The opening months of 2023 have been a wild ride for WWE and Vince McMahon.
The year began with the Executive Chairman still in the background while Triple H and WWE pushed forward toward the Royal Rumble. However, what wasn’t clear initially was that McMahon had been attempting to return to WWE, and was set to make a second bid after being rejected by the Board.
The end result was that after four-whirlwind days in January, McMahon was back on WWE’s Board of Directors along with two associates and named Executive Chairman. In the process, McMahon removed three serving Board members, two more quit as a result, and Stephanie McMahon also left the company.
It was stated that McMahon was back with the company to ensure a sale, but the official story began to unravel in March. McMahon attended the March 6th Raw taping and remained largely out of the way. However, it was believed he was testing the water for further appearances. There were also numerous reports concerning McMahon’s having input in major WWE storylines.
Come night two of WrestleMania 39 on April 2nd, McMahon was getting increasingly more involved backstage. While 24 hours later it was announced that WWE had struck a deal with Endeavor, which would see the company form part of a $21 billion merger with UFC. Importantly, McMahon would remain Executive Chairman.
Following the announcement, McMahon confirmed that he’d be involved in WWE creative, but not “in the weeds,” more on a higher level. Despite this, just hours later, he was back running Monday Night Raw as he was for decades before ‘retiring’ in July 2022 surrounded by allegations of sexual misconduct.
Speaking with CNBC following the announcement of WWE’s deal with Endeavor and UFC, McMahon and Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel discussed the merger. During the conversation, McMahon was also asked about getting back in the ring. Although Emanuel said it would be McMahon’s choice, the 77-year-old, said “That’s not going to happen.”
It should be noted that McMahon had previously stated he wouldn’t appear on television again before returning at Survivor Series 2021.
When Did Vince McMahon Last Wrestle?
Following his return at Survivor Series, Vince McMahon began a storyline with Austin Theory. This led to Theory taking on Pat McAfee at WrestleMania 38 with McMahon in his corner. After Theory lost, McMahon stepped into the ring to face McAfee himself, eventually winning thanks to help from his on-screen protege.