Details On WWE's New Era, Internal Changes

If you couldn't tell, it's a new era in WWE.

The company hammered home this fact during WWE WrestleMania 40. Those we spoke to confirmed this is a direct reference to the fact that not only is Vince McMahon gone from the company due to allegations of sex trafficking, harassment and sexual assault, but that there is no pathway to Vince McMahon returning.

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Last week, Fightful reported of the optimism that existed within WWE around the first WrestleMania with truly no influence from Vince McMahon. From August until mid December 2022, there was briefly a period where McMahon stepped away, but for a good portion of 2023 was back to contributing remotely. As Vince McMahon is gone, many of his standards and rules are out the window.

Ibou of WrestlePurists said after WrestleMania "Spoke to someone from WWE who told me that the promotion is deliberately moving away from the terminology of Sports Entertainment." We've heard similar, though no specific edict has been handed down. However, one source said "Pro wrestling is no longer a dirty word. There are very few dirty words anymore. And the dirty words that do exist, people just seem to say even though we got memos telling us not to."

One of those "dirty words," is Vince McMahon, who is not to be referenced by name on WWE programming, or featured in archived footage if at all possible. We're told there is a concentrated effort from WWE to disassociate with him as best possible.

WWE has no plans to disassociate with his daughter, Stephanie McMahon, however. She reappeared on WWE after leaving the company last year when Vince forced his way back in. She'd visited backstage at Survivor Series 2023, but hasn't had an official role in the company. However, she was welcomed backstage at WrestleMania with open arms, and is well liked by many. Her promo was kept secret and was listed as a Triple H promo in the rundown. Fightful asked sources in WWE if there was hesitation to utilize Stephanie McMahon after being named as "Corporate Officer Number 3" in Janel Grant's lawsuit against WWE. Those we spoke to said that they haven't personally heard of how Stephanie addressed the allegations that she knew of Vince McMahon engaging in inappropriate sexual conduct. One source said that the situation had to be a complicated one for Stephanie, and they personally believed her appearance was her firmly picking a side publicly. TKO sources said that they're supporting Stephanie McMahon in this situation.

We have not been told that Stephanie is back in any full-time capacity. A half dozen sources we spoke with universally claimed they'd welcome her back.

Sources backstage say that Bruce Prichard and Triple H weren't expecting to be called out to the ring, and say that's something that Vince McMahon would have been vehemently against doing if he were in charge.

In regards to concerns from those that believed Bruce Prichard had acted on behalf of Vince McMahon, or Nick Khan having knowledge of the sexual misconduct included in the lawsuit, we were able to get somewhat of an answer. One longtime talent said that when they expressed their concern about people with knowledge or aiding Vince still being with the company they were told "nobody is indispensable as it relates to this." Specifically they were pointed to the fact that not only have WWE survived without Vince McMahon, John Laurinaitis, and later Kevin Dunn (for unrelated reasons), but that it thrived and did better than ever. The talent was told that Endeavor believes anyone can be replaced in the event even important figures need be removed.

Last year's WWE Raw after WrestleMania saw Vince McMahon turning into a proverbial Tasmanian devil, showing up, eating a script, and spitting out something completely new. Those we spoke to claim that last year's show would have been much better without his involvement, and they expect this year's show to be much more fun and to further prove a point that things are changing.

"The most successful periods of WWE were babyface periods where fans were passionate about talent and they were rewarded, and this weekend felt like that," said one producer.

WWE's in-truck production also got high marks, and was said to be integral in furthering the new era of WWE. We'll have more on that this week.

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