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JOHN LAURINAITIS TERMINATED BY WWE

By Mike Johnson on 2022-08-08 14:00:00

Shortly after PWInsider.com posted our story about Vince McMahon and John Laurinaitis, several WWE sources reached out to confirm Laurinaitis has been officially, quietly, let go by the company.    We are told that the termination happened within the last week or so and it was, for obvious reasons, being kept very quiet beyond a very small circle.   We are working to confirm when the departure took place but every source, to a person, made it clear Laurinaitis was let go.

Laurinaitis had been with WWE from March 2001 on after their acquisition of WCW.  During his time performing for All Japan Pro Wrestling as a wrestler, Laurinaitis became well respected for his ability to put together great finishes, leading to Eric Bischoff recruiting him for that role in WCW towards the end of that promotion's existence.  When WWE purchased the remnants of World Championship Wrestling in 2001, Laurinaitis moved to the company. 

By June 2001, Laurinaitis was elevated into the role of Director of Talent Relations, although at the time some of the job's responsibilities, including payoffs, were still handled by Jim Ross.   By March 2009, Laurinaitis became the Executive Vice President of Talent Relations.   His duties shifted when Paul Levesque moved into that side of the company with Laurinaitis reporting to Levesque as the Senior Vice President of Talent Operations. 

In 2012, Laurinaitus was demoted to working as one of the company's Head Producers.  It was never made clear at the time why that shift happened, but it was revealed earlier this year by The Wall Street Journal that the timing of that demotion lines up with an alleged $1.5 million nondisclosure agreement reached in 2012 with an employee involving misconduct claims against Laurinaitis.

Laurinaitis was returned to his former position, now titled General Manager, Talent, returning to head up the company's Talent Relations division in March 2021. He also regularly appeared on WWE reality series Total Bellas and had a run as a heel on screen executive as well that saw him return to the ring in 2012 against John Cena and other babyfaces.

Laurinaitis' exit from the company was all but certain after The Wall Street Journal reported that the WWE Board of Directors were investigating an alleged $3 Million payment made by Vince McMahon in January 2022 to a former WWE Employee who had a sexual relationship with him.

The initial WSJ article noted:

"The board’s investigation, which began in April, has unearthed other, older nondisclosure agreements involving claims by former female WWE employees of misconduct by Mr. McMahon and one of his top executives, John Laurinaitis, the head of talent relations at WWE, the people said. The Journal couldn’t determine how many previous agreements were being scrutinized.

The board’s outside counsel was still collecting information about the other NDAs this week but has determined that the payments totaled in the millions of dollars, the people said."

The article states that the Board of Directors learned of the allegations when they received an email from a friend of the former employee in March.  The email claimed the employee was hired with a $100,000 salary that doubled once she began a relationship with McMahon.  The WSJ report noted, "The email to the board also alleged that Mr. McMahon “gave her like a toy” to Mr. Laurinaitis."

That was the beginning of the end for Laurinaitis, who went on immediate administrative leave.   To date, he has not publicly commented on the allegations.

WWE has not officially announced Laurinaitis' departure.  PWInsider is also told that the company's Board of Directors investigation is still ongoing at this time.  

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