Shares of the WWE, a publicly traded company based in Stamford, Conn., have more than tripled over the last year with the introduction of the subscription network and takeover rumors. Mr. McMahon, 68, controls the company, and his ambitious WWE Network could be his final act in charge, industry watchers say.
“If he changed how pro wrestling and sports entertainment were broadcast forever, I don’t think there’s a better way to go out,” said Brandon Stroud, a wrestling commentator and editor at the sports site With Leather.
In the 1980s, Mr. McMahon formed relationships with cable networks, helping a nascent MTV gain popularity through its wrestling programming. Last year, USA Network was the most-watched prime-time cable network thanks to WWE’s live “Raw” program on Monday nights.
“I think any good entertainment product has to change with the times,” Mr. McMahon said. “You have to have your fingers on the pulse of the marketplace.”