“It’s a privilege as always to stand before you here tonight,” McMahon told the crowd, before referencing the four words at the opening montage.
“Those four words are ‘then,’ ‘now,’ ‘forever,’ and the most important word is ‘together,’” he said. “Welcome to Smackdown!”
McMahon’s appearance comes on the heels of his decision to step away from his duties while the wrestling company’s board investigates him for alleged misconduct.
“I have pledged my complete cooperation to the investigation by the special committee, and I will do everything possible to support the investigation,” McMahon said in a statement on Friday. “I have also pledged to accept the findings and outcome of the investigation, whatever they are.”
His daughter Stephanie announced she will assume his role within the company in the meantime.
“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 said in a press release. “I have committed to doing everything in my power to help the Special Committee complete its work, including marshaling the cooperation of the entire company to assist in the completion of the investigation and to implement its findings.”
The news arrives after an investigation conducted by the WWE board uncovered a number of nondisclosure agreements with former female employees, including one in which McMahon allegedly had an affair with, and secretly agreed in January to a $3 million payout upon her departure from the company, the Wall Street Journal reported.