wrestling / Columns

What’s Next For WWE After Vince McMahon’s Retirement?

July 23, 2022 | Posted by Blake Lovell
Vince McMahon WWE Smackdown Image Credit: WWE

Vince McMahon is no longer in charge of WWE.

Well, that’s a sentence I never expected to type.

But it’s now a reality, and the discussion as to what’s next has already begun after Vince McMahon announced his retirement from WWE on Friday.

McMahon’s exit seemed inevitable after the recent stories from the Wall Street Journal regarding allegations of misconduct, yet it’s a move many believed would never actually happen. At least not voluntarily.

There’s no doubting the fact that McMahon created a sports entertainment empire that has no rival. He took what his father built and transformed it into a publicly-shared company that reached unprecedented heights and changed the professional wrestling business forever.

There’s also no doubting the fact that McMahon’s journey involved a fair share of controversy, with things finally reaching a point of no return after the latest scandal.

Many opinions will be written about McMahon in the coming days and months, but for those wanting to look to the future, the focus turns to the unprecedented situation behind the scenes in WWE.

Which brings up the original question: What’s next for WWE after Vince McMahon’s retirement?

Not even Paul Heyman can provide a spoiler for this one.

Sure, we can all speculate or make educated guesses as to what comes next for the company. The problem with finding accuracy in those guesses is that few have ever known a non-Vince McMahon-run WWE. He made it clear that he’s still the majority shareholder in the company, and as we’ve learned in wrestling, you “never say never” about someone coming out of retirement.

For now though, Vince is out, and that presents more questions than answers moving forward. But boy is it a long, spectacular list of questions.

What do the shareholders think?

What do USA Network and FOX think?

What’s next for Kevin Dunn and Bruce Prichard?

How will creative change?

More importantly, who’s running creative six months from now?

Does WWE become more or less appealing to prospective and current talent?

What does it mean for a possible WWE sale?

Those are just some of the questions that come to mind.

For WWE, the problem isn’t money. There’s plenty of that to go around for the foreseeable future, and though ratings aren’t what they were in the Attitude Era, there’s still a big enough audience to please networks and advertisers.

There will be more intrigue in the specifics of future TV deals following McMahon’s exit, but again, it’s hard to see WWE lacking a home for a product that regularly brings in over a million and a half viewers for Raw and two million viewers for SmackDown.

Still, as things currently stand shortly after McMahon’s departure, one word hovers over the company:


Large corporations – such as TV networks and other revenue-driving entities – don’t like uncertainty, and they certainly don’t like spending money on uncertainty.

WWE’s past success will ease some of the initial doubts as to whether the company can thrive without McMahon in the long-term, and having another McMahon in charge in Stephanie McMahon will also carry weight in future negotiations.

But uncertainty is still uncertainty. The comparisons to a Vince-run company have already begun for both Stephanie and fellow Co-CEO Nick Khan, and they started the minute McMahon announced his exit.

If Stephanie and Khan are more than B-plus players and know what’s best for business, the business side of WWE will be just fine.

Creatively, it’s anyone guess.

There will be no more reports of McMahon furiously destroying a script 30 minutes before showtime, and hopefully, fewer angles dedicated to bodily functions.

However, the belief that WWE is going to do a hard reset like WCW did in 2000, or all of a sudden return to being “professional wrestling” and not “sports entertainment,” is nothing more than wishful thinking. The last thing WWE executives want to do is rock the boat even more.

Maybe Triple H eventually takes control and presents a jacked-up version of NXT black and gold, though there are significant differences in running main roster WWE and NXT. Anyone that implements less camera cuts, more coherent long-term storylines, and grown adults speaking like grown adults would likely garner a lot of backing from traditional wrestling fans.

But despite McMahon’s creative madness over the years, WWE is more profitable than ever. Is an in-ring makeover even necessary for the new regime?

Add it to the list of questions.

Should more misconduct allegations surface, who knows how wide-reaching the impact of McMahon’s retirement will be. There are things that many of us haven’t even thought of yet that will factor into the company’s future, but other things still have to play out to even get to that point.

What we do know is this:

With Vince McMahon no longer in charge, WWE will never be the same.

What that means for WWE’s long-term future – both inside and outside of the ring – sets up one of the most fascinating storylines in wrestling history.

article topics :

Vince McMahon, WWE, Blake Lovell