Stephanie McMahon on WWE’s ‘WrestleMania’ & This Year’s Royal Rumble
Stephanie McMahon, chief brand officer of WWE, has been in it to win it since she was a little girl watching WrestleMania from the sidelines. Not even a pandemic could slow her down, witness she and the WWE team — including her father, Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon — moving its signature show from Raymond James Stadium in Tampa to the WWE Performance Center in Orlando sans fans.
Today, she’s looking towards the future, including plans for WrestleMania 37, which she confirms will emanate from its original venue over two nights in April. “I can’t wait to stand in the middle of Raymond James Stadium before the doors are open and really take it all in,” she tells TV Insider. (WrestleMania 38 will take place at AT&T Stadium in Dallas in 2022, and WrestleMania 39 the new SoFi Stadium and Hollywood Park in 2023.)
TV Insider caught up with McMahon to chat about WrestleMania and the 2021 Royal Rumble event, which airs on Sunday, January 31.
You and husband Paul “Triple H” Levesque channeled your inner Ron Burgundy and Veronica Corningstone with WWE’s WrestleMania announcement video. How fun was it to work with him?
Stephanie McMahon: I have pretty good chemistry with that man. The Anchorman stuff was fun because we got to be goofy and play off each other.
You made three announcements.
We wanted to give our fans some hope during these challenging times. A lot of people plan their vacations around WrestleMania because it’s like a big family reunion. People come from over 60 countries and all 50 states.
Do you see WrestleMania 37 as a way to gauge how big events will go over moving forward?
There are a lot of unknowns [because of the pandemic]. We’re very fortunate the Super Bowl [is at] Raymond James Stadium [because] will be a lot of key learning from the NFL and the local organizing committees. We’re still in the planning stages for all of that.
So you’re hosting WrestleMania over two nights again.
We want to maximize the value. The two nights are unique to the times. [We have plans] to go back to one night for future WrestleMania events, but of course we will see what happens this year. We want to deliver the best possible value we can for our fans who are hopefully able to attend and for those watching all around the world.
Where do you see the future of live events going?
Our fans are our secret sauce. When we pivoted to the ThunderDome [WWE’s virtual videoconferencing crowd system], we brought our fans back [virtually] as well as the lights, the lasers, the pyro. There is an intersection of technology and live attendance. It happened faster than I think anyone anticipated, but we are absolutely looking to merge those worlds together the biggest and best way we possibly can. I know that our audience will be very vocal in telling us what they do and don’t like, which is certainly appreciated.
Your children are now teenagers. Do they understand the legacy of WWE and WrestleMania?
WrestleMania was my dad’s brainchild of how to put WWE on the map. You think about the fact my parents mortgaged everything they owned to make it happen. Fast forward to today. We involve our kids in as many activities as possible and share stories of their grandfather and even great grandfather [Vincent J. McMahon].
WrestleMania season begins with the Royal Rumble. With everyone mourning the loss of Pat Patterson, credited creator of the match, does this year have added importance?
It really was his baby. With every legacy business, I think it’s important to remember the history and the people who got you to where you are. We will never forget him.
What are you most looking forward to at the 2021 Royal Rumble?
I’m just anxious to see the stories unfold. Also, the surprises where you know never know who is going to be joining in. There is that excitement of who is first or last. When it gets down to the last six to four competitors and really don’t know what is going to happen. That’s what I’m looking forward to most.
WWE Royal Rumble, January 31, 7/6c, WWE Network and Pay-Per-View
WWE WrestleMania 37, April 10 and 11, WWE Network and Pay-Per-View