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Vince McMahon Should Have Stayed Retired

Initially, this piece was going to be my thoughts on WWE being sold to Endeavor and merging with the UFC to form a new company, and how Paul “Triple H” Levesque brought WWE back to “can’t miss” territory since taking over as chief content creator in the summer of 2022.

Then, the RAW After WrestleMania happened.

Any wrestling fan (specifically WWE) will tell you the last nine months have been one of the most insane times in the company’s long and complicated history. July 22, 2022, will go down as a date edged in stone in WWE history: The day Vincent Kennedy McMahon retired.

Leading up to McMahon’s announcement on Twitter at 4:05 p.m. ET that day, McMahon had been sued by multiple parties after a bombshell story dropped by the Wall Street Journal that accused the Chairman of WWE of numerous allegations of sexual misconduct.

Even with the allegations against “The Boss”, McMahon continued to run WWE programming over the course of June and July, appearing sporadically on television and saying almost nothing.

However, July 22, 2022, changed the game, as McMahon had officially been removed from all aspects of the company he bought from his dad, Vince J. McMahon, in 1982 and turned into a global empire. His daughter Stephanie and then-president of the company Nick Khan were named CEO. Levesque was named as the chief content officer of the company, daunting a new era for WWE both in front of and behind the camera.

Before Vince’s resignation, reports suggested locker room morale was near an all-time low for both on-screen talent and behind-the-scenes personnel at WWE. Over the course of the last few years, Vince was seen as tone-deaf to the modern fan and wrestler. He wasn’t creating fresh matchups. He wasn’t listening to his employees or fans. He would be writing the weekly shows WWE produces for its main roster (Monday Night RAW and Friday Night SmackDown) on the fly, making constant rewrites to the script during the show, frustrating everybody involved.

All that changed under the new leadership of Stephanie, Khan, and Levesque. Levesque instantly turned the on-screen product around. He brought captivating storylines to RAW and SmackDown. Wrestling was once again the focus of the shows instead of promos. Even in backstage interview segments, there was always action on the screen, forcing you to pay attention to the background. 

Levesque not only brought back many talents that were fired in 2020 and 2021 due to “cost savings” due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but he also made the mid-card titles (The Intercontinental Championship and the United States Championship) feel important again almost instantly. This, combined with the positive attitudes of Mrs. McMahon and Khan as opposed to Mr. McMahon, lifted the spirits of the wrestlers and the perception of WWE almost immediately.

Every Premium Live Event (PLE) under Levesque’s watch in 2022 and early 2023 delivered. From the Brock Lesnar tractor at SummerSlam to the Clash At The Castle, to the return of Bray Wyatt at Extreme Rules, to WARGAMES at Survivor Series, to THE turn at the Royal Rumble with The Bloodline, to the banger that was the Elimination Chamber PLE, Levesque was getting fans to tune into WWE programming. 

Hype for WrestleMania 39 was real among the wrestling community. Not only was the “Grandest Stage Of Them All” returning to Hollywood for the first time since 2005, but the 2023 version of WrestleMania that would emulate from SoFi Stadium April 1 and 2 from Inglewood California was the first WrestleMania under the creative direction of Levesque. On paper, the show had a chance to be an all-timer, headlined by Roman Reigns defending his Undisputed Universal strap against Cody Rhodes and Reigns’ cousins, The Usos, defending their Undisputed Tag Championships against lifelong friends Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. Charlotte Flair defending the SmackDown Women’s Championship against Rhea Ripley, Rey Mysterio fighting his son Dominik, Edge and Finn Balor ending their year-long rivalry inside Hell in a Cell, John Cena taking on the potential future of the business in Austin Theory, Logan Paul stepping into the ring with Sell Rollins and GUNTHER wrestling against Sheamus and Drew McIntyre in a Triple Threat for the Intercontinental Championship were among some of the most anticipated bouts happening at WrestleMania 39.

However, the hype was brought down a little by the distraction of the sale of the company. For weeks leading up to “WrestleMania Goes Hollywood” constant reports and rumors floated around about the sale process of WWE, and with Vince reinserting himself by force onto the WWE Board of Directors in January, it seemed as though the “evil genesis” was getting ready to take over his company again. Reports suggest he even began dabbling back into creative prior to WrestleMania.

Despite the outside concern, Levesque’s first WrestleMania was successful in a multitude of ways. Both nights delivered heart-stopping action, with WrestleMania Saturday being coined as one of the best individual WrestleMania shows of all time. WrestleMania Sunday was seen by most as lackluster, with only the main event, HIAC, and IC Title match delivering (though I personally liked the show as much as Saturday’s). 

The Monday Night RAW after WrestleMania even receives its own name now: RAW After Mania. This episode of RAW is different because it is in the same city as WrestleMania and most fans who attend the “Showcase of the Immortals” stay for the RAW After Mania. It is viewed as “Opening Day” internally within the company and used as a reset for its television product after the biggest show of the year. The show usually features fresh matchups and returns.

However, as mentioned above, none of that happened this year.

Instead, Levesque appeared to kick off the show to tout the success of his first WrestleMania in charge before carrying out his duties as chief content creator. After the opening segment, the whole show went downhill, with multiple wrestlers not appearing, weird camera cuts, the weird language used by commentators and almost no actual wrestling on the show. That could only mean one thing: Vince was back running the show.

And…what do you know?! Vince was back running the show, and the morale fell back down right where it was prior to Vince’s “retirement”.

Personally, I never felt Vince’s booking was “the worst ever” while in charge over the last few years. WWE has had its moments since All Elite Wrestling came on the scene in 2019. The product thrived inside the Performance Center and Thunderdome during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. In my opinion, WrestleMania 38, booked under Vince, is a Top 5 WrestleMania of all time, if not Top 3.

However, Levesque’s booking returned my love for the product and the company. If Vince’s booking was okay to pretty good, Levesque’s booking was great! As mentioned earlier in the piece, Levesque brought urgency back to the product, and that was never more clear than watching the RAW After Mania. As a product, going from Vince to Levesque, then back to Vince for a show was night and day, and the difference between the two bookers was clear.

All the stats back up the fact Levesque rejuvenated the WWE product. House show attendance is up under Levesque and so is general attendance, merchandise, and social media interaction. The wrestlers are clearly happier with Levesque at the helm, even if they love Vince as a person.

I was nervous about the WWE selling, and how it would affect the on-screen product. I still don’t believe the company should have been sold; it’s a family business and should have stayed in the family. However, I’m content with the company being sold to Endeavor because the on-screen product won’t change, and Levesque is still in charge of creative (at least by title).

It’s clear he needs to stay in charge of creativity going forward. As much of a pioneer as Vince was in the 1980s, 90s, 2000s, and 2010s, it’s 2023, and the Vince wrestling fans know and love is not the same man.

Vince should have stayed retired, and I hope Vince and/or his new bosses realize it sooner rather than later.


  • Brandon Lewis

    Brandon Lewis is the host of Brandon's World -- a sports podcast dedicated to figuring out the truth behind the hottest topics in the sports world. Brandon also contributes to Voltage Live as a writer. Brandon graduated from Kent State University in May 2021 with a Bachelor's in journalism and is passionate about giving individuals a platform to express themselves.

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