As the Chief Brand Officer, Stephanie McMahon is undoubtedly a very important part of WWE. And yeah, her dad owns the whole thing, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t work incredibly hard every day to prove herself and grow the company into a powerful worldwide brand. Simply said, when AdWeek announced that she was one of the Most Powerful Women In Sports (alongside such heavy-hitters as FS1’s Erin Andrews, Chicago Bears owner Virginia Halas McCaskey and Barstool Sports CEO Erika Nardini), it was a well-deserved honor.
However, her AdWeek profile may have accidentally revealed some of WWE’s future booking plans. Here’s the text from her online profile:
“Divas” are dead, and “superstars” are born, thanks to McMahon, who retired the old-school name for WWE’s women grapplers and replaced it with the same title superstars given to the sport’s male competitors. McMahon, daughter of CEO Vince McMahon, has spent two decades in nearly every facet of the WWE, both on-air and in its business operations, helping make WrestleMania 33 a $14.5 million-grossing, attendance-breaking event at the Orlando Citrus Bowl this spring (besting a 2015 concert by the Rolling Stones).
Impressive, right? Well, take a look at the version of her profile from the June 26, 2017, print edition of AdWeek:
Notice anything different? Here’s the key difference:
She also created the first-ever WWE women’s tournament, taking place this summer, with a championship belt every bit as spectacular as the men’s prize.
Say whaaaat? As someone who worked in print journalism for more than a decade, I can tell you that it is commonplace for text to be cut from a print profile and included on an online profile due to space constraints, but it is extremely rare to be the other way around, unless the printed text in question was inflammatory or caused great concern with the interview subject.
There is probably an extremely minimal overlap between AdWeek subscribers and WWE fans, but it’s a lot easier for a random Wreddit user to read an online profile of Stephanie and discover a juicy tidbit such as this, potentially scooping WWE’s future plans.
But what exactly are those future plans? Obviously, WWE already has three women’s championships, one for each brand: Raw, Smackdown Live and NXT. In fact, all three championships were the focus of each show’s main event this week — an historic first for WWE. It’s clear McMahon was speaking about the upcoming Mae Young Classic, a women’s tournament taking place on the WWE Network later this year. There is also historical precedent with winners of WWE Network-exclusive tournaments earning championship titles — TJ Perkins won the Cruiserweight Classic and was crowned the Cruiserweight Champion, and Tyler Bate became the inaugural WWE U.K. Champion the same way. But clearly, all three shows already have a women’s champion. So what do McMahon’s since-redacted remarks indicate?
From this point onward, this is all speculatory, but I think there are two possible scenarios, both of which tie into the Mae Young Classic’s recently announced broadcast schedule. The first slate of MYC episodes are slated to drop on Monday, August 28 — the day after SummerSlam weekend concludes, a weekend which will very likely feature Asuka defending her NXT Women’s Championship at TakeOver: Brooklyn III. It’s entirely possible that she will win that match and get called up to the main roster that Monday, thus vacating her NXT championship, making the Mae Young Classic a tournament to decide a new NXT Women’s Champion, similar to how Paige’s original call-up to the main roster was handled.
A second scenario plays off the fact that the MYC finale episode will air live on the WWE Network at 10 p.m. ET on Tuesday, September 12 — which is currently 205 Live’s timeslot. What that means for the future of 205 Live is unclear, but it’s entirely possible a new, Network-exclusive women’s wrestling show may be created, with the MYC winner serving as its inaugural champion.
Or hell, maybe the AdWeek interviewer just misunderstood Stephanie McMahon’s remarks. But I’ve been in this business long enough to know the difference between a simple mistake and a requested retraction.
We have reached out to WWE for comment and will update accordingly.