As WWE turns its attention to the forever part of “Then, Now, Forever, Together,” securing the future in a deal with Endeavor to form a $21 billion grappling empire, fans have wondered what the future holds for the company Vince McMahon transformed from a regional wrestling promotion into one of the hottest tickets in entertainment.
While Mr. McMahhon has reportedly remained very involved in the on-screen efforts, with the disastrous RAW after WrestleMania featuring his fingerprints all over it and AJ Styles' involvement on the RAW after Night of Champions an audible of his design too, some have wondered what role he will play now that he's “cashed-out” to become part of a bigger organization.
Though much of those questions will unfold with time, one person who is happy to see WWE's big deal is one of the promotion's biggest stars, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who noted he recently reconnected with Mr. McMahon in an appearance on CNBC's Squawk on the Street.
“There have been some big deals in the wrestling space, yes. I just connected with Vince the other day,” Johnson said via Fightful.
“I see smooth sailing. They've known each other for a very long time,” Johnson added. “We all have, as a matter of fact, and I see smooth sailing with this. This has been a long time coming. Think about where Vince started. I often talk about my seven bucks moment, how I had seven bucks in my pocket when I was cut from the Canadian Football League. Vince had his seven bucks moment as well when he leveraged every dollar he had for the very first WrestleMania. Years later, he creates this merger with Ari that is in the billions of dollars. I see, when I say smooth sailing, these guys are adamant on creating an incredible conglomerate that is going to entertain the masses. Between WWE, UFC, Bullriding, and probably other things that are coming down the pipe, I'm excited about this merger.”
Does Mr. McMahon re-connecting with The Rock mean anything at all to WWE's on-screen product? No, probably not; fans have been clamoring to see “The People's Champion” back on screen for literally years now, with matches at WrestleMania 37, 38, and 39 all rumors but not delivered upon. Fortunately, as long as he's alive and kicking, there's still a chance the “Bramah Bull” could return to the ring once more, as, in professional wrestling, no one ever really retires.
“Stone Cold” Steve Austin weighs in on Vince McMahon's decision to sell.
Like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, the other biggest star of the Attitude Era, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, weighed in on his long-time boss and former on-screen rival's decision to sell. Like Rocky, Austin gets it because, after establishing himself as the greatest promoter of all time, this was just another business opportunity.
“I wasn’t shocked at all. It had been in the grapevine, and then it happened, and it kind of made sense. UFC did it. Why not WWE?” Austin asked on the SI Media podcast via Fightful.” Triple H went out there and cut that promo saying they are not going anywhere, meaning the people that are running WWE. I think it needs to come from a wrestling-minded family, all those key players. It’s a tricky business, not anybody with a television background can walk into the pro wrestling industry and can produce results. You keep the people running it that do because they know their fanbase better than anybody. I remember when Vince took the company public. I asked him, ‘Vince, why do you want to do this?’ He said, ‘Steve, to legitimize the business.’ I’m an old school wrestler. I don’t have that business brain that Vince has. I thought, ‘Dude, just hang onto it yourself.’ He’s done what he’s done. He’s the greatest wrestling promoter that has ever lived. It’s a business opportunity, and the machine rolls on.”
In professional wrestling, promoters are always looking for the next big thing to get butts in seats and fans handing over a few more dollars to be entertained. By merging WWE with UFC under the Endeavor moniker, Mr. McMahon found a way to make some serious money and potentially get a few more eyes on his on-screen product – a win-win no matter how you slice it.