Unveiling Allegations: WWE SVP Shawn Michaels and Vince McMahon Face Lawsuit

Unveiling Allegations: WWE SVP Shawn Michaels and Vince McMahon Face Lawsuit

WWE Talent Development Head, Shawn Michaels, Addresses Press on McMahon Lawsuit

On February 1, 2024, Shawn Michaels, WWE’s Senior Vice President of Talent Development Creative, engaged with the media, delving into various queries during the pre-NXT Vengeance Day press call. Among the topics discussed, the recent lawsuit filed against Vince McMahon on January 25 took center stage. The legal action includes allegations of sexual trafficking, abuse, and more. Below are the questions he was asked, and the responses he gave (questions in bold, responses in regular font).

“In NXT, there’s obviously some impressionable and possibly vulnerable talent that are there – are there protections in place for those that feel that they may be taken advantage of, or put in vulnerable positions, and if not, is that something you’d like to see done better?”

“I think you can always improve on that, but look, it’s an incredibly sad situation. As everybody knows, I have absolutely nothing to do – and gladly so – with the corporate stuff that goes on

“We try to focus here in NXT on the young men and women that come through these doors. And we do – I think we foster a safe and supportive atmosphere down here. They reinstalled and upgraded I think in 2022 some of those regulations and whatnot.

“But look, we’re always conscious of that. And one thing that I do, it’s incredibly important to support the talent and give them a safe working environment. I like to think we do that, absolutely.

“But look, we will always continue to try to be better about that. And I’m very glad to say that I think we do a really fantastic job down here.”

“Have you had any conversations with any of the talent or employees of NXT regarding the situation with Vince and how you guys are gonna go about combatting that going forward as far as promoting a positive working environment, especially as pertains to women?”

“Obviously everyone is aware of the situation and understands it. And like I said, it is, it’s an incredibly sad situation.

“I’ve mentioned it to you all in the past – that I take all of the youth that come through here incredibly seriously, because this is a tough line of work regardless of what’s going on. Just leaving home and coming here and pursuing your dreams is a big thing that we take incredibly seriously here.

“We understand young men and women that come through our doors are impressionable. So we absolutely, certainly encourage the openness, and again, telling everyone, please tell us the truth and let us know how we can help. That’s something that, again, has been here for a long time and we continue to do our best to improve on that, because it is, it’s one of the most important things to me is to be able to ask those questions you’re afraid to ask. And so, we certainly empower them to do that, and give them the opportunity to do that.

“Right now, I feel like everybody, and I’m honestly not trying to spin it, coming off of Royal Rumble weekend, and even going into Vengeance Day, I think the talent in the WWE and in NXT as a whole are extremely excited about the future. And look, I know we are as well. And we’re looking obviously to capitalize that at Vengeance Day.

“Tough situation like I said, but I gotta tell you, from a talent standpoint, and even from our standpoint, we feel like the windows of heaven have opened up and we’re ready to go forward.”

“Obviously as a woman in the media, as a woman fan, we want nothing but the best for the women in WWE. And I think you guys have done a great job presenting them that way. Do you guys have things in place to make sure they have a safe space to come to for you or someone in the back, if this was to come up again?”

“We absolutely have all those policies in place. As I say, we upgraded them in 2022. I know that they’re gonna be looking at continuing to improve those. But we absolutely do.

“We have numerous people that are… our medical team has outreach to go to, especially outside of the Performance Center. Because we do understand that I can look at a talent and my head writer and our coaches, as they do, we can tell them to tell us the truth or to express to us what’s going on. But as you know, they may not feel comfortable doing that. So yes, we also provide help outside of here as well and have people that we work with to, again, get them in a – what we feel like – is a complete objective environment and not even associated with NXT or the WWE in that respect.

“We do, it’s something, especially here – we want everybody to be focused on what it is they’re doing and not have any struggles going forward. I like to think we really do a great job down here, and I think that’s seen on a regular basis.”

“I wanted to follow up on one of the comments you made earlier about upgrading the policies, the conduct policies in 2022. I was  wondering if you  could maybe highlight what some of those changes were compared to the old policies, and do you anticipate upgrading them again in light of the allegations and lawsuit against Vince McMahon?”

“I will be forthcoming and honest with you. I could not sit there and give you – I could corporately memorize I guess – and if you like, I will find it and read it off to you, but… They were upgraded in 2022, the specifics of that I will honestly tell you that I don’t know and couldn’t rattle them off for you if I tried.

