There have been several reports this year on the backstage tension in WWE between Shane McMahon, and both his sister Stephanie and her husband Triple H. Bret Hart said on his podcast that even he picked up on the tension between them during a backstage visit in May. Hart noted that he feels Vince “loves” the real-life drama between his children.
A new article by Vice has shed some more light on what originally sparked the backstage tension between Shane and Stephanie. Vice claims WWE confirmed to them that there was a “surprise meeting” prior to the launch of NXT when Vince was “on edge” about declining ratings. The 2012 meeting was held at a WWE production office away from the corporate headquarters, and Shane McMahon showed up with his friend, writer James Frey. During the meeting, Shane proposed that he take over the creative team and writers’ room, and Frey and his team join as consultants.
According to the article, when Stephanie found out about the meeting “she went white in the face.” Vice’s source also said that “[Triple H] freaked out” at the news. Vice’s source says at that time, Stephanie and Triple H felt that the company was “theirs” and that Shane was threatening them.
Vice’s article also mentions WWE Executive VP Kevin Dunn, who is one person Stephanie and Triple H don’t have authority over. Dunn is close with Shane, and the article speculates that Dunn would likely push for Shane taking the creative reigns. Dunn is the second highest-paid person in WWE behind Vince, with a 2016 base salary of $909,560.
Vince ended up declining Shane’s offer. A source told Vice that the WWE Chairman still makes the final say on everything that happens in the company, saying that it’s “an insular company run by Vince McMahon.”