Vince McMahon appeared on WWE’s Friday Night Smackdown just days after it was reported the company had launched an investigation that he agreed to pay hush money to a former employee over an alleged affair.
Many expected which McMahon we would get — Vince, or “Mr. McMahon.” That question was answered the moment “No Chance in Hell” blared over the speakers of the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, after the opening signature. McMahon made his signature strut to the ring, greeted by a mix of cheers and boos. But then, he grabbed a microphone and the anticipation began.
But as it would turn out, McMahon’s time in the squared circle was nearly as short as Santino Marella’s time in the 2009 Royal Rumble. After soaking in the crowd’s reaction, McMahon nearly recited WWE’s tagline of “Then, Now, Forever,” before welcoming everyone to Smackdown.
And that was it. That was the extent of McMahon’s appearance Friday night after the company spent the majority of the day hyping up his scheduled appearance at 8 p.m. ET. McMahon appeared before the WWE Universe and the world, but failed to address the investigation. OutKick has reached out to FOX Sports for comment on the segment involving McMahon.
Per the Wall Street Journal, McMahon, 76, reportedly agreed to a secret $3 million settlement with the former employee, who was hired as a paralegal in 2019. The report says the investigation began in April and has uncovered multiple nondisclosure agreements involving misconduct claims, not only against McMahon, but head of talent relations John Laurinaitis as well.
McMahon stepped down from his role of CEO and chairman of WWE Friday. He will, however, “retain his role and responsibilities related to WWE’s creative content during this period,” WWE said.
In a statement obtained by ESPN, WWE said that a “Special Committee of the Board is conducting an investigation into alleged misconduct by its Chairman and CEO Vincent McMahon and John Laurinaitis, head of talent relations, and that, effective immediately, McMahon has voluntarily stepped back from his responsibilities as CEO and Chairman of the Board until the conclusion of the investigation.”
McMahon’s daughter, Stephanie, will serve as interim CEO and chairwoman. She had announced last month that she was taking a leave of absence from her responsibilities as WWE’s chief brand officer.
“I love this company and am committed to working with the Independent Directors to strengthen our culture and our Company; it is extremely important to me that we have a safe and collaborative workplace,” Stephanie McMahon said in a statement. “I have committed to doing everything in my power to help the Special Committee complete its work, including marshaling the cooperation of the entire company to assist in the completion of the investigation and to implement its findings.”
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