WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon is making the media rounds this week to promote Friday's big WWE SmackDown FOX premiere from the Staples Center in Los Angeles. As seen above, McMahon appeared on FS1's First Things First program earlier today, with hosts Cris Carter, Nick Wright and Jenna Wolfe.
Stephanie was asked what the new FOX partnership means for WWE, and how exciting this time of year is for them. She said the partnership has been years in the making, if not destined to be, and the two companies are a perfect match.
"Words really can't describe how excited we are," Stephanie said. "This is a partnership that I think has been many, many years in the making, if not destined to be. FOX is the best at live television, the best at sports, the best at events, and I like to think that WWE is the same. So, we're, I think, a perfect match. A perfect tag team, if you will."
Carter noted how WWE has done a great job at re-branding, and asked Stephanie how to explain WWE to newcomers to try and generate more interest in Friday's show, and why they should tune in. Stephanie said fans tuning in for the first time will see something they've never seen before, a true spectacle.
"They're going to see something that they've never seen before," she said. "It truly is a spectacle and it is the best combination of sports and entertainment. So, you break down the storytelling piece - it's no different than anything else that's out there. It's protagonist vs. antagonist, with conflict resolution. The only difference is our conflicts are settled inside a 20x20 foot ring, with some of the greatest live action that you can see, in any sport or entertainment property."
When asked about highlights from her in-ring career, Stephanie recalled the "I Quit" match against Vince McMahon at WWE No Mercy 2003. Vince won that match, which took place less than 1 week before her real-life wedding to Triple H. She also named the WrestleMania 34 tag team match in 2018, which saw Ronda Rousey debut with WWE Hall of Famer Kurt Angle for a win over Stephanie and Triple H.
"Oh my goodness. Well, I did have to wrestle my father in what may be the first-ever father - daughter match, six days before my actual wedding," she recalled. "So that's an interesting moment. My mom was so mad at my dad. She said, 'If you give her a black eye, if she gets a black eye before her wedding, I'm going to kill you.' So that was a very interesting moment. But actually it was only about two years ago that I did wrestle 'Rowdy' Ronda Rousey. So it was after the Attitude Era, it was after I had married and had three daughters, and I had the chance to wrestle Ronda in her first-ever match in WWE, and that was a huge moment, with my husband Triple H as my tag team partner, against Kurt Angle and Ronda. And Kurt's an Olympic gold medalist, and Ronda's an Olympic medalist as well. So, I had my work cut out for me. I lost, yeah."
Stephanie and Triple H currently have three daughters together - 13 year old Aurora Rose, 11 year old Murphy Claire, and 9 year old Vaughn Evelyn. Carter asked Stephanie if she would encourage their daughters to get involved with the business once they were of age, and that's when she revealed that Aurora has already started training for an in-ring career one day.
"My oldest daughter has already started training," Stephanie revealed. "And I would encourage them to follow their passion, you know, whatever they believe in, as long as they work hard at it. I believe in a strong work ethic and I believe they can do anything in the world they wanna do, but they're gonna have to believe in themselves and work hard."
Stephanie was also asked about the secret to WWE staying in power, and still being so relevant year after year. She pointed to the fans and how important they are to the company.
"Well again, I think it goes back to that relatability," she said "Just engaging with our audience and not just engaging with our audience, but letting them know their voice matters. What they do impacts what we do, and we wouldn't have a product without them. You know, I could go into our various strategies, whether it's our pop culture strategy or etc., but really it is about just keeping that connection with our audience."
Stephanie also promoted The Rock's big return to TV on Friday's SmackDown FOX premiere, which will also be the SmackDown 20th Anniversary special.
"Absolutely, The Rock is going to be there on Friday, on Friday Night SmackDown," she said. "This Friday, live on FOX at 8pm ET, and he's going to layeth the smacketh down on the entire audience. I can't wait to see what he's going to do."
Finally, Stephanie was asked if she plans on making a return to the ring.
"Well, I can't give that away," she laughed. "Anything can happen in WWE. Mother - daughter tag team? No, it's not... but maybe."
The hosts ended the interview by welcoming Stephanie and WWE to the FOX family. She said it's her privilege to be a part of the family. She also talked about WWE changing the women's division during the Women's Revolution, female Superstars headlining WrestleMania 35, and more during the interview.