POLLOCK'S NEWS UPDATE: Stephanie McMahon's temporary leave from WWE

Originally published at https://www.postwrestling.com/2022/05/20/pollocks-news-update-stephanie-mcmahons-temporary-leave-from-wwe/

POST IT NOTES

**Rewind-A-SmackDown is live at 10 p.m. ET tonight with Wai Ting and I. We will review Friday Night SmackDown and AEW Rampage before opening the phone lines and taking calls. This show will be live and available to download for POST Wrestling Café members.

**On Monday, we will have a special edition of the POST Daily News Show. We will be presenting a “director’s commentary” version of Owen Hart’s Final Day – the audio documentary we released in May 2019. We will be streaming the audio doc at 1 p.m. ET and taking pauses where Wai Ting and I will react and share some stories on the making of the doc. Monday will mark 23 years since Hart’s passing in May 1999. I have not sat down and listened to the entire doc since it was released, so I’m looking forward to listening back and commenting on the process of putting it together.

**The Wellness Policy covers the art of comedy and its role in society with Wai Ting & Jordan Goodman joined by Sarah Kalny and Eli (who strikes me as a Neil Hamburger fan).

**WH Park and I have the latest edition of POST Puroresu out discussing all the latest news:

**This weekend, a new edition of The N.W.A. Podcast will be released with Nate Milton, Kris Ealy, and Andrew Thompson as well as this month’s edition of POSTmarks with David Meyers and Bruce Lord speaking with POST’s Karen Peterson. On Sunday, Wrestlenomics with Brandon Thurston and Chris Gullo will be looking at the Stephanie McMahon story, the upfront presentations, and lots more.

POST DAILY NEWS SHOW

Brandon Thurston of Wrestlenomics stops by to discuss the Stephanie McMahon story, upfront presentations from this past week, AEW’s positioning at the Warner Bros. Discovery presentation, AEW Dynamite ratings, and more:

STEPHANIE McMAHON-LEVESQUE TAKING TEMPORARY LEAVE

Stephanie McMahon-Levesque is taking a temporary leave from WWE announcing the news via Twitter after the close of business on Thursday:

As of tomorrow, I am taking a leave of absence from the majority of my responsibilities at WWE. WWE is a lifelong legacy for me and I look forward to returning to the company that I love after taking this time to focus on my family.

Interestingly, the tweet by McMahon has been the only acknowledgment of this development with the company yet to comment publicly or issue any type of statement on its own. POST Wrestling has reached out to WWE both for comment and whether the company will be addressing it any further.

Brandon Thurston of Wrestlenomics reports that Nick Khan will be assuming her duties, in theory, greatly expanding his responsibilities in his position as the clear number two executive behind Vince McMahon.

McMahon’s entire adult life has been with WWE, working in the Stamford offices at a young age and graduating from Boston University in May 1998.

In early 1999, at the peak of the Attitude Era, she was introduced as an on-screen character during Vince McMahon’s feud with The Undertaker and the Ministry of Darkness. The McMahon family became the central focus of the program for years including the following year’s WrestleMania billed as having a McMahon in each of the four participant’s corners.

Behind the scenes, McMahon focused on the creative end, becoming a head writer in November 2000 and graduating to become the SVP of the division years later. It was during her era that the major shift occurred to a full-fledged writing staff that came in contrast to the days of Vince McMahon booking with Pat Patterson and J.J. Dillon and later with Jim Cornette, Vince Russo, Ed Ferrara, and others but keeping the circle small.

In 2013, she was named chief brand officer, which is the role she currently holds, and has been tasked as the point person for WWE’s advertising and sponsorships, which is an area they have projected sizable growth in the coming years. They recently revealed $10 million in sponsorships over WrestleMania Weekend, which is a huge sum for that area.

There will be plenty of speculation and questions regarding such a prominent executive taking an extended leave, but right now we are left with McMahon’s statement.

Her husband of 19 years, Paul Levesque underwent a cardiac event last year and the specific details provided by Levesque earlier this year demonstrated how significant it was and could have been fatal. The result is Levesque requiring a defibrillator and thus, ending his in-ring career – as limited as it’s been over the past few years.

