Vince McMahon Retires From WWE Amid Sex Scandals: Backstage News, Reactions, More

Vince McMahon has retired from WWE amid investigations, and allegations of sexual misconduct after two huge Wall Street Journal stories.

Fightful has learned that at the Smackdown on July 22, Bruce Prichard is leading creative, Ed Koskey was also a point of leadership, and Triple H was helping direct traffic at WWE Smackdown. Producers were told that Prichard was taking over many of Vince McMahon's television roles for the time being, but nothing permanent was announced until Triple H was put in the spot days later. Talent we heard from were trying to find out who was going to end up leading thing permanently, with one noting that most talent has a good relationship with Triple H, Nick Khan and Stephanie McMahon and were looking at what creative obstacles they'd need to overcome.

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As far as expected changes, nearly all the talent we spoke to said that will be determined by who is in control. Numerous had pointed out that if Prichard ends up taking over, it's likely that not much will change by the way of that, but if it's someone else, the likelihood of forward progression is much higher. There was one source within creative that does expect there to be less rematches, as they believed Vince McMahon would like a matchup, think it made sense, and then later forget that they'd done it so many times. There were also those within that circle that claimed McMahon had issues remembering talent names here and there. Triple H ended up being the person taking control of creative.

There were plenty of people that we spoke to that believed that the impending leadership may not want to deviate from Vince McMahon's vision out of "respect," but think there are small improvements to be made that can make a big difference.

On Smackdown on July 22, there were significant changes to the script, which was rewrote to not include Brock Lesnar. However, when he returned to the building in a much better mood, he was added back to the show. We're told originally the script had called for more of a Maximum Male Models presentation, and a more extended Ronda Rousey/Liv Morgan segment. We were told that the backstage area was chaotic due to the nature of the announcement, the 5 PM meeting, and Brock Lesnar leaving. However, we also learned that many considered it a looser show from a production standpoint, and those involved in that end of thing also think that will be the case moving forward.

Many talent that we heard from were outright shocked that Vince McMahon was leaving. There wasn't a unanimous celebration of his retirement, as there were plenty of longtime talent that indicated they were "offput" by the fact that a talent meeting was held at WWE Money in the Bank that repeatedly reiterated that Vince McMahon wasn't going anywhere. There were multiple top stars that seemed dejected by the abrupt news and said they had no idea that it was coming. `

One WWE talent said that "it shouldn't have taken a scandal for a shakeup, and it made a lot of people wonder who is next to go, especially in Vince's inner circle." Most talent that we spoke to believe that Kevin Dunn will likely leave the company or be forced out. We have also heard that Wall Street Journal journalists have reached out to former talent since the second story.

Another talent said "I'm not banking on anything being permanent. Triple H was phased out, Stephanie was phased out, Bruce left the company for a decade, Johnny has been in and out, and none of them has the power Vince does. I'm not convinced that he can actually stay away, especially if he feels the heat has died down."

The memo to talent joked about Vince McMahon's calm demeanor at Gorilla, and thanked them.

Below is the memo:

"To all WWE Superstars,

“As I approach 77 years old -- am I really that old? I feel it’s time for me to retire as Chairman and CEO of WWE. I have enjoyed sharing my passion and wisdom and love of the business with you. No longer will you see the smiling, docile, level headed calm presence at Gorilla every week.Your dedication to WWE will ensure that we will continue to grow and prosper. Our organization is nothing without you, you're WWE's only natural resource, chosen to perform in front of a global audience. You're all WWE global ambassadors. Carry the WWE flag wherever you go and bust your ass to be all you can be as a person and a performer. I won't be with you, but I'll be watching. Remember to keep your hands up, grab a hold and sell. Smackdown will air tonight at 8 PM."

Throughout the years, it’s been a privilege to help WWE bring you joy, inspire you, thrill you, surprise you, and always entertain you. I would like to thank my family for mightily contributing to our success, and I would also like to thank all of our past and present Superstars and employees for their dedication and passion for our brand. Most importantly, I would like to thank our fans for allowing us into your homes every week and being your choice of entertainment. I hold the deepest appreciation and admiration for our generations of fans all over the world who have liked, currently like, and sometimes even love our form of Sports Entertainment. Our global audience can take comfort in knowing WWE will continue to entertain you with the same fervor, dedication, and passion as always.I am extremely confident in the continued success of WWE, and I leave our company in the capable hands of an extraordinary group of Superstars, employees, and executives – in particular, both Chairwoman and Co-CEO Stephanie McMahon and Co-CEO Nick Khan.As the majority shareholder, I will continue to support WWE in any way I can. My personal thanks to our community and business partners, shareholders, and Board of Directors for their guidance and support through the years. Then. Now. Forever. Together.”

When we asked people in the company what Vince McMahon what he would do moving forward, an overwhelming response was that many staff and talent didn't even know what Vince liked to do in his spare time, because he had very little of it.

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