Vince McMahon, also known as Vincent Kennedy McMahon, was both the chairman and CEO of WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) – he shockingly resigned in July 2022, which completely shook the wrestling world. Although he has retired, he remains a majority shareholder. Despite his reputation as a well-known American business magnate, he has been subject to many lawsuits as well as some controversies.
WWE started way back in 1980 and has increased in popularity ever since, with millions of fans around the globe. So many people enjoy watching WWE that you can even place bets on all of the action through an online sportsbook and cheer for your favorite wrestling star.
Lawsuits against McMahon were seen as early as 1994 – this was a case filed by the WBF (world bodybuilding federation). The lawsuit stated that Vince McMahon had allegedly been monopolizing the professional wrestling and bodybuilding events market – this resulted in the competition being severely damaged at times. This lawsuit, however, was dismissed three years later in 1997.
McMahon was also subject to a sexual harassment lawsuit in 1994, where former WWE employees attempted to sue him. An employee stated that Vince McMahon had not only made sexually suggestive comments toward her but had also made inappropriate advances. This case was settled in court – however, the details were not disclosed.
Another lawsuit in 1994 was the steroid distribution lawsuit – McMahon was being charged for distributing steroids to his WWE wrestlers and employees. Employees and wrestlers had claimed this. Although he was later acquitted of these charges in 1996 his reputation was severely damaged – as was the reputation of WWE.
Two years following the termination of his first lawsuit, Vince McMahon was once dealing with a case against himself in 1999. Unfortunately, the former wrestler Marc Mero suffered a series of head injuries sustained while working for WWE. WWE was expected to hold responsibility for any medical expenses and any other damages that may have occurred. This case ended up being settled in court – however, the amount is undisclosed.
More WWE (former) wrestlers began to file lawsuits – in 2007, Vince McMahon was subject to a class action lawsuit. This was filed against the company (WWE) and the former CEO. Allegedly the proper health insurance (and other benefits) were not supplied for the wrestlers. This case, like the 1997 case, was dismissed as the wrestlers failed to have any standing to sue.
Another wrestler who sued Vince McMahon was Jimmy ‘Superfly’ Snuka. In 2012, Snuka alleged that WWE owed him money for his time working with the company. This case was settled in court.
Billy Jack Haynes attempted to file a lawsuit in 2016 – the former WWE wrestler had allegedly suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). This was correlated with his time wrestling at WWE; he claimed that the company was responsible for any medical expenses he had as well as any other damage. Unfortunately for Haynes, a year later, in 2017, this case was dismissed in court.
How Was WWE Affected?
After a joint press release issued by the WWE board of directors, the role of co-chief executive officers of WWE was given to Nick Khan and Stephanie McMahon. Stephanie McMahon was later given the position of chairwoman of WWE’s board. Her husband, Paul ‘Triple H’ Levesque, was seen as a possible candidate to run the company and replace Vince – allegedly, his health is a factor that may be stopping this. Levesque retired after going into heart failure, but this did not prevent him from returning to WWE to work as a recruitment officer. There was talk of Vince McMahon’s son, Shane McMahon, returning to WWE – though this has not been confirmed and appears to be stated by Vince McMahon.
McMahon’s Attempt to Get Back Power
In the first week of January 2023, McMahon attempted to regain power. He appointed himself and his former co-workers George Barrios and Michelle Wilson. This resulted in two board members quitting and Stephanie McMahon announcing her resignation as co-CEO and WWE chairwoman. Yet another class action lawsuit has been filed against Vince McMahon by fellow WWE shareholder Scott Fellows, claiming that McMahon has breached the fiduciary duties of a controlling stockholder.
In addition, a second lawsuit was launched, this time by the Fire Retirement System and Detroit’s Police. There is a request in the suit, filed in Delaware’s Court of Chancery, which is asking it to be recognized as a class action lawsuit. It also asks other shareholders of WWE to get behind it. The consequences of this lawsuit may lead to the time taken for the company to be sold to be increased significantly.