Over the years, many have wondered what Stephanie’s ultimate goals are and whether a career outside of WWE such as launching her own media company/studio or politics is intriguing for her. She is 45 years old and with the absence of Vince McMahon’s public persona, has become the front-facing executive of WWE for several years.

No doubt that the stress level of a high-level executive working underneath Vince McMahon is high – and maybe more stressful as the daughter of Vince McMahon in that environment. The axiom is frequently cited that it’s a 24/7 job in WWE and for someone born into this industry and diving headfirst at a young age, the time off may allow for some reflection and foresight into how she wants to spend the next 15-20 years, especially at a point when her children are getting older and you assess the best lifestyle for those around you.

McMahon-Levesque is both a salaried executive within WWE and has a booking contract that rolls over each October. So, while her listed salary is $730,000 per year when all figures are calculated, she made nearly $2.6 million in 2021, according to the company’s proxy statement. McMahon-Levesque is also one of three McMahon family members that control Class B stock with 6 percent of that class’ stock with Vince controlling 92.2 percent and Linda holding 1.8.

Stephanie also holds a seat on the company’s board of directors, a position she still holds following this news, per Brandon Thurston.

As of Friday, there had not been any significant movement with the stock. WWE has yet to issue any formal statement on her status

WRESTLING NEWS

**Friday Night SmackDown takes place from the Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Michigan tonight at 8 p.m. ET on Fox. It’s a noteworthy show given the situation on Monday with Sasha Banks & Naomi and how the performers and the Women’s Tag Championships will be addressed, if at all. All reporting has been consistent that Ronda Rousey was going to defend her title against Banks at Hell in a Cell, which is only two weeks away and a new opponent will be needed immediately. It isn’t like there is a long list of potential opponents with the options on SmackDown limited to Natalya, Shayna Baszler, Raquel Rodriguez, or someone like Xia Li unless they utilize someone from Raw. Given how well the match came off last week with Rodriguez and leaving it open without Rousey submitting her, would seem like the best option for a two-week build, although it’s several steps down from the interest a singles match between Rousey and Sasha Banks would have had.

Tonight’s show is being advertised around the tag title unification match between RK-Bro and The Usos. In a different era, it would mean a lot, but I don’t think many are even expecting a finish on tonight’s show given how they have been trained to expect creative ways out of major stipulations.

Here are the matches and segments announced for tonight’s episode:
*Raw & SmackDown Tag Title Unification: Randy Orton & Riddle vs. The Usos
*Sami Zayn vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
*Xavier Woods vs. Butch

**Below is the lineup for tonight’s AEW Rampage that airs at 7 p.m. ET on TNT and streaming on TSN Direct in Canada:
*Bryan Danielson & Jon Moxley vs. Dante Martin & Matt Sydal
*Owen Hart Cup: Red Velvet vs. Kris Statlander
*Shawn Spears vs. Big Damo
*House of Black vs. Fuego del Sol, Evil Uno & Preston “10” Vance
*Video from Hook & Danhausen
*Men of the Year speak

**The Young Bucks have noted in their Twitter bio that there will be a “big match announcement” on Rampage.

**In the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Dave Meltzer is reporting that Paul Levesque is back full-time in the office. Levesque was also involved with the annual shareholders’ meeting on Thursday.

**Lawyers have gotten involved with the recent allegations levied by performer Christina Von Eerie (Christina Kardooni) and her former partner Chris Dickinson (Christopher Torre) where Von Eerie alleged physical and verbal abuse they were together and described the allegations in great detail last month. Dickinson issued a response, calling the accusations false while removing himself from a booking with Game Changer Wrestling in April but did wrestle this past weekend at the NJPW Strong tapings in the U.S.

SLAM Wrestling obtained the legal documents where Dickinson’s lawyer David Lin issued a cease-and-desist to Von Eerie requesting that she delete the social media posts, refrain from making or publishing any untrue or defaming statements about Dickinson, and stop harassing Dickinson or any of his professional associates to further damage his business opportunities. The statement adds that Dickinson “never engaged in any forms of abuse, whether physical, verbal, or mental.” Dickinson’s side is threatening legal action if the cease-and-desist is not complied with.

Von Eerie is represented by Andre Verdun, who argues that Dickinson is a public figure and not entitled to the normal protections of private individuals and defended Von Eerie’s decision to post the allegations in a public forum using her social channels.

