WWE: WTF Went Wrong?

Mark Madden

Vince McMahonWWE is in a lot of trouble. If you can’t see that, you just don’t want to.

WWE lost $340 million Friday – in one day! – as its stock price dipped by over 40 percent. It’s easy to see why that happened.

*WWE’s new television contract with NBC won’t bring in double or triple the revenue of the company’s previous TV deal, as had been hoped. TV revenue will go up somewhere between 25-50 percent. Not bad, but not as promised.

*The WWE Network doesn’t yet have 700,000 subscribers. WWE needs to get 700,000 more subscribers to offset the loss of PPV revenue. WWE probably won’t get that. WWE Network is for hardcore fans. How many of those are there?

Things could change. But, right now, WWE Network is a failure. The television deal, which is finalized, is a disappointment, period. And the product isn’t great.

WWE F’d up. If there’s a silver lining, I can’t see it.

Neither can WWE investors.

WWE promised bigger numbers for the Network. WWE promised a much bigger TV deal. When you’re a public company, you can’t make empty promises. The financial world isn’t a work. It’s not fake wrestling.

Investors want answers. Lemelson Capital has called for the removal of WWE’s executive team or the sale of WWE. Lemelson cited “material misrepresentations by the company about both performance and operating profit model of its WWE Network, which the company has wrongly labeled a ‘home run.’”

In other words, WWE lied.

Lemelson said that WWE could lose $45-52m in 2014.

At least this answers the question of how wrestlers’ PPV bonuses will be replaced: They won’t be.

Monday, WWE is holding a conference call with investors. Participating are Vince McMahon and George Barrios, WWE’s Chief Strategy and Financial Officer.

This call is a real test for McMahon. He’d better pass.

Is something wrong with McMahon? That may be the real story.

McMahon was supposed to feud with Triple H and Stephanie over control of the company. That was the planned angle leading to WrestleMania. Why was that angle pulled? Why is McMahon never featured on live TV anymore?

Backstage sources say McMahon has been very detached recently, including at WrestleMania. When has McMahon ever been described as “detached”? McMahon has reportedly been involved in odd verbal exchanges lately.

McMahon is 68. He’s led the wrestling life his entire life.

I have no answers. But right now, there are plenty of questions about McMahon.

Follow Mark on Twitter: @MarkMaddenX

Have a news tip? Attended an event and want to send a live report? Submit it now!