Stephanie McMahon / Photo credit: WWE

The return to the WWE of Vince McMahon, followed by the departure from the business of his daughter and former co-CEO Stephanie, appears to be part of a process that will involve the sale of the company. As of the present, that sale seems imminent, and is almost certain to involve the Saudi Public Investment Fund, which is building up its stable of assets. For fans of pro wrestling and people whose searches at lead to the occasional wager on an event like the Royal Rumble, there are certainly going to be plenty of questions to answer.

Assuming the sale reaches its conclusion and is agreed with the PIF, what can wrestling fans expect? The WWE was winning some genuine approval from in-the-know grappling aficionados, as the younger McMahon and Paul “Triple H” Levesque had steered what can only be described as uncharacteristically good creative decisions for the promotion. With Stephanie leaving and Levesque staying on, what might the immediate future hold for the world’s biggest pro wrestling promotion – especially under new ownership?

Likely roster changes

To put it in the blandest terms possible, the Public Investment Fund divides opinion. Its purchase of Newcastle United caused significant controversy in England, while the LIV golf tour has seen the sport split into those happy to take the huge fees on offer and those who see it as the worst thing ever to happen to golf. While pro wrestlers aren’t considered to be the most socially conscious group, there may well be some who are displeased enough by the new ownership to be considering their futures right now. The rise of AEW in recent years means that there is a competitive brand to jump to, should WWE talent feel a jump is necessary.

More Crown Jewel PPVs

The relationship between WWE and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is not new. The promotion has been running pay-per-views in Riyadh since 2018, and there is an existing financial partnership already running through 2030 to hold more such events. If the WWE comes under Saudi ownership, we may begin to see visits become more frequent, with the possibility of Crown Jewel becoming more than an annual PPV, or a second concept becoming fixed in the promotion’s calendar. The PIF will certainly want some domestic return on its investment, and that will mean more trips to the Kingdom for Superstars and Divas.

Possibly, not much will change

The situation at Newcastle United hints that the PIF may take a relatively hands-off approach to running WWE. While the Fund bankrolls the soccer club, it has left day-to-day operations in the hands of a UK national who better understands how to appeal to the target audience. The team, which has struggled for consistency and form in recent years, now sits third in the Premier League. The PIF, which will want above all to protect profits and maintain a marketable product, may well simply take a watching brief and consolidate power in the hands of either McMahon Sr or Levesque going forward.