With all the recent high profile talent releases (with more to come) rumors are again swirling that the WWE is poised to be sold. Early front runners for a possible deal include NBC Universal and Disney. WWE Legend, Zeb Colter aka Dirty Dutch Mantel had mentioned a possible Disney sale earlier this year. My good friend, Hall of Fame wrestling journalist Bill Apter has also mentioned that he thinks (hypothetically) a sale may be in the works. Of course, nothing official has been announced by the WWE. However, with all the recent SEC filings from the WWE over the past year combined with trimming the payroll via layoffs on both the talent, staff and executive levels as well as the WWE Network being sold, financial experts suggest this is most likely the beginning of the process that the WWE will indeed be up for sale. With that being said, several questions remain with the biggest one of them all: Will Vince McMahon relinquish his baby he inherited back in 1982? Most pundits say no, to an extent. A sale could mean money in the 2 – 4-billion-dollar range with the caveat that Vince would retain his CEO status and still be involved in the day-to-day operations. Another scenario that keeps creeping up, is the potential to split up the brands. With RAW & NXT both on USA Network (owned by NBC Universal) and Smackdown being on FOX this idea may or may not be on the table. I personally do not see this happening. Any company investing billions would want the total package. For the moment, let us say WWE is sold to another company, where does that leave Triple H, Stephanie & Shane McMahon? Based on recent stock evaluations, they would become very, very wealthy. But we all know NXT is Triple H’s puppy. The only real viable option out there is that the WWE will be sold to NBC Universal. With all of WWE Programming relegated to NBC’s Peacock Streaming platform this makes the most sense. NBC has had a long-standing working relationship with WWE going back to the days of NBC’s Saturday Nights Main Event. It is also no secret that current senior adviser for NBC Universal Sports is Dick Ebersol. He is a longtime ally/friend of Vince McMahon. Remember the old XFL days? Another dart being thrown is that Nick Khan was promoted to his current position to facilitate this potential huge sale. Wrestling Insider Dave Meltzer has spoken to people in the WWE, and they believe Nick Khan is a shaping up the company for a potential sale. Let us go back to the high-profile releases for a moment. With the likes of Samoa Joe, Mickie James, Billie Kay, Peyton Royce, and most recently, Braun Strowman, Lana, Buddy Murphy and Ruby Riott. These are all household names, serious mainstream televised talent and most of all talent with huge followings on social media. They were all told their releases were due to budget cuts. I am sure the average working person who has been laid off has heard this once or twice before, but that reason alone is a standard business practice. After all, the WWE recently received 1 billion dollars for the sale of its Network to NBC Peacock. Again, this is consistent with any company looking to attract buyers.
I recently have been quoted as saying this whole thing is a ”work.” Some people have ridiculed me, and some have supported me. Either way that is another avenue worth looking at. With the WWE hitting the road next month for the first time in 16 months, one would think that the WWE would need all its talent to fulfill the upcoming 26 venues and dates. AEW President/Owner Tony Khan has recently been cutting promos and using words like WWE and Nick Khan (no relation). Then there is all the former WWE talent to have signed with AEW within the past year. The late and great Brodie Lee, Paul Wight, Christian, Miro, Sting, Jake Roberts and recently Mark Henry to name a few have all been main eventers at one point and hall of famers with the WWE. And there are of course the social media crossover posts between the two companies via talent. They say timing is everything. Combine that with AEW’s solid fan base and TV ratings how could any company not want to involve themselves? Bottom line is I would not be surprised If this turned out to be true.
As the dust settles or does not settle, time will tell if the WWE is really going to be sold. I am sure Vegas will have odds out on this soon enough. When that happens, it will not mean the end of the WWE it will mean that WWE is no longer in the wrestling business. Think about it.