News & Recap From WWE Shareholders Meeting; Vince McMahon

Thanks to Dave Meltzer from the Wrestling Observer for the following on WWE’s shareholders meeting:

Vince McMahon spoke for 7-8 minutes off the cuff. He said that the only two things in life that are guaranteed are death and taxes. He said there are actually three things because he guarantees that one year from now, the company will be in way better shape than it is now. He said there were two reasons, the film department and TV licensing, why revenue and profits were down. He noted that they, by choice, kept two hours (NXT & Superstars) off the air and thus didn’t get any U.S. rights fees for those two hours. He claimed ratings for Raw were up 3% and Smackdown up 15%, I know you can look up the numbers and compare them to last year and come up with different results. Vince was said to have looked really old without makeup, his voice was hoarse and he looked tired.

CFO George Barrios talked about the financials, saying that 95% of what was wrong this past year was the film division and TV licensing. He said the film division would be changing. They will be doing PG-13 and money movies, more action, crime, sci-fi and thriller movies. He claimed for for every WWE fan who watches a WWE movie, there are four people who aren’t WWE fans who watch WWE movies. Hey, he said that, explaining how the movies expand the audience.

They said that the new movies would be 50/50 partnerships with existing movie studios and they would be doing more movies that either had no wrestlers in them, or the wrestlers would have light support roles.

No talk about The Rock, Brock Lesnar, storylines, or anything.

They took questions for about 45 minutes.

When asked why they think they could pull off a network when Oprah couldn’t, Vince said that Oprah was about her TV show and she didn’t put her TV show on her network. Why would anyone care about her network if she doesn’t put her show on? He said the start date of the network was delayed because they didn’t want to make the mistakes Oprah made. He said he couldn’t tell you when the network would launch because we don’t know for sure, hopefully by the end of the year, that’s the plan.

When asked if they were dropping Classics on Demand, Vince said “Most likely.”

When asked about PPVs moving to the network, he said they may or may not be.

When asked about developmental, they said a big announcement would be coming soon.

When asked if they would switch from PG programming on television, Vince said “Absolutely not.”

The falling stock price wasn’t talked about much, but Vince said that if he had the money, he’d be buying shares at this price. Actually, he does have the money. He said the price was down because of the uncertainty about the network.

In the comedy part of the show, an older guy asked Vince if he had received his letter of a few weeks ago suggesting he work with or emulate other web sites, in particular mentioning and also if they’d work with Go Fight Live. Yes, if I was WWE, I’d be putting my big shows on Go Fight Live as well.

Another person asked, since they always say WrestleMania is their Super Bowl, to follow the lead of the Super Bowl and put it on free television and make money from the ad revenue. “Why would we do that? That makes no sense to our bottom line to do that.” Vince noted they just came off their most successful money-making WrestleMania and said that the Super Bowl would move to PPV if they were allowed to do so.

They also said they would be announcing the new star of “The Marine” shortly.