Vince McMahon opened tonight’s WWE SmackDown from the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, but made no mention of how he’s stepped down as Chairman & CEO while the WWE Board of Directors investigates him and WWE Talent Relations Senior Vice President John Laurinaitis for alleged misconduct, or how Stephanie McMahon has returned to work as Interim CEO & Chairwoman after her leave of absence.
Michael Cole and Pat McAfee welcomed us to SmackDown Live. As the “No Chance” theme began to play, Vince rushed to the ring, cheered on by the crowd.
“Vince enters the ring to a cheer from the audience. Vince says it’s an honour to be in front of the WWE Universe, and it’s an honour to be in Minnesota. He mentions the WWE signature statement, “Then, Now, Forever, Together,” and emphasises the importance of the “together” component. He then extends a warm greeting to everyone at SmackDown. As the music resumes, Vince tosses the mic and exits the ring, slapping hands with several ringside fans. “We cut to the SmackDown opening video,” says the announcer.
As previously reported, the WWE Board of Directors said on Wednesday that Vince is being investigated for a “hidden $3 million settlement” he paid to a former WWE paralegal recruited in 2019. For his part, John Laurinaitis is being probed, and the Board is also looking into other cases involving former female employees. Stephanie will return from her leave of absence today to serve as Interim CEO and Interim Chairwoman as Vince willingly relinquishes his Chairman & CEO corporate responsibilities while maintaining his creative obligations.