As noted, WWE issued a memo to talents Monday evening announcing that John Laurinaitis is being placed on “administrative leave” and being replaced by Bruce Prichard as the Interim Head of Talent Relations.
In an update from Fightful Select, the unanimous belief among those in the company was that Laurinaitis “was as good as gone,” with several talents going as far as to “celebrate his impending departure.”
However, the news of Prichard stepping into Laurinaitis’ role didn’t exactly elicit positive reactions backstage. The main issue here, per the talents Fightful spoke to, is that Prichard will now be moonlighting as both Head of Creative and Head of Talent Relations.
Several former and current talents alike chimed in, with one saying “Vince [McMahon] only knows three people,” as a joke to Laurinaitis and Prichard being tasked with roles. Another said that they’d received multiple texts from talents specifying a particular concern they had about Prichard handling both roles. “Now if you want time off, you have to ask the person who effectively is your filter between creative and Vince McMahon,” the anonymous talent was quoted as saying.
With Laurinaitis not present at the “Raw” tapings, several talents were working with the assumption that “they’ll likely never have to do business with him again.” McMahon himself was said to be in a good mood again Monday night, much like at SmackDown last Friday.
Laurinaitis hasn’t been on the road with WWE since the WWE Board of Directors’ investigation was publicly revealed last week. The Board is reportedly investigating McMahon for allegedly paying $3 million in January 2022 to a former WWE paralegal with whom he had an affair. The WSJ report, which cited an anonymous email, also contained an unsettling claim that McMahon passed on the paralegal “like a toy” to Laurinaitis. While the investigation initially focused on McMahon’s settlement with the 41-year-old woman, it has since unearthed several NDA agreements involving misconduct claims made by other former female WWE employees about McMahon and Laurinaitis.
McMahon also stepped down as the CEO & Chairman last week to cooperate with the ongoing investigation of WWE’s Board of Directors. Stephanie McMahon was named as WWE’s Interim CEO & Chairwoman.
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