The Grap Wrap: Vince McMahon Embroiled In 'Hush Money' Scandal

Plus Sasha Banks released and Jeff Hardy arrested
17:00, 19 Jun 2022

It’s been a bumper week of wrestling news, with the more controversial side of the squared circle being exposed in a number of unbelievable incidents. It says a lot about the intensity and insanity of this week’s news cycle that the return of Brock Lesnar for the first time since WrestleMania was not even in the top three biggest talking points.

Here is everything you need to know about a historic week in the world of professional wrestling.

McMahon Hit With Hush Money Scandal

Vince McMahon has temporarily stepped down from his duties as WWE Chairman and CEO due to a board investigation into misconduct. McMahon is alleged to have paid a former staff member $3 million dollars to cover up an affair. A series of anonymous emails sent to the board claim that McMahon began the affair with a paralegal in the company’s employ, and at the onset of these relations doubled her salary from $100,000 to $200,000.

The emails also allege WWE talent relations general manager John Laurinaitis engaged in a sexual relationship with the woman. Laurinaitis, a former wrestler known by the ring name Johnny Ace, is also understood to be facing a misconduct investigation from the WWE board of directors.

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Outlining the seriousness of the allegations, McMahon ceded control of the company to his daughter, Stephanie McMahon for the duration of the investigation. Stephanie stepped away from her role as Chief Brand Officer in May of this year, expressing a desire to take some time away from the company. The 45-year-old now finds herself at the centre of the biggest controversy WWE has faced since the death of Chris Benoit under the company’s employ in 2007. 

In a stunning twist to this tale, Vince McMahon appeared on Friday’s edition of SmackDown. He was introduced in his “Mr McMahon” character, coming out to his ‘No Chance In Hell’ theme song. McMahon gave a brief speech emphasising the company’s “Then, Now, Forever, Together” catchphrase. The appearance was a bizarre footnote to the whole proceedings, but the story looks unlikely to end there.

Jeff Hardy Arrested For DUI

AEW star Jeff Hardy was arrested for DUI according to an arrest report from Volusia County Florida Corrections. The former WWE and Impact world champion was held on three charges, DUI drugs/alcohol on a third offence within ten years, driving with a suspended licence and violation restrictions on his licence. 

Substance abuse issues have cast a shadow over Hardy’s legendary career, with the star previously charged with drug trafficking, public intoxication and DUI. WarnerMedia have reportedly instructed AEW to withdraw Hardy from any promotion for their television programming going forward. 

WWE Reportedly Release Sasha Banks

The Sasha Banks saga appears to be coming to an end with Wrestling Inc reporting that ‘The Boss’ has been released from her WWE contract. The Mandalorian star walked out of the company in May over creative differences, alongside her tag team partner Naomi. The team were suspended indefinitely, but it looks like Banks won’t be back.

There has been no official confirmation as of press time from within WWE, but it is widely understood that the former multi-time champion is done with the company. It is unknown whether she has a non-compete clause that will keep her on the sidelines. Impact Wrestling and AEW will be options for her if she chooses to stay in the business, while her Star Wars work could possibly open Hollywood doors should she take that route.

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