Several hot topics broke this week in the world of professional wrestling, but perhaps none greater than allegations made against Vince McMahon and John Laurinaitis.
As noted, the 76-year-old stepped down as Chairman and CEO of WWE this week after allegations were made surrounding an affair he had with a former employee. It was claimed that Vince raised the individual’s salary during the time the misconduct was going on, and then allegedly supplied hush-money payments to her in an attempt to keep the situation quiet. The investigation has reportedly uncovered other non-disclosure agreements by former WWE employees, claiming misconduct by not only McMahon but also Head of Talent Relations, John Laurinaitis.
Vince’s daughter, Stephanie McMahon, is taking over as interim Chairwoman and CEO of WWE while her father steps down from the role. Vince is still influencing creative decisions and attending shows with the company. The investigations are still ongoing at this time.
Despite the increased media attention, Vince McMahon kicked off last night’s episode of WWE “SmackDown” and kept his intro short and sweet. He didn’t refer to the allegations whatsoever and instead focused on the WWE signature intro that plays at the start of each show. He reminded the audience watching of the words, “Then. Now. Forever. And most importantly, together.” He then wrapped up the brief segment by saying, “Welcome to SmackDown”, tossed the mic aside, and exited the ring.
A new report from “Fightful Select” gives some insight into the variety of reactions people had backstage after the segment concluded. They reportedly ranged from “confused” to “disappointed” to “enraged”. One top talent apparently reached out directly and opined it was “tone-deaf and embarrassing,” and claimed, “It was his way of putting himself on screen as a power move to lessen the impact of an investigation’s findings.”
A former top WWE star responded by saying, “I’m happy it didn’t last long, so I didn’t have to sit through whatever bulls*it he was going to say. But it shows that he has no accountability, especially when something is directly his fault.”
Another individual that works with Vince McMahon and was backstage while it unfolded was “enraged” by the segment and “incredulous” watching it unfold.
It was also noted that the SmackDown segment wasn’t originally featured on the internal script at 5:30 p.m. ET or in the rundown of the show, which was released at 7:50 p.m. Apparently, the segment was planned differently Friday morning from how it actually unfolded on television. We noted how Vince was in a “great mood” backstage before the show began and the term “business as usual” was a term regularly used throughout the night.
Stay tuned for additional updates on Vince McMahon.
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