According to a report from Axios, Vince McMahon will be a playable character in WWE’s upcoming video game, WWE 2K23. This news comes after the former WWE CEO’s scandal-riddled retirement last year, when The Wall Street Journal unearthed that McMahon paid four women $12 million in “hush money” over the past 16 years, including a reported $3 million payout to a former WWE employee with whom he allegedly had an affair.
According to Axios, McMahon’s character can wrestle with both male and female performers in a myriad of match types. While McMahon’s appearance in a WWE game isn’t uncommon, it is particularly important to note that, in the past, EA Sports removed Manchester United and England striker Mason Greenwood from FIFA 22 after his 2022 arrest on suspicion of rape, sexual assault, assault, and “making threats to kill.”
Not all ex-WWE staff get to stay in the games. Axios notes that wrestler Bray Wyatt wasn’t a part of WWE 2K22’s roster because of his departure from WWE back in 2021. Despite resuming employment with WWE back in October, Wyatt won’t be playable in WWE 2K23 until July as a DLC character, according to Axios. Because games of this nature have long production cycles, it’s unclear whether or not McMahon’s retirement and the recent allegations against him had any weight over whether or not he’d be a playable character.
Kotaku reached out to WWE and 2K Games for comment.
To recap: Last June, McMahon unexpectedly announced his “retirement” from WWE on Twitter while he was under investigation for paying multiple women within the company to keep quiet about alleged sexual affairs. After his retirement, WWE announced that Vince’s daughter, Stephanie McMahon, would serve as the wrestling company’s CEO and chairperson. Shortly after, WWE announced that her husband, Paul “Triple H” Levesque, would be in charge of WWE’s creative storylines.
In early January, WSJ reported that McMahon had returned to WWE as a member of the company’s board of directors, ostensibly to help spearhead a strategic-review process and take advantage of a narrow window—before the media rights for WWE shows Monday Night Raw and Friday Night Smackdown were renegotiated—in which a possible sale of the business could be initiated. A couple of days after Stephanie McMahon announced her resignation as the co-CEO and chairwoman of WWE, her father was unanimously elected chairman of the board.
In a joint statement with WWE, McMahon expounded upon his return:
First, I’d like to express my full support for Stephanie’s personal decision. I’ll forever be grateful that she offered to step in during my absence and I’m truly proud of the job she did co-leading WWE. Stephanie has always been the ultimate ambassador for our company, and her decades of contributions have left an immeasurable impact on our brand.
I’m proud to announce that Nick Khan will serve as WWE CEO. Nick’s business acumen and mastery of the media industry have helped catapult our business to record revenue and profitability. Together, we look forward to working with the Board at this critical moment in time to review our strategic alternatives and maximize value for all WWE shareholders.
WWE 2K23 comes out tomorrow for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and PC.