Last month, Vince McMahon resigned from his position at TKO Group after a lawsuit from former WWE employee Janel Grant accused him of sex trafficking, sexual assault, and more. WWE and John Laurinaitis are also named as defendants in the lawsuit.
Laurinaitis’ attorney later issued a statement that emphasized that his client was a victim of McMahon and pointed to instances where the former WWE Chairman exerted power and control over both Grant and Laurinaitis.
On a recent edition of his “83 Weeks” podcast, Eric Bischoff weighed in on the scandal.
You can check out the highlights from the podcast below:
On John Laurinaitis claiming he’s the victim: “I was not surprised because what else is Johnny Laurinaitis going to do? Try as best he can to salvage what’s left of his reputation. And I think beyond even the reputational aspect of this, to protect himself financially, because he’s at risk here. He’s named in that lawsuit. So it didn’t surprise me. I think my first reaction though, because you and I had a conversation the morning that this announcement came out. Because I’ve been thinking the night before about just how things tend to work, especially when the feds are involved, which they clearly are. When I say the feds, the SEC, Securities and Exchange Commission, and I’ve also read — and I don’t know if it’s true — the FBI is involved. But in a case like this, particularly if we’re talking about potential crimes. And you know, trafficking has been part of this, and you’ve got interstate commerce if there was any, and I would assume there probably was, in some respects, in some cases. It changes the stakes dramatically. And the thing that I kind of thought about that evening when I went to bed before I called you the next morning was, ‘I wonder if Johnny Laurinaitis and Vince McMahon has the same attorney? Are they represented by the same firm?’ Because that would suggest to me that, ‘Okay, they’re going to be on the same page. They’re coordinating their defense.’ That makes sense in many respects.
“But they’re not. Johnny is clearly an attorney outside of WWE as an attorney and outside of Vince McMahon’s attorneys. He’s got his own attorney, which opens up the door potentially for the feds to make a deal with Johnny to provide evidence. That complicates things dramatically. Changes the dynamic. Very important piece. So then I — you know, you and I had a conversation and, ‘Okay, well, we’ll see where this falls.’ And then I got home that evening when I was done doing whatever I was doing that day. I went, ‘Oh, I’m just going to look Johnny’s attorney up.’ To see what I can learn about the attorney in the firm that’s representing Johnny. See what kind of cases they’d been involved in, see whatever the reputation was. And lo and behold, if — now again, disclaimer here folks, because I couldn’t be wrong about this. There may be other Edward Brennans that are attorneys in Tampa. But the one I found as a family law attorney, he’s a divorce attorney. And this is not anything remotely close to what a family law attorney or a divorce attorney would have any experience dealing with. It’s like going to a chiropractor for heart surgery. It’s just, wow, that shocked me. To be honest, that was shocking.”
On Vince McMahon being investigated by the feds and signing NDA without WWE’s knowledge: “You know really, in a childlike way, I wish this would just be over with and whatever the ramifications are, those who are involved end up on the bad side of that equation, just get what they deserve, get it over with, and move on. I would just wish it would go away, but it’s not. It’s not going to go away. And I’m not suggesting that I wish it would go away so people that were involved are able to get away from their responsibilities. That’s not what I’m saying. What I am saying though is this — because it is such a dark cloud, and it is going to affect the business of the wrestling business. I talk often about my disappointment in certain situations — you know, TNA for example, not that they’re remotely connected to this. And I’m talking about the former TNA, not the current TNA management. But you know, I get very frustrated and animated sometimes talking about missed opportunities, and things that happen. I’ve been very critical with regard to AEW about the pizza cutter and blood and the excessive violence and blood, and reliance upon that. Because in my opinion, that has a negative impact on the business of the wrestling business. Because it turns advertisers and sponsors against the category, or validates their pre-existing bias against the property, the genre.
“This is the same thing, man. This has the ability to be, and maybe even more so than in other examples that I gave you. Because WWE is the 800-pound gorilla. It is the wrestling industry as far as the vast majority of the country believes. You know, you’ve got a small percentage of the audience that are AEW fans, and they follow TNA and they following NWA. But if you polled 100 people out of a Walmart or out of a Macy’s or Nordstrom, take your pick and asked them, ‘Do you know anything about wrestling? And who was the owner of the wrestling company you’re familiar with?’ And it’s going to be Vince McMahon and WWE. That just is what it is. It’s not a criticism or a knock, it’s just reality. And because of their success, because they’re high profile, because of the $5 billion deal that Netflix just did. Because this company was acquired by Endeavor for $9 billion, they are — not the 800 pound, they’re the only gorilla as far as the average wrestling fan or people on the business side of things recognize. And because of their success, they cast a much greater, darker in this case, shadow. And that concerns me because I want the business to be healthy. I want my grandson Whalen to watch wrestling in its current form in 15 years. And maybe have a DVD or something and say ‘Oh,. my grandpa used to do that too.’ I want — not for an ego thing, but I just want the business to grow. And this is a complicated matter that could have a really negative impact on this. I hope that’s not the case.”