When the WWE comes through Chicago, there is a lot of buzz and anxiety that is felt not only from the roster but from the viewing audience. The city has been labeled as one of the hottest crowds in the world and Monday night was no difference. Before WWE Raw hit the airwaves Stephanie McMahon was kind enough to talk with me about the Susan G. Komen Foundation, Wrestlemania in Chicago and her character on television.
This is the 3rd year the WWE has partnered with the Susan G Komen Foundation. What have you seen from the WWE audience that makes the partnership great for both, your company and the foundation?
Originally we started with John Cena and then we expanded our partnership that included our all of our superstars. This year the theme is entitled “Courage, Conquer, Cure”. We are using all of our social media outlets to push the foundation as well as all of our TV outlets. The WWE is turning pink for the next 4 weeks and that includes the ring ramp, the middle ring rope as well as the rink skirt. Total Divas will also be branded “pink” for the 4 episodes as well as the WWE Network.
Kicking off this partnership in Chicago had to line up perfectly with the thought process of you and the other business partners when wanting to announce the Susan G. Komen partnership?
Chicago is a core of the WWE business and is a part of our DNA. Wrestlemania 2 was here in this building but was also available on closed circuit television.
You can say I grew up with Chicago through my years in the company and coming back here is always special. I am honored to be here and very excited to partner with Susan G. Komen in front of very these fans, which is pretty special.
You have expanded the t-shirt line this year to include more divas and superstars in the pink campaign. Have you had other roster members come up to you and speak with you about getting involved with not only the pink campaign but other charitable opportunities?
Absolutely. It’s interesting because our superstars and divas aren’t contractually obligated to participate in any community service. Unfortunately breast cancer effects everyone and that does include our roster. We have had several superstars come to us and let us know that they want to wear pink.
This year when fans go to WWEShop.com they will have the option to donate 1, 5, or 10 dollars to the foundation. Plus, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the pink merchandise will be donated to Komen for research and other services.
For many years your father (Vince McMahon) was the main heel of the WWE. With “The Authority” now in the picture it seems that you have slowly transitioned into that role. What is it like for you to become that character?
I wouldn’t say I am taking over for my Dad. My husband and I are involved in a fun storyline where we represent the “evil owners”. Playing the bad guy is so much fun for me and I’m not sure why. But it’s very impactful when I do the community service such as the anti-bully campaign. I have the opportunity to tell these kids about entertainment versus reality. Are whole goal is to give these kids tools to stand up to bullying.
It’s funny when I get to show footage during a speaking engagement such as Hijack Raw that happened in Chicago. I will often to show footage that features my character in villainous light and people laugh. The speech I’m giving is in my executive voice and me as a person. Seeing me in character is a complete opposite take of who I am outside of the ring. It’s fun and enjoyable and at the end of the day that’s what it’s all about.
With the NXT you have a great development system to help combat main roster injuries when they happen. How have you seen the roster been able to adjust quickly to somebody who is expected to miss an extended period of time?
In terms of the creative writing process, injuries will happen. We just have to prepare for those types of unforeseen incidents. NXT is absolutely one level of our developmental systems. That is really our foundation. The NXT slogan is “The Future Is Now” and we have to prepare the next superstars and divas for that call they could get at any time. The plan also is to have several talent at many levels ready to move up when an injury occurs.
Chicago has been a host to WrestleMania multiple times. Could another WrestleMania be in the future for either the Allstate Arena or down the street inside Soldier Field?
I would say we would love to have that happen again. Like I said before these fans are the most energetic, engaged and passionate fans and Chicago is a huge part of the WWE history.
Nothing can be announced officially, but we would love to come back for another WrestleMania.
Looking back at your years in the WWE, what has been your personal favorite moment when stepping out into the Allstate Arena or back then known as the Rosemont Horizon?
I would have to say most recently, since it’s fresh in mind is when Brie Bella slapped me and said she quit. It was such a huge moment because it was part of a big storyline and it was the first time my character was taken down a peg or two.
It’s truly an honor to be a part of the show and to have that opportunity to help elevate Brie Bella is what it’s all about.