“Mr. McMahon,” the in-ring executive character, kept things short.
“It’s a privilege, as always, to be in front of you here tonight,” McMahon told the crowd in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
McMahon told the audience that he was there simply to remind the crowd of the four words that make up the “WWE signature.”
“Those four words are ‘then’, ‘now’, ‘forever’, and the most important word is ‘together’,” he said. “Welcome to SmackDown!”
McMahon then left the ring as his theme song, “No Chance in Hell”, played.
His daughter Stephanie McMahon will serve as interim CEO and president, the company said in a statement Friday.
As for McMahon’s in-ring character, he’s not going anywhere just yet. McMahon will retain his role regarding WWE Creative Content and will appear as his character during matches as the investigation unfolds.
The separation agreement was reportedly reached in January between McMahon and the anonymous former employee. This prevented the employee, who was hired as a paralegal, “from discussing her relationship with Mr. McMahon or disparaging him,” according to the Journal.
The investigation, which began in April, “uncovered other, older nondisclosure agreements involving allegations of former WWE employees of misconduct on the part of Mr. McMahon,” the Journal said. Other allegations of misconduct were reportedly found against John Laurinaitis, the company’s head of talent relations.
“I have pledged my full cooperation with the special committee’s investigation, and I will do my best to support the investigation,” McMahon said in a statement Friday. “I am also committed to accepting the findings and results of the investigation, whatever they may be.”
“It’s extremely important to me that we have a safe and collaborative workplace,” he said. “I am committed to doing everything in my power to help the special committee complete its work, including enlisting the cooperation of the entire company to help complete the investigation and bring implement its findings.”
As Friday’s appearance on “Smackdown” shows, McMahon has been an integral part of WWE for decades, both as an executive and as a wrestler himself.
– Jordan Valinsky of CNN Business contributed to this report.