WWE’s Vince McMahon opens ‘SmackDown Live’ after retiring

WWE CEO Vince McMahon opens SmackDown Live after stepping down

Vince McMahon receives a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame March 14, 2008 in Los Angeles. Picture Perfect/Shutterstock

Still in the ring. hours after Vince McMahon confirmed he was stepping down as CEO and Chairman of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), he was in high spirits to open up Smack Down Live Show.

“It’s a privilege, as always, to be standing here before you, the WWE Universe, tonight,” said McMahon, 76, during the Friday, June 17 telecast of the wrestling special. “I’m just here to remind you of the four words we just saw in what we call our WWE signature. Those four words are: then, now, forever, and the most important word is together. Welcome to ‘SmackDown!’”

While the North Carolina native soon left the stage at the start of the show, he made headlines hours earlier when the company announced he was stepping down from his corporate appearance. The media organization’s board of directors noted in a statement Friday that McMahon had “voluntarily” decided to step down from his position as chief executive officer and board chairman while the company investigates his conduct. (According to a Wall Street Journal report earlier this month.)

“I have pledged my full cooperation with the Special Committee’s investigation and will do everything I can to assist in the investigation,” the former wrestler said in a statement at the time. “I have also pledged to accept the findings and findings of the investigation, whatever they may be.”

WWE named McMahon’s daughter, Stephanie McMahonin his absence as interim CEO and Chairman.

“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, 45, wrote in a statement on Friday. “I have committed to doing everything in my power to help the select committee complete its work, including the collaboration of the entire company to support the completion of the investigation and implement its findings.”

Vince ran WWE for decades after inheriting the World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF) from his father Vincent McMahon and turning it into a successful franchise. He is credited with changing the name of the WWWF to WWE in 2002.

“Once you’ve built something, you want it to grow and thrive, with or without a family member,” the Alpha Entertainment founder said during an appearance on The Pat McAfee Show in March, referring to his wife Linda McMahonSon Shane McMahon and daughter Stephanie, all of whom work for WWE. “Business is best for everyone. You have to look at both family members and employees. You have to do the right thing for the business.”

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