Vince McMahon Lawsuit Could Reportedly Change Plans For Major Royal Rumble Return

The fallout from the sex trafficking lawsuit against Vince McMahon will very likely have far-reaching consequences, and according to a new report, those consequences could include changes to WWE's plans for Saturday's Royal Rumble event.

Fightful Select is reporting that, with the onset of WrestleMania season, Brock Lesnar was set to make his return to WWE TV sooner rather than later, and that Royal Rumble had been discussed as a potential date. Fightful didn't confirm that Lesnar was set to be a participant in the men's Royal Rumble match, but given the nature of the match, it would be the obvious way to bring him back. However, Fightful's sources indicated that plans for Lesnar's return could be changed due to his likely role in the McMahon lawsuit, which alleges that McMahon shared pornographic images of the plaintiff, former WWE employee Janel Grant, with "a world-famous athlete and former UFC Heavyweight Champion with whom WWE was actively trying to sign to a new contract (and ultimately did sign that contract)." The Wall Street Journal's report on the lawsuit claimed that "people familiar with the matter" had identified Lesnar as the athlete in question.

Having initially decided to retire from in-ring competition following his loss to Drew McIntyre at WrestleMania 36, Lesnar returned at SummerSlam 2021, a timeline that matches that of the unnamed former UFC Heavyweight Champion described in Grant's lawsuit. Grant alleges that McMahon used the promise of sexual encounters with her as a means of enticing the athlete to sign a new contract with WWE, though circumstances conspired to prevent any such encounter from happening. This incident represents just three pages of the 67-page lawsuit that accuses McMahon and former WWE employee John Laurinaitis of "physical and emotional abuse, sexual assault and trafficking." McMahon has denied the allegations.