With “WWE Smackdown” set to air on Fox in roughly 3 hours, Vince McMahon has announced he’s retiring from all duties in WWE.
Wrestling Inc. reached out to talent backstage, and there is reportedly “mass confusion” in Boston, MA, tonight. Not only does the announcement come mere hours before “SmackDown,” WWE is eight days away from WWE Summerslam, the premium live event set to take place in Nashville, TN, and one of the tentpole events of the WWE calendar. There is no word on what McMahon’s retirement will mean for creative plans heading into tonight’s show, as well as the week leading up to the PPV.
One WWE Hall of Famer simply replied “Holy f*ck!” to the news that Vince McMahon is stepping down in the wake of an investigation by WWE’s board of directors into a series of hush money payments allegedly paid out to former female employees to cover up harassment, misconduct, and abuse that not only involved McMahon, but also former Head of Talent Relations John Laurinaitis. Laurinaitis has been relieved of his duties.
McMahon had initially appeared to “no-sell” the investigations backstage, as the 77-year-old remained at the helm of WWE’s creative direction despite stepping away from corporate duties. Vince’s daughter, Stephanie McMahon, took over as interim CEO & chairwoman. McMahon himself recently appeared on episodes of “WWE Smackdown” and “WWE Raw,” even introducing John Cena during the Cenation leader’s 20th anniversary celebration, despite being mired in the controversy of the investigations. A WWE spokesperson has confirmed that Vince is also stepping away from his creative duties, and the retirement will be in full.
Numerous law firms have been investigating WWE since news of the investigation broke, making sure that WWE’s handling of the situation had not put them in violation of securities law and their duties to shareholders.
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