More Details On The Exits Of WWE’s Co-Presidents, How WWE Reacted

Jan 31, 2020 - by James Walsh

As we previously reported, WWE co-presidents Michelle Wilson and George Barrios are leaving the company following reports that the fourth quarter 2019 earnings were lower than expected. PWInsider has more details on the corporate shakeup.

According to the site, Wilson and Barrios were the #2 and #3 most important employees of the company and would handle the business side while Triple H handled creative. There’s reportedly a small circle of people who know exactly how the release happened and how Vince McMahon reacted to the fourth quarter and complete 2019 earnings. It’s unlikely that story will be told for a long time, due to corporate non-disclosures and severance packages.

The reason the two are gone is said to be because McMahon and Barrios & Wilson had different ideas on how to create revenue for the company. One source joked: “It’s never going to be Vince who loses that argument.”

An internal announcement released to WWE employees said there were “irreconcilable differences” in the company’s “strategic priorities.” Employees were said to be shocked by the news. It’s believed that if there were issues between the two parties that led to this, it was kept quiet and not talked about at the Stamford headquarters. Since the news wasn’t kept for the weekend (when most companies reveal bad news in the hopes it will be forgotten by Monday), this might suggest that whatever happened was sudden.

One emplyoee said that when the new was announced, all work “ground to a halt.” Another said it was the “most shocking day” they could remember since “that horrible day in 2007” when WWE fired 10% of its employees. A lot of employees were uncertain about the future due to the various projects and plans that were already in progress, including the tiered WWE Network which was expected to launch in the first quarter of this year. Others said that if WWE was able to survive the departures of Linda McMahon and Shane McMahon, it would survive this.

PWInsider also notes there are several theories floating around and none of them are true. These include: Wilson and Barrios trying to push a WWE sale to a larger corporation like FOX or Disney and the shakeup resulting due to the two speaking out against the XFL relaunch. The latter in particular is notable because Wilson was the Vice President of Integrated Marketing for the original XFL. And they likely wouldn’t have done so this close to the relaunch next week.

The two were said to be “well-liked” in WWE and “calming” compared to Vince McMahon. They are likely to received seven-figure severance packages.

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