“I can tell you that I have a daughter that comes here every week, and I will do anything I can to take care of the men and women that come through these doors. I want this to be an environment where they can feel comfortable and just allow them to focus on the job and the dream that they’ve entrusted us of trying to provide for them. When everything’s said and done, that’s what we are going to do here. I will do anything in my power to make sure that happens.

“I won’t lie, I couldn’t care less what anybody puts down on a piece of paper. And not to imply that I don’t care about it, it’s just, I feel like if it’s done genuinely and sincerely, looking out for our talent, nothing is more important than that.

“As long as everybody in this building understands that, and if they don’t, the consequences are what they are. They’re gonna be gone.

“But from my standpoint, I want all of our talent treated with the respect that they deserve and that they’ve earned.”

“There were allegations made by Brutus Beefcake two years ago about you and Marty Jannetty and your behavior when you were younger men on the road with women, and the H-bombs (halcion) we heard about on Dark Side of the Ring were mentioned. I just wanted to give you a chance to address the allegations and let us know what you think.”

“I will say this. I’ve never shied away from the stupid stuff I did in the past. If you go back and ask Brutus Beefcake, he’ll tell you (he’s) never seen any of that actually happen. Wrestling stories. He’s also retracted it after saying it.

“I can say this, and I’ve had a lot of struggles in my life, and I don’t know how to say this without sounding shameful, but being with a lady was not something Shawn Michaels had a difficult time doing. I’ve never been in a situation where it was not consensual in any way, shape or form. I’ve never taken advantage of someone in that respect.

“Those things are done, for two reasons – and I’ve had a lot of counseling in my lifetime. And the reason you do that stuff is because you dislike women, or you have power issues. Shawn Michaels did not have those. He had insecurity issues and he had problems feeling like he wasn’t enough. That’s why you go to drugs and downers. The other stuff is built on power and disrespect for women, which is something I’ve never had.

“So any accusations against me as far as non-consensual time with a woman simply is not true.

“And that’s why they’ve never come up in anything other than – and I don’t mean it to be mean to you guys – but it’s never come up in anything other than wrestling stories and, I don’t know what to say, back in the day it was ‘dirt sheets’. And those things start from guys spinning a lot of stories that were not true.”

Final comments:

“Thank you guys. I will say this. For me, I won’t lie to you, this is the toughest (press call) I’ve ever done. I understand and appreciate y’all doing your job and you have to do that.

“I won’t lie to you, I’m not corporately trained, guys. Never have been. I hope I was as clear and did as well as I could on that.

“I’ll be honest, I won’t lie to you, I want us to get back to the fun ones. I’m enjoying this business, that’s why I do it, but again, I do appreciate you guys have gotta do your job. And it’s not fair for me to get mad at you about that. I appreciate you guys, once again.

“I hope after this we can talk about Vengeance Day, hope we can focus on the future of NXT and the incredibly talented young men and women that are coming up in this industry. I think there are tremendous times ahead if everyone will let us.

“It’s not to say that it wasn’t rough, but man, the future is so bright. There’s so much talent. And I know people want to bring the best in what we do to the WWE Universe.

“So I hope we’re able to put the past behind us. And again, not discounting any of the pain that has gone on with that.

“But for us, as the WWE, to move forward. I dunno, again, just a new era, and embrace it and make the most of it, and make it be everything you all want it to be. We’re here to do that and look forward to the challenge.”

WWE Chief Content Officer Paul Levesque previously commented on the situation in an in-person press conference on January 27 after the Royal Rumble event.

In that press conference, Levesque first replied:

“I’m gonna do exactly what you would expect me to do here. We just had an amazing week. Just got a 10-year $5 billion Netflix deal. Rock joining our Board. We just sold out the Royal Rumble, put 48,000 people in Tropicana Field. I choose to focus on the positive, and yes there’s a negative, but I wanna focus on that and just keep it to that.”

When he was asked about the situation again, he responded:

“I did not (read the lawsuit). I think Cody mentioned it, that we all found out real-time when you were. And that’s the truth.

“I’ll go back to what I said before – this is an amazing week for us, and I just, at this point, I don’t even wanna get bogged down in the negatives of it.

“I just wanna focus on the positives and where we’re going, and we’re at the most exciting time of the year for us. We’re at the most exciting point to me business-wise, I think that we’ve ever had. I think Cody might have said – I don’t remember exactly how he said it – but the best positioning of this company since the Attitude Era. I’ve been through that era, I understand what it’s like. I feel like we are in the middle of something that, while we might not be able to put our finger on it right now, 5-10 years from now we’re gonna be saying, ‘Wow, what a time that was’. I wanna focus on that.”

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