When news broke that Vince McMahon was stepping down from the WWE after quite literally growing up and raising his children in the promotion, it generated vastly different opinions from across the wrestling world.
Some fans – and Tony Khan – made light of his retirement, using the news as an excuse to promote AEW Rampage or share clips like Mr. McMahon tearing both of his quads running to the ring in the Royal Rumble. Others, like Brock Lesnar, took his absence personally and reportedly left the SmackDown tapings entirely, telling folks “If he's gone, I'm gone.” But when news broke that Stephanie McMahon, the new Co-CEO of the company alongside President Nick Khan, was going to kick off SmackDown like her father almost two months ago when the Wall Street Journal initially dropped their bombshell report on his improprieties, it caused the entire wrestling world to point their collective gaze at Fox to see what exactly the “Billion Dollar Princess” would have to say on the subject.
Unsurprisingly, it was a loving tribute that, much like McMahon's goodbye post on the official WWE website, glossed over his flaws to instead highlight the good Mr. McMahon brought to the promotion, the industry, and the world as a whole.
.@StephMcMahon addresses the WWE Universe to kick off Friday Night #SmackDown! pic.twitter.com/7PgqTuqSi8
— WWE (@WWE) July 23, 2022
Now granted, did anyone really expect to see McMahon torch her father a la TK? Heavens no; though this has reportedly been in the works for about a week, with folks like Triple H receiving new titles in the leadup to the big changing of the guard, it's clear the company founded by Vincent M. McMahon wanted to close out their longest-reigning CEO's career with some dignity, even if this situation is solely based on the ramifications of his decisions and likely would have ended much uglier had the findings of the Board of Director's independent investigation been allowed to reach its conclusion.