Firings, potential bribery, alleged murder cover-ups and working with Trump: Was this WWE and Vince's McMahon's toughest week?
Things are never straightforward with the WWE and Vince McMahon but last week might just have been the toughest: From firing talent during a pandemic and an alleged murder cover-up to joining Donald Trump's economic advisory team.
The week for McMahon started with the decision to file for bankruptcy for his alternative to the National Football League, the XFL, due to financial restrictions brought on by COVID-19.
The venture had already seen the 74-year-old and partners reportedly lose $35 million back in 2001, having failed to muster much interest from NFL fans.
By 2018, McMahon revealed the league's revival, and he plunged $18 million into it following the sale of close to 400,000 WWE shares. A listing of the bankruptcy shows that assets and liabilities range from $10 million to $50 million.
For most companies, bankruptcy would be a tough week in and of itself, but for the WWE, that was simply a drop in the ocean.
Next came heavy scrutiny. Linda McMahon had promised to spend $18 million through her pro-Trump Super Pac group in Florida on the same day the state deemed live sporting and media productions as "essential services."Also on rt.com WWE deemed 'essential business' in Florida, will continue to operate live shows despite coronavirus lockdown
This decision was made even though in the previous week a WWE employee had tested positive for COVID-19. This was also the day that Vince's close friend Donald Trump name-checked him during a White House press conference, claiming that he, alongside the likes of the UFC's Dana White, the NBA's Adam Silver and the NFL's Roger Goodell, were on an economic advisory group.
To round off an already hectic Tuesday, the latest episode of Vice's "Dark Side of the Ring" was released and made some damning allegations. The episode entitled "Jimmy Snuka and the death of Nancy Argentino" looked at the 1983 death of Snuka's former girlfriend.
In the documentary, it is heavily alleged that McMahon attended Snuka's second interview with detectives and shortly after the case was dropped until its reopening in 2013.
Snuka was eventually charged with involuntary manslaughter and third-degree murder in 2015. However, the judge dismissed the charges against the wrestler as he was deemed "not mentally fit to stand trial."
Both in the documentary and in Snuka's biography there are claims that a "wrestling promoter" offered $25,000 to the Argentino family to "keep quiet" about the case.
The day after the documentary's release, the WWE made numerous releases to both off and on-screen talent including the likes of Kurt Angle, Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson, Rusev and referee Mike Chioda.Also on rt.com On the ropes: Wrestling fans express fury as WWE brutally AXES stars including Kurt Angle – despite having '$500m cash reserves'
In total, 37 employees lost their jobs in the middle of a global pandemic. While some, such as Drake Maverick, will continue to work on a temporary freelance basis before being officially let go by the company.
According to Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, the talent cuts will potentially save the WWE between $703,000 and $4 million.
However, there are still questions as to why they needed to be made in the first place. The company was able to pay shareholders - including Vince McMahon, their stock dividend. McMahon's alone could have covered the salaries of all of the released talents for another five months.
Despite the week of negative press, alleged bribes, cover-ups and being an advisor to Trump, WWE's stock prices have continued to rise following a poor showing throughout April.Also on rt.com Fake news: Wrestling fans SLAM Ronda Rousey, rivals threaten to 'knock her the f*ck out' over claims WWE fights aren't real