Did Linda McMahon’s Daughter Commit Perjury in Her Congressional Testimony?

Originally published here on July 9 under the headline, “Now Don’t You Go Accusing Linda McMahon’s Daughter of Lying to Congress …” See also “Concussions? I Don’t Remember No Concussions,” July 10, https://wrestlingbabylon.wordpress.com/2010/07/10/concussions-i-dont-remember-no-concussions-2/, and “More Concussions, You Say? I Don’t Remember No Concussions,” July 12, https://wrestlingbabylon.wordpress.com/2010/07/12/more-concussions-you-say-i-don%E2%80%99t-remember-no-concussions/.

On December 14, 2007, Stephanie McMahon Levesque was interviewed by staff investigators of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. The session was among several involving top executives and contractors of World Wrestling Entertainment – including Stephanie’s father Vince McMahon and mother Linda McMahon. The investigation had been prompted by the June 2007 double murder/suicide of WWE star Chris Benoit.

True to family form, Linda played the buttoned-down corporate CEO in her interview, while Vince played the royal asshole in his. Stephanie, for her part, gave grossly misleading testimony about the concussions sustained by their company’s performers.

For example:

Q  Okay.   Have  ringside  doctors  or  treating  physicians  ever  diagnosed  a  wrestler  with  a concussion  and  reported  this  to  WWE?

A  That  I  am  aware  of,  no.   There  was  a  doctor  who  issued  a  warning  to  us,  you  know,  that  this  person  could  develop  a  concussion  but  currently  didn’t  have  signs  of  it,  and  that  person  never  wound  up  developing  one.

Q  Okay.   Are  you  aware  of  any  times  where  wrestlers  have  I  guess  selfreported ‐‐ where  wrestlers  have  selfreported  to  you  that  they  received  concussions  and  this  information  came  from  the  wrestler  rather  than  a  treating  doctor?

A  Not  that  I  am  aware  of,  but  I  am  not  saying  that  that  never  happened.

Q  Right.

A  Just  not  involved  me.

Q  Okay.   All  right.   Are  you  aware  of  any  incident  where  a  wrestler  in  a  match  received  a  concussion?

A  No.

Q  Does  WWE  have  a  policy  for  time  off  if  talent  suffers  a  concussion?

A  Yes.   We  go  with  the  recommendation  of  the  treating  physician.

Q  Okay.   How  about  in  cases  where  talent  has  suffered  multiple  concussions?

A  Well,  in  the  case ‐‐ the  only  case  I  can  think  of,  this  person  was ‐‐ actually,  I  think  he  is  still  under  contract  to  us.   And  he  suffered  a  number  of  concussions  and  has  wound  up,  I  think,  forming  a  foundation  to  look  into  concussions.   But  clearly  he  no  longer  performed  for  us.   We  are  not  going  to  put  anybody  in  danger.

Q  Okay.   You  have  indicated  that  you  are  not  aware  of  a  case  where  a  wrestler  has  received  a  concussion.   Do  you  believe  that  WWE  wrestlers  are  at  risk  for  concussions  because  of  the  nature  of  their  work?

A  I  think,  under  certain  circumstances,  yes.

Q  Can  you  describe  those  circumstances?

A  Well,  inherently  any  move  can  be  done  incorrectly.   You  really  are  giving  your  life  to  the  person  that  you  are  in  the  ring  with.   It  is  much  more  than  guys  just  punching  each  other.   Every  move,  even  a  simple  body  slam  could  go  wrong,  and  you  could  land  on  your  head.   That,  in  and  of  itself,  is  very,  you  know,  it  is  a  very  skilled  move  to  do.   You  wouldn’t  think  it  just  watching  it,  but  it  is.   So,  I  mean,  I  would  think  if  anything  went  wrong,  certainly  you  would  be  at  risk  for  concussion.

Q  Would  a  chair  shot  to  the  head  or  a  pile  driver  on  an  unpadded  surface,  would  those  present  concussion  risks?

A  Not ‐‐ I  mean,  a  pile  driver,  no,  because  your  head never  actually  hits.   And  a  chair  shot,  there  is  a  particular  way  to  hit  someone  with  a  chair.   And  again,  if  you  screwed  up  and  hit  someone  wrong,  then  sure.   Or  if  you  slipped  on  a  pile  driver  and  let  somebody  go,  absolutely.

Q  Okay.

A  But  the  moves  as  they  are  supposed  to  be  performed,  I  would  say,  no.

Q  Okay.

A  And  mistakes  do  happen,  certainly,  as  in  life.

Q  So  if  you  had  an  unskilled  wrestler  and  there  was  some  concern  that ‐‐ you  have  described,  I  think,  Hulk  Hogan  as  not  a  very  good  wrestler.

A  Right.   Which  I  didn’t  really  realize  I  was  on  the  record  and  wasn’t  thinking  about  that.   But  yes,  he ‐‐

There’s much more in the full 138-page transcript – viewable at http://muchnick.net/stephanietranscript.pdf – and I’ll get to the related topics in the next posts.

As Mike Benoit, Chris’s father, notes, Stephanie’s mush-mouthed testimony is especially interesting in light of the remembrance this week, on the Cageside Seats blog, of Chavo Guerrero’s terrifying 2004 concussion. Stephanie was among those who came to the ring to check on Guerrero.

“It appears,” Mike Benoit says with artful understatement, “that the whole family has selective memory.”

***

Thirteen months after Stephanie McMahon Levesque’s Oversight and Government Reform Committee interview, Congressman Henry Waxman punted the transcript, along with hundreds of other pages of background material, to the White House, on a Friday afternoon during the Bush-Obama interregnum, and called it a day. Waxman never explained why he sat on the information for more than a year and never held public hearings.

The same month Connecticut Governor Jodi Rell appointed Linda McMahon to the state Board of Education, and her political career was off and running.

And this week Stephanie’s husband, Paul “Triple H” Levesque, had surgery to repair a torn tendon in his arm.

Not that we’re accusing him of being a steroid user. Or his wife of lying to Congress.

Irv Muchnick

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