Last year, long-time WWE leader, Vince McMahon, resigned in disgrace from his role with the company following a variety of sexual assault and harassment allegations. With McMahon no longer at the wheel of the ship, his roles were divided between Nick Khan, President, Stephanie McMahon, Co-President, and Paul “Triple H” Levesque, Chief Content Officer.
During the nine months that McMahon was removed from the product, the company saw huge gains in virtually every area. Ticket sales, merchandise sales, sponsorship revenue, and viewership all increased leading into WWE WrestleMania 39 early last month. However, when news broke that Endeavor is acquiring WWE, along came with it was the return of McMahon’s presence in the backstage area.
The Raw after WrestleMania reportedly saw McMahon in the Gorilla position, making several last-minute changes and delivering a blow to the locker room morale. McMahon has rarely been seen backstage since, and reports about low morale and chaos have since subsided.
In a Haus of Wrestling exclusive interview, now available on all podcast platforms, legendary pro wrestling trainer, promoter, and agent, Rick Bassman, spoke about the backstage vibe this past weekend at WWE Backlash. Bassman attended the event to speak with WWE’s top brass in regard to working with his AI company, Metaphysic.
“It was super happy and chill and harmonious,” he described. “Maybe it’s because I’m not wrapped up in the day-to-day anymore, and worried about conduct and reaction and all that. But to me, it was far and away the most relaxed I’ve ever seen that company’s backstage. It was really cool.”
Bassman noted that McMahon was not in attendance for the show, although he had expected him to be there for their Metaphsic meeting. While McMahon may not have been backstage, there have been reports that he is still influencing the shows remotely, and I asked Bassman if it appeared Levesque was firmly in control of Backlash as it was going on.
“For years, decades, you will see the sign that says ‘Vince’s Office’ with the arrow pointing to wherever that office was,” he described. “Well, that’s been replaced by ‘Paul Levesque’s Office.’ So you can see that. But the only time I saw Hunter was when we were backstage during the Bunny match.
“And he was in Gorilla, with Prichard, and it just wasn’t, it didn’t look to me like the right time to say hello, because they were like really engrossed in the Bunny match, as they should be. So I didn’t get a lot of, I don’t have a lot of data to answer your question, but my impression was he’s certainly the guy running the show.”
The note about the “Vince’s Office” sign being removed is interesting. At the end of March, Fightful reported that the “Vince’s Office” sign was still being used backstage and had not been replaced. Of course, the sign still being up backstage was taken as a sign of McMahon’s continued backstage influence, but It would seem that times have changed. Now the office making the final decisions is Levesque’s, even if McMahon is only a phone call away.
If you use any quotes from this post please give a h/t to Haus of Wrestling for the transcription and link back