The news out of WWE recently came fast and furious, as Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon announced on social media that she would be taking an indefinite leave of absence from her current duties with the company. However, she's expected to return at some point down the road.
McMahon is, of course, WWE's platinum princess as the daughter of the CEO and has been a vital part of the promotion and its operations for over 20 years now. She began doing small tasks and learning every aspect of the business. She would eventually move up the corporate ladder, while also taking on an on-screen role.
Every wrestling fan knows where it all went from there. Her storyline marriage to Triple H ended up becoming a real-life occurrence, and the two basically commanded the airwaves for the better part of a decade. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, they were consolidating power within the organization.
For quite a while, it appeared the the Levesque family would be the ones to take control of World Wrestling Entertainment when Vince McMahon stepped down.
The arrival of Nick Khan in WWE changed everything
Nick Khan is now clearly second in command to only The Chairman himself, and the most likely candidate to take control of the corporate A.V. (after Vince McMahon).
Khan has been streamlining WWE in terms of trimming expenses, and it appears that he is lining up the sports entertainment entity to look as attractive to potential buyers as possible. Disney and NBC Universal have often been mentioned as potential suitors for a sale.
So where does that leave Stephanie McMahon now?
It appears that both she and her husband are pulling back from a lot of their duties. Whether they were strong-armed to do so is anyone's guess, but it certainly looks as if the family is being slowly phased out as Khan's vision for the future grows.
Part of this may be due to Triple H's huge health scare recently, or it might just be sour grapes on their part. There's no way of knowing, but it's pretty clear that their roles are being reduced.
One thing is for sure, however. Stephanie is, and will always be, a very polarizing figure in the history of WWE. Some people will look at her and see the crazy angles she's done, the amount of TV time she's received, and the nepotism involved with her even having a job with WWE, and use that to throw verbal bombs in her direction.
These, among many other things, are fair criticisms. At the same time, Stephanie McMahon has done a lot of work for charity and brought notice to events that her father probably wasn't even aware existed. Her dedication to Conner's Cure, Susan G. Komen, and many other worthy causes is incredibly noble and should be commended.
Cynics may call it a public relations move, and some of it likely is. But that doesn't matter to the kids or their families involved. Just the fact that she even takes the time and effort means more to them than anything that anything you could sling mud at.
She also got involved with the women's division and at least had some partial influence on them getting more airtime and longer matches. This has been verified by several current and former WWE performers.
While the naysayers will point out that she was late to the game on that issue, at least she got involved. If she hadn't, we likely would have never seen a women's main event at WrestleMania 35. Or anywhere else... for that matter.
For all the shots she's taken, Stephanie McMahon still shines at certain times in her WWE career. She may play a villain on TV, but it's doubtful that she's one in real life.
Of course, she has her faults; we all do. However, dismissing her as simply the boss' daughter or a 'waste of TV time' would be minimizing all of her accomplishments over the years. And there are plenty. In fact, if you can get past all the vitriol, you can probably see them all.
What do you believe has been Stephanie McMahon's greatest achievement in her time as an executive and performer with WWE? What was her worst failure? Please share your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below.