Stephanie McMahon Says AEW Is Competition to WWE

Aug 9, 2019 - by James Walsh

Stephanie McMahon spoke with Fortune for a new interview discussing the current state of WWE, new competition from AEW and more.

On the rise of competition for WWE: “I think it will ultimately make us all better, I really do.”

On the current state of WWE: “Well, first I’m going to start with what hasn’t changed. It’s our mission to put smiles on people’s faces all over the world. Whether we do that with our entertainment or by giving back to the community; that has definitely not changed. The fundamentals of storytelling have definitely not changed. It’s still protagonist versus antagonist with conflict resolution. That’s no different than any great storytelling platform. The only difference is that our conflicts are settled inside a 20-by-20-foot ring. What has changed is that we now have the ability to go, more than ever, direct to consumer. Whether that’s through our WWE Network, through digital and social media, it’s allowing us to have the one-on-one engagements with our fan base.”

On the value of the new WWE/FOX deal: “Strictly from a company standpoint, it more than tripled the value of our content rights. I couldn’t be prouder of that. And we couldn’t be more proud to be a part of the Fox family. Yes, we are an entertainment franchise, but we deliver like sports. It’s exactly where I think WWE should be.”

On the payoff of having stars like Roman Reigns and John Cena appear in big-budget films: “We always want to grow and reach new people, as well as re-engage casual fans or lapsed fans. The more we can get our superstars exposure outside of WWE programming, the better it is for everyone. The ultimate end goal is driving viewers back in to WWE programming but at the end of the day, the more you are front and center in people’s minds the more they’re thinking about your product, the better you’re going to be as a business.”

On elevating women in the company: “It’s important, because, well, women matter. When I was growing up, I didn’t have that representation. Women being the main event (at WrestleMania) wouldn’t have even been thought of. It would have been laughable, quite frankly. And to now have my three daughters sitting in the front row seeing women headline and be the main event just because that’s the way it is—that to me is what this women’s evolution is all about. Fighting for what’s right.”

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