WWE: New Report Explains What Drove Vince McMahon to Retire

Vince McMahon announced on Friday that he would be retiring from all his positions within WWE, including his roles as CEO, Chairman and Head of Creative. The announcement came a mere five weeks after The Wall Street Journal first broke the news of the WWE Board of Directors investigating McMahon over hush money payments he had made to keep certain alleged sexual misconduct quiet. WSJ's Joe Palazzolo and Ted Mann returned with a new report on Monday, stating federal investigations into those payments were what drove him to announce his retirement so quickly. 

The report says the Securities and Exchange Commission and federal prosecutors have launched inquiries into those payments. WWE filed its Preliminary Financial Results for 2022's Second Quarter on Monday, which included an 8-K filing that stated $14.6 million in payments made by McMahon had not been recorded. As a result, previously financial statements from December 2019 up through the first quarter of 2022 will have to be revised. 

"The Company is working with the goal of issuing such financial statements by August 9, 2022, but there is no assurance that it will be able to meet this deadline. In light of the Unrecorded Expenses and related facts, the Company expects to conclude that its internal control over financial reporting was not effective as a result of one or more material weaknesses," a portion of the filing read. 

The filing also noted the company had received "regulatory, investigative and enforcement inquiries, subpoenas or demands" regarding those payments, adding that McMahon either has paid or will pay the entire $14.6 million via his personal funds. 

McMahon's announcement was joined by the news that Stephanie McMahon and Nick Khan will be serving as Co-CEOs going forward. Paul "Triple H" Levesque will now serve as both Head of Talent Relations and Head of Creative. 

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The WSJ had previously reported on four NDAs that led to McMahon paying millions of dollars to former female employees. The biggest involved a former wrestler whom McMahon allegedly coerced into giving him oral sex in 2005. When she rejected further advances, he allegedly demoted her and later opted to not sign her to a new contract. The settlement with the former wrestler did not take place until 2018 with a payout of $7.5 million. 

h/t The Wall Street Journal