A current top WWE star has branded Vince McMahon’s appearance on SmackDown “tone deaf” and “embarrassing.”
Vince McMahon opened the June 17th episode of Friday Night SmackDown where he addressed the WWE Universe. The appearance had been highly anticipated after McMahon stepped down from his duties as WWE CEO and Chairman of the Board.
The announcement came two days after it emerged that WWE’s Board of Directors had been investigating McMahon over allegations that he paid $3 million to a former employee with whom he had previously had an affair.
It was also noted that that the board’s investigation unearthed older non-disclosure agreements that surround claims of misconduct made by other former female WWE employees that involve both Vince McMahon and WWE’s Head of Talent Relations, John Laurinaitis.
On SmackDown, McMahon opened the show, entering to a huge ovation, appearing confident and smiling all of the way. Microphone in hand he explained that it was always a privilege to stand before the fans, especially in Minnesota, before referencing WWE’s “Then, Now Forever” video package. McMahon said that the most important part of the clip was the word together, before welcoming everyone to the show.
While the appearance left many fans stunned, a new report from Fightful Select has offered an insight into the reaction backstage. The report notes that one figure behind the curtain suggested the segment did appear as planned, while McMahon had been in a good mood at the taping.
However, one “top talent” described the promo as “tone deaf and embarrassing” indicating that they thought it was nothing more than a power move to lessen the impact of the investigation.
In addition a “former top talent” who is no longer with the company, was also less than impressed.
“I’m happy it didn’t last long, so I didn’t have to sit through whatever bullshit he was going to say. But it shows that he has no accountability, especially when something is directly his fault.”
In closing, someone who works with McMahon, and was backstage during the promo, was said to be “enraged” watching everything unfold.
In addition to the news that Vince McMahon was stepping down, it was announced that Stephanie McMahon would be stepping in as interim CEO and interim Chairwoman.
In the statement on WWE’s corporate website, Vince McMahon pledged to cooperate with the investigation and accept any findings.