**Starrcast bracelets are now on sale for the July 29-31 convention at the Nashville Fairgrounds. Beyond “Ric Flair’s Final Match”, the organizers have announced a panel with the Four Horsemen (Flair, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, Barry Windham, J.J. Dillon, and Lex Luger), a Ric Flair roast, Bret Hart reflecting on the SummerSlam ’92 match with Davey Boy Smith, What’s Next with Johnny Gargano, and live podcasts involving Kevin Nash, Mick Foley, and The Major Wrestling Figure Podcast. C.J. Perry and Jerry Lawler have also been announced for appearances. Tickets for “Ric Flair’s Final Match” are being sold separately and go on sale next Friday.

**Jon Moxley is scheduled for a pair of non-AEW dates in the coming months. Game Changer Wrestling has added Moxley to their ‘You Wouldn’t Understand’ card on Saturday, June 18th at the Melrose Ballroom in New York City. Moxley will also be teaming with Sami Callihan at the Wrestling Revolver ‘Cage of Horrors’ event on Saturday, July 9th. Both cards will be streaming on FITE TV.

**The Best of the Super Juniors tournament resumes Saturday morning at 3 a.m. ET on New Japan World from Aomori with the following card:
*A BLOCK: Taiji Ishimori vs. Alex Zayne
*A BLOCK: Ace Austin vs. Hiromu Takahashi
*A BLOCK: Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs. YOH
*A BLOCK: Francesco Akira vs. Ryusuke Taguchi
*A BLOCK: SHO vs. Clark Connors
*El Desperado, DOUKI & Taka Michinoku vs. Wheeler Yuta, Robbie Eagles & Tiger Mask
*Shingo Takagi & BUSHI vs. Master Wato & Hiroyoshi Tenzan
*El Phantasmo, Gedo & Dick Togo vs. Titan, El Lindaman & Jado

**Sunday’s Best of the Super Juniors takes place from Akita with the B Block matches of El Desperado vs. Wheeler Yuta, El Phantasmo vs. Titan, Master Wato vs. BUSHI, El Lindaman vs. TJP, and DOUKI vs. Robbie Eagles. On Monday, they have the day off and then run three consecutive nights at Korakuen Hall beginning on Tuesday.

**Pro Wrestling NOAH is holding a card on Saturday from Ota Ward Gymnasium featuring the return of Keiji Muto as he teams with Naomichi Marufuji & Satoshi Kojima against Go Shiozaki, Kaito Kiyomiya & Masato Tanaka. Muto was forced to vacate the GHC tag title with Marufuji earlier this year due to hip problems and last wrestled in January and turned 59 back in December.

Below is the lineup for the show that will be available on Wrestle Universe:
*Go Shiozaki, Kaito Kiyomiya & Masato Tanaka vs. Keiji Muto, Naomichi Marufuji & Satoshi Kojima (Kojima is challenging Shiozaki for the GHC title on June 12th at the CyberFight Festival card)
*GHC Tag Team Championship: Rene Dupree & Hijo de Dr. Wagner Jr. (champions) vs. Michael Elgin & Masa Kitamiya
*GHC Jr. Heavyweight Championship: HAYATA (champion) vs. Extreme Tiger
*GHC Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Championships: Chris Ridgeway & Yoshinari Ogawa (champions) vs. Seiki Yoshioka & Yuya Susumu
*Kenoh vs. Simon Gotch
*Masakatsu Funaki, Katsuhiko Nakajima & Manabu Soya vs. Takashi Sugiura, Hideki Suzuki & Masaaki Mochizuki
*Daisuke Harada, Atsushi Kotoge, Haoh & YO-HEY vs. Tadasuke, Hajime Ohara, Hi69 & Shuji Kondo
*Shuhei Taniguchi vs. Mohammed Yone
*Junta Miyawaki & Daiki Inaba vs. Yoshiki Inamura & Kai Fujimura
*Kinya Okada vs. Kazuyuki Fujita – this will be Fujita’s first match since April 8th after vacating the GHC title after a positive COVID diagnosis

**Guy Evans is offering a 20 percent discount on his book NITRO, which was just re-released with an expanded edition of the book containing four extra chapters among other add-ons. Evans has also stated that he will be making an announcement in July regarding another book project. Evans recently did a Q&A with POST Wrestling discussing the re-release and the work that went into the project.

