1. It’s been almost a week since Vince McMahon shocked the world by announcing he was retiring from WWE. There are still so many questions surrounding McMahon’s departure from the company, which came after it was reported he had paid hush money to four women he had affairs with over a 15-year period.
On this week’s SI Media Podcast, I spoke to Dave Meltzer, who has been the publisher and editor of the Wrestling Observer since 1983, to get some answers.
Right out of the gate, Meltzer, as you’ll see below, explained why McMahon, who many thought would never retire, decided to do so at this time and why he had to go.
Even knowing that there was pressure on McMahon to leave the company, it was stunning to hear he’d actually acquiesced. Meltzer, though, explained why this was the one scenario where McMahon retiring made sense.
“The one thing I always thought with Vince,” said Meltzer, “was the only way he would go was to save his company. And he was the person who would save his company first, and I think that was part of it. Plus, he wants to save it for his daughter, his son-in-law and just his legacy.
“I think he wants WWE to go forever because as long as WWE is around, Vince McMahon, he was not the creator of WWE, but he was the creator of this version of WWE and the creator of this version of the pro wrestling business, and he does not want that lifetime of work to go away, especially when you’re older and you realize that your life is your legacy and how you’re remembered. And he’s gonna be remembered in a lot of different ways. There’s a lot good and a lot bad when it comes to Vince. Any story that’s only good or only bad is missing a huge part of the story.”
I asked Meltzer whether there was a chance McMahon could return after all the heat and negative publicity die down.
“My gut says this is it,” answered Meltzer, “but I think the deal is, when these investigations are over, if they clear him, he would try to come back. When the investigations are over. If he’s somehow cleared of all wrongdoing, I don’t know how, but if that’s the case then I think he would come back.”
As for now, Stephanie McMahon is the new CEO and her husband, Paul Levesque (aka Triple H), is the new head of creative. Given that everything in WWE is still in the family, wouldn’t Vince try to get in his daughter and son-in-law’s ears and dictate orders?
“He’s gonna be giving her advice, you would think,” said Meltzer. “He’s gone, but I don’t think the influence is not there. There’s gonna be times he speaks to his daughter and just goes, ‘Hey, do this, do this, do this,” and she’ll listen because Vince has 40 years experience in the chair and ran the company and if he was your father-in-law and he gave you suggestions, you may not take every suggestion, but you would absolutely listen to every one.”
Other topics covered during the SI Media Podcast with Meltzer:
• Can Vince come back as an on-air character?
• How do the WWE superstars feel about Triple H being in charge of creative?
• What is the future of television producer/director Kevin Dunn?
• Will SummerSlam, which is taking place this Saturday, be affected by Vince’s departure?
• When can WWE viewers expect to see changes with the TV product?
• Will certain Vince-isms, such as wrestlers not being allowed to use the word belt be gone?
• Where is Shane McMahon in all of this?
• Will WWE be sold?
2. Speaking of Vince McMahon’s retirement and the future of WWE, AEW’s CM Punk had some very strong thoughts, as he usually does.
3. Charles Barkley has said that if he doesn’t have an offer from LIV Golf by Thursday night, he’s done with them. As of this writing, late Thursday morning, Barkley says a formal offer has yet to be made.
I spoke at length with Sports Business Journal‘s John Ourand on this week's SI Media Podcast about the possibility of Barkley joining LIV as well as the future of NFL Sunday Ticket, the best streaming services and much more.
4. Rich Eisen also had some strong thoughts Wednesday, while responding to a report that his contract with the NFL Network was soon to expire. In fact, Eisen had signed a new deal a month ago.
5. This is a good training camp video from the Bills.
6. Remember last week when Yankees pitcher Gerrit Cole was seen in the dugout devouring some fruit?
Well, if the $324 million he currently makes isn't enough, he has another offer.
7. RANDOM VIDEO OF THE DAY: After yesterday’s Traina Thoughts about the demise of Choco Taco and the best treats to order when the ice cream truck comes around, a reader emailed to say I should’ve posted Eddie Murphy’s vintage bit on the ice cream man. He was right, so I’m making up for it today.
Be sure to catch up on past editions of Traina Thoughts and check out the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast hosted by Jimmy Traina on Apple, Spotify or Google. You can also follow Jimmy on Twitter, Instagram and TikTok.