WWE Chairman Vince McMahon spoke about Ronda Rousey during today's WWE Q1 2019 earnings call, and praised her for the job she did while with the company. WWE Co-President George Barrios had answered an investor question on female Superstars leaving the company. Vince spoke up after Barrios and said Rousey had done an extraordinary job for WWE, noting that they knew she would be taking time off.
"Just speaking of Ronda, Ronda has done extraordinary job for us. Her challenge was to bring the entire women's division up and as you know, that was our main event at this year's WrestleMania involving Ronda. So Ronda's task that she chose and of course it's great for us is to build that whole division, have more visibility on that division, and to make stars and to make stars that, now, you have stories where even after Ronda leaves, (inaudible) Ronda was going to leave for a contract. So when you look at what happened in WrestleMania, and with Becky Lynch and Charlotte and others, the entire division, the focal point and the stories that are coming out of that, Ronda did an awesome job, she did an awesome job," Vince said. (h/t to Fool.com for the transcript.)
The topic of Superstars needing time away was brought up several times during the call. WWE's earnings press release issued this morning featured comments from Vince where he blamed "Superstar absences" for the drop in revenue after WWE reported a net loss of $8.4 million. Vince added that he expects the numbers to improve now that key talents are returning.
"During the quarter, we continued to execute our strategy and achieved targeted financial results. While engagement metrics over the past two quarters were impacted by Superstar absences, we believe they will improve as our talent return and we launch our new season following a successful WrestleMania. We remain excited about the future, particularly with our debut on Fox in October," Vince said in the earnings press release.
During the call, Barrios answered another investor question on concern over talent. Barrios said WWE stands by their 35 year track record of creating talent from generation to generation, and they feel really good about where the talent base is right now.
"As we look forward and your point about talent coming and talent leaving, I think the broad historical context is we've got a 35 year history of creating talent and we've done an incredible job transitioning from one generation to the next," Barrios said. "So we feel confident that we've developed the muscle around attracting, developing, retaining talent as well as crafting the story lines to make them shine. So we've done it in the past, feel confident we'll do it in the future and as Vince mentioned, we feel really good about where the talent base is."
Barrios later reiterated how important talent is to the company when asked what's driving the current pressure on subscribers.
"Like Vince said in his remarks, I don't want to belabor the point on the talent, but ultimately it's the core of what we do and it will impact everything, both when it's going great and when there is a little bit of softness," Barrios said.