WSJ Reporters Give Insight Into Their Blockbuster Vince McMahon Stories

Over the last several months, Wall Street Journal reporters Joe Palazzolo and Ted Mann have uncovered several stories alleging that former WWE CEO and chairman Vince McMahon paid more than $12 million to several women, over the course of 16 years, to keep several affairs and/or cases of sexual misconduct under wraps. The ramifications of the allegations have already been felt by WWE, with Netflix reportedly dropping an upcoming docuseries focused on McMahon following Palazzolo and Mann's reporting.

In an appearance on Busted Open Radio Monday morning, Palazzolo and Mann took Busted Open co-hosts Dave LaGreca and Bully Ray through their journey in covering these stories so far, including how it all began.

"Sources told us, it was in April, that WWE's board was investigating this $3 million agreement with the woman who worked for McMahon," Palazzolo said. "It basically took from April until we published our story to firm all that up, get additional sources and understand what it was the board was doing."

The duo also agreed on the most surprising revelation they found in their reporting to date.

"The fact that there was one that was for $7.5 million was fairly eye-popping," Mann said. "That's a figure, in the murky world of NDAs, clearly suggests a big secret being kept. And that was one of the red flags that signaled to us that we had to get to the bottom of what that was, what it was for."

"Finding out that there was that $7.5 million agreement was really surprising," Palazzolo agreed. "It shocked us. They're pretty horrifying, frankly, to coerce a sex act and then basically drive someone out of the company because they refused further advances, as this woman has alleged. That's all pretty terrible behavior."

When did Palazzolo and Mann find out about the allegations of McMahon's $7.5 million payout?

"We found out about it after the first story was published," Palazzolo said. "While we were reporting on the first story, we heard allusions to other agreements that had happened. So there were sort of women who were on our radar as potentially having been in these agreements. And then, we just continued to report that out. There might've been a call list of 100 people that we might've bothered at this point. We learned of the agreement from a source last month. And then we continued to report it out."

Later, Palozzalo and Mann were asked to give an indication as to where their information regarding these stories were coming from.

"We're not going to talk about sourcing, flat out," Mann said. "That's not confirming or denying that we talked to anyone. And I'm sorry to be evasive, but where we are with the reporting, and obviously you know from reading these stories, these were obviously anonymously sourced, there's a lot of things we have to be wary of right now.

"We do know where the board first heard about this. These anonymous emails began arriving at the end of March to members of the board of directors. Someone claiming to be a friend of the woman who's the subject of the first NDA that we reported on. They laid out all of the basics of what we confirmed and worded in that first story. Those emails were essentially saying 'I'm not asking for money, I'm going to make this public.' So we do know that the first the board heard of this was the anonymous emailer saying 'I know about this and it's bad.' It was basically saying McMahon had taken advantage of this woman."

If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Busted Open Radio and provide a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription