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Stephanie McMahon Talks WWE Stars Growing Their Brand, Steve Austin’s Light Bulb Moment, How Women’s Wrestling Has Changed

September 7, 2020 | Posted by Blake Lovell
Steve Austin Vince McMahon 1997 WWE

In a conversation with Gary Vaynerchuk in July, Stephanie McMahon discussed the importance of WWE stars growing their brands, when Stone Cold Steve Austin had his light bulb moment, how women’s wrestling has changed, and much more. The Gary Vee team released the part of the interview on Monday as part of a new YouTube series. Here are some of the highlights.

On Stone Cold Steve Austin’s light bulb moment and understanding his opportunity with WWE: “There’s so many stories I could tell throughout time – even Stone Cold Steve Austin, who was The Ringmaster. He was standing at the curtain, and he tells this story – he’s watching someone in the ring and I’m not sure who it was – but he looked over at Vince and he said ‘You should really give that kid a push, they’ve really got something.’ My dad looked back and said ‘Well, all I can provide is the opportunity, the rest is up to him.’ And Austin said that’s when the lightbulb went off for him and ‘Oh, this is really about me and my ability to listen and grow my brand.’

On the importance of talent today promoting their own brand: “I think the talent we have today have more than an opportunity that anybody ever did before because of social media and because they recognize the opportunity to build their own brand and their own voice both in and outside the ring. The more people are engaged with you as a person and an individually, the more they’re gonna want to see you perform and hear you talk or see you in the ring.”

On how women’s wrestling has changed in WWE over the last two decades: “Well, it started when we decided how we wanted to train and recruit our athletes. We wanted the most elite athletes both from the male and female standpoint. We started training them the same as the men and giving them the same opportunities and the same match times. NXT, which started off as our developmental brand, the women on there started to really steal the show. the women started really stealing the show and there were chants of ‘This is Wrestling’ and ‘Women’s Wrestling.’ So then on RAW and SmackDown – it was February of 2015 when we had a women’s tag match that lasted 30 seconds in a three-hour show. That was unfortunately the norm. So, our fans started tweeting out #GiveDivasAChance, which trended worldwide for three days. They demanded more screen time, better athleticism, better storylines, and better character development for our women. So the CEO – my father – said he heard their concerns and told them to keep watching for changes.”