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Dave Meltzer on Paul Levesque taking over WWE creative, Vince McMahon unrecorded expense story

The WON publisher gives some thoughts and insight into all of Monday morning's news.
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It was a huge morning of news from WWE with the official confirmation that Paul Levesque will assume the Vince McMahon role as having the final say in creative.

The current system will remain in place with a writing team as Bruce Prichard will head things up and report to Levesque. This dynamic was in place last Friday for SmackDown.

The new 8-K report filing noted that the McMahon departure was a resignation and not a retirement as was stated publicly.

In addition, the company has made a preliminary determination that certain payments that McMahon had authorized (approximately $14.6 million) were never recorded in WWE financial statements. These payments took place between 2006 and 2022.

A WWE official stated that despite the wording in the released 8-K reported, that the $14.6 million in question was paid by Vince McMahon from his own personal funds and not from WWE money. The statement in the release was that the expenses were or will be paid by McMahon personally. They said there were corporate accounting reasons that they released the information and will be adjusting the corporate books for 2019, 2020 and 2021 to account for those expenses.

They are aiming to publicly revise the documentation by August 9, although stated there is no assurance it will meet that deadline.

The company has also received regulatory, investigative and enforcement inquiries, subpoenas or demands arising from, related to, or in connection with the the matters related to the conduct of McMahon and the expenses.

It was not specified if the payments to women, that had previously been claimed were by McMahon personally and not from company funds, constitute some or all of that $14.6 million. But this would likely be something that, when uncovered, forced McMahon out of the company.

The key to this revelation is that it would be almost impossible for McMahon to return to power and this won't be a temporary departure until the heat dies down as many in wrestling over the past few days had believed, noting the company track record over the years with people who had gotten negative publicity over different things.

They did say that the investigation by the board's special committee, meaning all members of the board aside from McMahon, Stephanie McMahon, Levesque and Nick Khan, remains ongoing.

The WWE released its expected second quarter (the WrestleMania quarter) financial results early. It showed $328 million in revenue with $92 million in OIBDA and $70 million in operating income. The numbers were above what most analysts had projected. This release was done today to attempt to keep any potential share price drop due to McMahon leaving to a minimum.

But the opposite happened. At the time of this writing, WWE stock price has risen $5.15 per share to $71.77.

This came after analyst Alan Gould of Loop Capital raised his guidance price for the stock from $59 to $90 per share based on an increased likelihood the company would be sold. Within Wall Street, there had been some talk of that in recent weeks even before the resignation of McMahon. Gould said that he expected a rise in U.S. television rights fees in 2025, and mentioned Comcast, Disney Amazon or Netflix as potential buyers.