**This weekend, WWE has a full house show scheduled with split crews on both nights. The Raw crew is in Canton, Ohio on Saturday and Fort Wayne, Indiana on Sunday featuring Cody Rhodes, Seth Rollins, Bianca Belair, and Becky Lynch advertised. The SmackDown crew has shows in Rockford, Illinois, and Cedar Rapids, Iowa featuring Roman Reigns, The Usos, and Drew McIntyre on both shows. Monday’s episode of Raw is in Evansville, Indiana with Bobby Lashley hosting a challenge for Omos and MVP.

**Game Changer Wrestling has a card on Saturday night from Los Angeles at the Ukrainian Cultural Center featuring Bandido vs. Nick Wayne, Speedball Mike Bailey vs. Masha Slamovich, Allie Katch & Effy defending the tag titles against Juicy Finau & Journey Fatu, Kevin Blackwood vs. Blake Christian, Jordan Oliver vs. Biff Busick, Joey Janela vs. Drew Parker, LuFisto vs. Dark Sheik, and AJ Gray defends the GCW Extreme title against Jimmy Lloyd, Jack Cartwheel, John Wayne Murdoch, Cole Radrick, and Ninja Mack. It is Ninja Mack’s first match back with GCW since his tour with Pro Wrestling NOAH.

**NXT Level Up tonight at 10 p.m. ET on the WWE Network features Javier Bernal vs. Bryce Montana, Yulisa Leon vs. Ivy Nile, and Josh Briggs vs. Quincy Elliott.

**The UFC Fight Night card on Saturday is headlined by a bantamweight fight between former champion Holly Holm and Ketlen Vieira. After losing to former 135-pound champion Amanda Nunes three years ago, Holm has earned decision wins against Raquel Pennington and Irene Aldana and would be in good standing for a title fight with a win on Saturday but would be stalled because Julianna Pena and Nunes are scheduled to fight this summer. Vieira is coming off a decision win against Miesha Tate and is 2-2 going back to the end of 2019.

Below is the full card, which will be streaming on ESPN+:

MAIN CARD (7 p.m. ET on ESPN+)
*Holly Holm vs. Ketlen Vieira
*Michel Pereira vs. Santiago Ponzinibbio
*Chidi Njokuani vs. Dusko Todorovic
*Parker Porter vs. Jailton Almeida
*Tabatha Ricci vs. Polyana Viana
*Junyong Park vs. Eryk Anders

PRELIMINARY CARD (4 p.m. ET on ESPN+)
*Alen Amedovski vs. Joseph Holmes
*Omar Morales vs. Uros Medic
*Jonathan Martinez vs. Vince Morales
*Chase Hooper vs. Felipe Colares
*Elise Reed vs. Sam Hughes

Aside from the top two fights, there is very little depth on this card. That doesn’t mean the fights won’t be engaging but from a marquee standpoint, it’s minimal and in line with the usual Fight Night format.

*****
POST DAILY NEWS: Stephanie McMahon-Levesque taking temporary leave from WWE
John Pollock is joined by Brandon Thurston of Wrestlenomics to discuss Stephanie McMahon-Levesque’s announced temporary leave of WWE.
*****
POST PURORESU: Kota Ibushi & NJPW. State of NOAH, Forbidden Door
John Pollock & WH Park discuss the saga between NJPW and Kota Ibushi, the state of NOAH, Forbidden Door, Stardom, KUSHIDA leaving WWE & more.
*****
THE WELLNESS POLICY: The Comedy Episode
Jordan Goodman & Wai Ting are joined by psychotherapist Sarah Kalny and “comedy analyst” Eli for a special discussion about the role of comedy in our lives.
*****
REWIND-A-DYNAMITE
John Pollock & Wai Ting review AEW Dynamite: Wild Card Wednesday featuring reveals of men’s & women’s Joker entrants and their quarter-final matches in the Owen Hart Tournament.
*****
REWIND-A-WAI #110: WWF Thursday Raw Thursday
John Pollock & Wai Ting look back at WWF Thursday RAW! Thursday (February 13, 1997) as Shawn Michaels vacates the WWF Championship through his now-infamous “lost my smile” speech.
*****

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