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Vince McMahon will open SmackDown tonight (UPDATED)

Not much detail about what he’ll be saying or doing, but WWE has announced that Vince McMahon will be on SmackDown when the show opens at 8pm ET tonight (June 17).

This is a surprising move considering McMahon is under investigation by the company’s Board of Directors for allegedly paying female employees to stay quiet about their relationships with him. Early today, WWE announced he was voluntarily stepping down as Chairman & CEO of the company. His daughter Stephanie has returned from a leave of absence to fill those roles on an interim basis.

Vince will continue to work on creative for the company, and in the immediate wake of the hush money investigation, it was reported he would be at this week’s SmackDown taping handling “business as usual”.

Another wrinkle to the announcement about his appearance on FOX is that he’s listed by his kayfabe name, “Mr. McMahon”. That part has always been based on the real life Vince, and nearly everything that happens in the world of wrestling eventually gets referenced in a storyline. Will whatever we get tonight be coming from the fictional character who beat Pat McAfee in a match at WrestleMania 38, or the man who’s legacy is in jeopardy because of an investigation that was launched behind the scenes around the same time?

Either way, it will pop a rating. Workers gonna work.

Should be an interesting night. Join us in our live blog as we see what happens.

UPDATE: CNBC’s Alex Sherman is reporting McMahon’s appearance on SmackDown will be done as his storyline character. Behind-the-scenes, Vince is proving he’s still in charge of creative by using his signature move of tearing up the script on the day of the show.

He will address the controversy, but do so in character as his traditionally ruthless “Mr. McMahon” role, according to a person familiar with the matter. WWE writers were working Friday to rework the script for SmackDown, which had been completed earlier this week, the person added.