After scooping the XFL up from the legendary Vince McMahon and saving it from the ruins of bankruptcy, it now looks like Dwayne Johnson is ready to become the owner of the largest professional wrestling institution in the world, the WWE. Founded back in the early 1950s as Capitol Wrestling Corporation, the promotion has passed down through the generations, watching legacies being born and history being recorded in its chapters. On its 70th anniversary this year, the WWE looks like it has found its next owner in The Rock – its former pupil, outshining star, and current veteran.
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Dwayne Johnson Set to Acquire WWE From Vince McMahon?
The 40-year legacy of former WWE Chairman, Vince McMahon, came to an end in 2022 when the owner and businessman came under scathing scrutiny for sexual misconduct and improper use of company funds. Since then, the WWE has seen a tumultuous up and down in its shifting ownership and proprietary handling, until the Brahma Bull became a people’s favorite for the soon-to-be-vacant-again position of owner and CEO of the company. Given his recent post on social media, it looks like an increasingly favorable opportunity:
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The current runners in the bidding war include Tony Khan, the Saudi Public Investment Fund, and Dwayne Johnson, of course. The latter in a talk with CNBC‘s David Faber claimed, “I used to have this mentality… that, ‘Well, my plate is full. However, I’m going to make room for [more]’ — and I would find a way to do that.” Paired with his comments about the new owners having to “share that same passion for the company and for the world of pro wrestling” and his current status as the world’s highest-paid actor, the stakes add up to point at the People’s Champion as the lead in the bidding war.
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The Tumultuous Legacy of WWE Owner, Vince McMahon
Ever since his rise to power in 1982, Vince McMahon has held a monopoly over the wrestling industry, transforming the historically adulated show into the peak of television entertainment. Bringing the WWE into mainstream popular culture was the biggest legacy of Mr. McMahon, and throughout the years that followed, he did whatever he felt was necessary to keep the institution an untouchable and larger-than-life system of greatness. Until things began to fall apart, one chip at a time.
The predetermined sport began to show cracks in its visage once the legacy built by McMahon came under the brutal incendiary gaze of the authorities for its unchecked steroid abuse. This was soon followed by the 2005 death of the legendary Eddie Guerrero and the 2007 double-murder suicide committed by Chris Benoit, one of WWE’s best and brightest stars. The institutionalized over-sexualization of women in the sport further instigated the 2015 Divas Revolution and the accumulated force of controversies, deaths, struggles, and mental health deterioration among its members tarnished the pristine image of WWE ex-Chairman that even his former stars could not resurrect.
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Even then, it was a historically important moment when Hulk Hogan and Stone Cold Steve Austin walked the earth, and the more modern icons, The Rock, Dave Bautista, and John Cena paved the path for stars within the Ring to find a home elsewhere in the Hollywood arena. Following the heartbreaking events of the early 2000s, the WWE under Vince McMahon also sanctioned a wellness program for its wrestlers, outlawed chair shots to the head, brought female wrestlers out from the sidelines, and made them as much a part of the mainstream culture as their male counterparts.