A new report has revealed the backstage reaction to Vince McMahon’s appearance on SmackDown, with one top WWE star describing it as “tone deaf” and “embarrassing.”
A defiant Vince McMahon opened the June 17th episode of SmackDown to address the WWE Universe. The highly-anticipated appearance was McMahon’s first time in front of the cameras since WWE announced he was stepping down from his duties as CEO and Chairman of the Board.
The move came two days after it the Wall Street Journal broke the news that WWE’s Board of Directors are investigating McMahon amid claims he had paid a former employee $3 million as part of a cover-up of an intimate affair.
The report went on to say that WWE’s Board had become aware of historical payments made relating to other NDAs signed by ex-female employees that relate to misconduct allegations made against Vince McMahon and WWE’s Head of Talent Relations, John Laurinaitis.
McMahon entered the SmackDown arena to a huge ovation, appearing happy and self-assured. He told the audience that it was always a privilege to stand before the fans, especially in Minnesota, before discussing WWE’s ‘Then, Now Forever’ video package. McMahon claimed that the most important part of the clip was the word “together”, before welcoming everyone to the show and throwing the microphone down.
While the appearance left many fans scratching their heads, Fightful Select has shed some light on the reaction among WWE Superstars. The report explained that one figure said the segment went as planned, while McMahon had been in a good mood at the taping.
However, a “top talent” blasted the promo, saying it was “tone deaf and embarrassing” and indicated that they thought it was just a power move to lessen the impact of the investigation.
Additionally, a “former top talent” who is no longer with the company, was 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.”
Another figure who works with McMahon, and was backstage during the promo, was said to be “enraged” as they watched it unfold.
The news that Vince McMahon was stepping down was accompanied by the announcement that Stephanie McMahon would be stepping in as interim CEO and interim Chairwoman.
In a statement on WWE’s corporate website, Vince McMahon pledged to cooperate with the investigation and accept any findings.