WWE CEO Vince McMahon was interviewed by Variety to discuss WWE's recent success on Wall Street. The new WWE television deals were discussed, and it was noted that WWE will be averaging $465 million a year over five-years with the new Fox and NBCUniversal deals once they kick in this fall. That is 3.6 times the previous deal with NBCUniversal, which was valued at $130 million per year.
During the story, which was entitled "Ready to rumble: With a billion-dollar deal in its pocket, Vince McMahon's WWE has become a Wall Street darling, despite past baggage and future rivals", John Oliver's segment on HBO Last Week Tonight in late March was referenced. Oliver had criticized the company for not having an offseason to help wrestlers recover from their tough schedules. While McMahon did not discuss a potential offseason, he claimed that talent were allowed to take time off without repercussions.
"Anybody who wants time off can get time off. That's easy," McMahon said. "In addition to that, it's easy to weave a talent in and out of a storyline. If they get injured, you're not expecting that. Or if they have a family matter. Our characters are real people with real problems.
"It's a revolving situation where this talent will work these dates, that talent will work those dates."
WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross was also interviewed for the story. Ross said that while an offseason might not be necessary, the company should make more of an effort to give talent more time off.
"Any company that is a 52-week-a-year operation should be evaluating the number of dates that their talent works," Ross said. "You can give them the time off they need without closing down. One of the charms of buying that brand is that it's never a repeat. It's always first run. And it's live. If you take away those elements, it loses a little bit of its luster."
The current regular schedule for the RAW roster is live events from Friday through Sunday, followed by television on Monday. The SmackDown roster works live events from Saturday through Monday with television on Tuesday. When the company is overseas, like with the current tour in Europe, talent can be traveling and wrestling for as many as 10 nights in a row.
Current top WWE talent like Roman Reigns have stated that a change to the schedule could help talent.
"We do it the way we do it, and I'm never opposed to trying something new. This formula has worked and Sports Entertainment is a 'what have you done for me lately' industry," Reigns told TalkSport in March. "Unfortunately, we don't have an off-season like most sports, or other kinds of forms of entertainment or competition, but, you know, I think if we could make it work. It would give a great benefit to our performers and our fans as well. It would definitely give our performers another couple of months, if not a full quarter, to rest and recover, not only just from a physical standpoint, but creatively.
"When you go year-round, we're always trying to evolve, trying to grow as far as our stories and our character goes and when you're doing it over and over and over it can be tough," Reigns continued. "I think that's what makes WWE and its superstars so tough and it's an accomplishment to get to where we are. Only we can handle this and we've proved it, so it's just a part of the gig. I don't think it's something that shouldn't be looked into, but if the schedule stays the same I'm gonna be the guy that'll run it."