently, Vince McMahon had youthful aspirations of becoming a wrestler himself, which his father disapproved of, believing in a separation between ring talent and promoters. He spent years as a ringside commentator, and once he took over the company, he took on the kayfabe persona of “Mr. McMahon”, the ruthless and arrogant owner of WWE. He would wrestle in various events many times over the years, eventually joined by his children Stephanie McMahon and Shane McMahon.
Throughout his career as a businessman and entertainer, Vince McMahon has been a controversial figure. He has done more than anyone to expand the reach and popularity of professional wrestling, but has also been accused of multiple instances of abuse of power and his employees. If nothing else, Vince McMahon leaves behind a complicated legacy.