The following are highlights of Vince McMahon’s cover story in the latest edition of Variety, as supplied to PWTorch.com by the publisher. The article’s headline reads: “Ready to rumble: With a billion-dollar deal in its pocket, Vince McMahon’s WWE has become a Wall Street darling, despite past baggage and future rivals.” McMahon spoke with the magazine about the $1 billion broadcast deal with with Fox Corp. and his plans to drive a vast expansion of international operations and cement WWE’s place as a mainstream part of the U.S. entertainment landscape.
•On WWE’s success: “So few people understand what we do and how we do it. We’re different than anything else that’s out there. The respect factor is here, and now it’s global.”
•On the WWE’s $1 billion Fox deal: “WWE talent will be appearing on [Fox] programming. It’s going to be a totally integrated approach. We’ve never had a platform like this in terms of promotion. Fox is going to go all-in, and they’re great promoters.”
•On criticism that WWE’s grueling schedule often has bad consequences for wrestlers: “Anybody who wants time off can get time off. That’s easy. In addition to that, it’s easy to weave a talent in and out of a storyline. If they get injured, you’re not expecting that. Or if they have a family matter. Our characters are real people with real problems. It’s a revolving situation where this talent will work these dates, that talent will work those dates.”
•On whether he’d consider selling all or a partial stake in WWE: “We’re open for business.” He declined to elaborate.
•On Ted Turner’s attempt in the ‘90s to turn World Championship Wrestling into a player on the scale of WWE: “Ted Turner opened his checkbook and spent a lot of money buying our talent. We knew they’d do okay for a while, but we knew they couldn’t stand the grind.”
•On WWE’s longevity: “I liken it to the military. At the end of the day I’ve got these ribbons and all these medals, and I wake up the next morning, and every one of them is gone. You have to earn everybody’s respect every day, all over again, and I don’t take it for granted.”