VINCE MCMAHON, in his role as WWE boss, delivered a defiant message amid an investigation live on Smackdown on Friday night.
McMahon previously resigned from his role after an investigation was launched into allegations he paid an ex-employee $3 million to keep quiet about an affair.
And he appeared live on Smackdown at the start of Friday night’s show in Minneapolis.
McMahon entered the ring in his usual manner, with his signature walk and famous music.
He didn’t directly address the ongoing investigation, but instead offered a short and sweet statement.
McMahon stepped into the ring and said, “As always, it is a privilege to stand before you tonight – the WWE Universe.
“It’s a special privilege to be standing in this ring in Minnesota.
“I’m just here to remind you of the four words we saw, the WWE signature – then, now, forever, together.”
The WWE Boss then exited the ring and made his way backstage after delivering the defiant message.
The McMahon investigation began in April 2022 and found nondisclosure agreements containing allegations by former female WWE employees of misconduct by McMahon and John Laurinaitis, head of talent relations.
WWE released a statement Friday morning confirming that McMahon “voluntarily resigned from his responsibilities.”
His daughter and wrestling legend Triple H’s wife, Stephanie, will serve as interim CEO and chair.
The 45-year-old tweeted: “Pending the conclusion of the investigation into the recent allegations, I am honored to take on the role of interim chair and CEO. I love WWE and all they continue to do to entertain billions around the world.”
Meanwhile, the company statement said: “WWE (NYSE: WWE) and its Board of Directors announced today that a special committee of the Board of Directors is conducting an investigation into the alleged wrongdoing of its Chairman and CEO Vincent McMahon and John Laurinaitis, Head of Talent Relations.
“And that, effective immediately, McMahon has voluntarily stepped down from his responsibilities as CEO and chairman of the board pending the completion of the investigation.
“McMahon will maintain his role and responsibilities regarding WWE’s creative content during this time and remains committed to collaborating on the ongoing review.”
WWE Chief McMahon added, “I have pledged my full cooperation with the Special Committee’s investigation and I will do everything I can to assist the investigation.
“I have also pledged to accept the findings and findings of the investigation, whatever they may be.
“I love this company and am committed to working with the independent directors to strengthen our culture and our company; It is very important to me that we have a safe and cooperative workplace.
“I have committed to doing everything in my power to assist the select committee in completing its work, including arranging for collaboration across the company to support the completion of the investigation and implement its findings.”
The New York-based law firm Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP was hired by the board’s eight independent directors to conduct the investigation, people familiar with the board’s investigation said.
Preliminary findings revealed that McMahon allegedly used personal funds to pay the former female employees who signed the agreements, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Emails from someone claiming to be a friend of the woman who allegedly had the relationship with McMahon were located by the WWE Board of Directors.
The emails alleged that the employee was hired by the company in 2019 as a paralegal at a salary of $100,000 before it was increased to $200,000 after she and McMahon allegedly began their sexual relationship.
It was also claimed McMahon gave her to Laurinaitis, 59, “like a toy”.
In 2021, after moving from the legal department, the former employee became an assistant at Laurinaitis before leaving the company.
“My girlfriend was so scared that she quit after Vince McMahon and attorney Jerry paid her millions of dollars to shut up,” wrote the person who sent the first email.
The email appears to refer to McMahon’s attorney, Jerry McDevitt, who wrote to the Wall Street Journal that the paralegal had not made any allegations of harassment against McMahon and that “WWE did not pay any monies” to the former employee “upon her departure.”
McMahon has been married to Linda McMahon since 1966, with whom he shares two children, Shane and Stephanie.
Linda was an administrator of the Small Business Administration under former President Donald Trump.
McMahon bought Capitol Wrestling Corporation, the holding company that owned what was then the World Wrestling Federation, from his father Vincent J McMahon in 1982.
McMahon expanded the company during the pro wrestling boom of the 1980s and over the years WWE has credited McMahon as key to the company’s success.
https://www.the-sun.com/sport/5588219/vince-mcmahon-wwe-smackdown-statement-investigation-latest/ Vince McMahon makes cryptic statement live on Smackdown after stepping down as CEO and making $3 million in hush money claims