One of the biggest questions facing the WWE is: who is the next in line? By the looks of it, despite his age of 70, Vince looks like he can last forever, as there appears to be no end in sight. Despite this though, the reality is that one day someone will have to take over the day to day operations of the company. This is a job that certainly isn’t easy, but McMahon has managed to embrace it till this very day. Whoever’s next in line certainly has their hands full.
The list of possible replacements varies from son to daughter to wife to son-in-law to someone completely out of the wrestling business. Who do you think is best suited for the job? Here is a list of 10 potential candidates to replace Vince McMahon. Let us know your thoughts and comments on who you’d like to see run the company’s day to day operations one day.
10) Dana White
If the WWE is to be ran by someone outside of the business, who better to run the show than the president of the UFC Dana White. Still only 46 years of age, White took the UFC to another level since taking over in his new role. He is regarded as the Vince McMahon of the UFC. The two have actually clashed more times than many people actually know about. According to Dana, the two have had many battles behind the scenes. Despite the troubled relationship, White respects the WWE and how operations are run day to day. He does however disagree with a couple of things, like the WWE starting their own network and putting PPVs on it. White discussed in an interview that he would never even consider doing that for the UFC. Knowing Vince, never say never, we’ve seen McMahon make deals in the past with people that tried taking him out of business. Can Dana White possibly be the next in line?
9) Linda McMahon
Looking at the situation realistically, Linda would most probably be the next in line to take over. Linda is the president and CEO of the company. Linda married Vince following her high school graduation, she was only 17 at the time. The two have been married for 50 years now. After giving birth to Stephanie and Shane, Linda joined the wrestling business with her husband. Her expertise was initially in product and merchandising. She later became the co-chief executive. Linda still has a major say in the company’s day to day operations.
8) Kevin Dunn
Kevin Dunn has a lot of responsibilities with the WWE, some even believe he is Vince McMahon’s number two. Dunn is the head producer for the WWE, he has also been McMahon’s right hand man since the very first WrestleMania. Kevin is also an Executive Vice President and in 2008, Dunn joined the WWE’s board of directors. Many within the WWE believe that there is no one else more suited for the position than Kevin Dunn.
7) Paul Heyman
Paul Heyman has done it all in the wrestling business; from producer, writer, marketer, promoter and wrestling personality. Heyman has also been acknowledged by the Wrestling Observers Newsletter several times winning awards for best booker, best on interviews and best non wrestler. Paul also has a long history with Vince McMahon. The two created an alliance together back in the 90s while Heyman was running ECW. The two still hold a close relationship today, and Heyman still provides a helping hand with the company’s creative.
6) John Laurinaitis
John worked as a former executive for WCW. After WCW was bought out, Laurinaitis was hired as a road agent. He was later promoted to Director of Talent Relations. This role was later given to Stephanie McMahon and Triple H. In 2012, John was relieved of his backstage duties and returned to his original role with the company as a senior road agent. At one point John was considered a big asset to the company, but now with his role getting smaller and smaller his future seems very uncertain. A promotion may seem highly unlikely today with so much backstage talent hungry to work their way up in the company.
5) Canyon Ceman
You may not be very familiar with this name, but Canyon Ceman is the WWE’s Senior Director of Talent Development. He spends most of his time down at the NXT’s Performance Center. Ceman was featured on the WWE Network show Breaking Ground. The show demonstrates the hard realities of being involved in the pro wrestling business down in NXT. Ceman is shown on numerous occasions promoting wrestlers with new contract terms or even sometimes releasing wrestlers. His job certainly isn’t easy. Some believe that Ceman will work his way up over time and through added experience. Ceman has been working under his role of Senior Director of Talent Development since March of 2012.
4) Ryan Ward
Ryan Ward is responsible for revolutionizing the WWE’s product down in NXT. Ward is Hunter’s right hand man and the lead writer for the developmental show. Ward’s style has certainly changed the game, and many believe the NXT product is better than the main WWE show because of Ward’s contributions. It also helps that Ryan is the sole writer for the show. Ward started as an assistant writer for the WWE in 2009, and he worked his way up to lead writer in just a couple of years. Backstage personnel believe that Ryan can help to revolutionize the wrestling business when he is brought up to the main roster.
3) Shane McMahon
His return was certainly a big indication of where the business is today, and that’s in need of a new face to run things. Shane received a thunderous ovation from the Detroit crowd after making his long awaited return. The son of Vince McMahon made his return to the company for the first time since departing in early 2010. Shane left the company and became the CEO for You on Demand, a PPV service in China. In 2013 however, Shane stepped down as CEO, but he is still a Vice Chairman for the company. Many wrestling fans hope Shane’s stay will be permanent, and the feeling backstage is also to have Shane stay permanently. Wrestlers feel as though Shane is one of the boys and easy to work with as opposed to Vince and Stephanie. Shane certainly is the popular vote to replace Vince across the board.
2) Stephanie McMahon
Stephanie is looked at as the favorite to replace Vince once his time in the front office is up. Stephanie is currently the Chief Branding Officer for the WWE. She entered the wrestling business in 1998 working as an Account Executive for the WWE sales office in New York. She later began writing for the company. In 2007, she was promoted to the Executive Vice President of creative. Her new role as chief brand officer requires her to enhance the WWE’s brand through advertisers, business partners and investors. Stephanie is regarded as a lead ambassador for the WWE. Some within the company believe that she is currently being groomed to take over one day.
1) Triple H
Many people in and out of the wrestling business believe Triple H is next in line to take control of the company, and some also believe this transition is already taking place as we speak. McMahon has been grooming Hunter for quite some time now, he also gave The Game a platform to show his abilities with the developmental system that is NXT. Hunter is currently billed as the Executive Vice President of Talent, Live Events and Creative for the WWE. Is Hunter next in line? The signs certainly indicate that it may in fact be “time to play the game” for a long time.