VINCE McMAHON made another WWE appearance amid the ongoing investigation over claims he paid an ex-employee $3million to stay quiet about an affair.
McMahon returned on RAW last Monday night to announce that John Cena will be coming back to the show next week in a brief statement.
This marked the American businessman's second WWE appearance since the probe began as he was also part of SmackDown on Friday when he praised the WWE Universe.
The board of directors launched the investigation in April, finding non-disclosure agreements involving claims made by former female WWE employees of misconduct by McMahon and head of talent relations John Laurinaitis.
Preliminary findings revealed that the company's long-running chairman allegedly used personal funds to pay the former female employees who signed the agreements, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The 76-year-old has "voluntarily stepped back from his responsibilities" with the company but will continue to participate in the promotion's creative content.
The ex-WWE Champion's daughter Stephanie has taken over as interim chairwoman and CEO in the meantime.
According to Wrestling Inc, backstage reaction to McMahon's SmackDown appearance ranged from “confused” to “disappointed” to “enraged”.
One top WWE talent reportedly saw it as “tone-deaf and embarrassing”.
They claimed, “It was his way of putting himself on screen as a power move to lessen the impact of an investigation’s findings.”
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Emails from a person claiming to be a friend of the woman who had the alleged relationship with McMahon were found by the WWE board.
The emails claimed that the employee was hired by the promotion as a paralegal in 2019 with a salary of $100,000 before it was bumped up to $200,000 after she and McMahon had allegedly begun their sexual relationship.
It was also claimed that the chairman "gave her like a toy" to Laurinaitis.
In 2021, the former employee became an assistant to the head of talent relations after moving from the legal department before she left the company.
That person wrote: "My friend was so scared she quit after Vince McMahon and lawyer Jerry paid her millions of dollars to shut up."
The email appears to be referring to McMahon's attorney, Jerry McDevitt, who wrote to the Wall Street Journal that the paralegal hadn't made any claims of harassment against McMahon and that "WWE did not pay any monies" to the former employee "on her departure."