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Friday night vigil
PHILADELPHIA — A mere handful of days without the WWE Chairman felt like an eternity for the SmackDown roster who mourned the presumed death of Mr. McMahon on Friday night.
As the investigation continues by forensics specialists and explosives experts at the crime scene miles away, the Superstars of SmackDown gathered for a Friday night vigil of their own in Philadelphia's Wachovia Center. From The Animal to the Rated-R World Heavyweight Champion himself, the entire locker room of friends, rivals and bitter enemies stood side-by-side for a reverential and symbolic 10-time ring of the bell. (WATCH)
With many Divas and even monsters such as Mark Henry standing wrought with grief, tears were not uncommon in the opening moments of SmackDown. Their minds inundated with questions about the events of Raw and the immediate future of WWE, the Superstars later vocalized their most internal feelings.
Still, as Ed Kaufman, Executive Vice President and General Counsel for WWE, Inc. stated on behalf of the McMahon family on WWE.com (and again on Friday night), the show must go on. (WATCH)
So, amid replays of Monday night's shocking limousine explosion, the action continued as usual on SmackDown. But to continue the memorial, throughout the evening, former enemies of the maniacal Chairman and his greatest sycophants all shared their thoughts on his apparent demise.
William Regal, the very first member of the Mr. McMahon Kiss My Ass Club, shared some very fond memories of his experience with the Chairman -- and of course, his billion-dollar posterior. According to the pugnacious Englishman, he feels like "a part of [his] life is gone." (WATCH)
"[Mr. McMahon] was the only American person that I truly respected," added a morose Regal, "and now he's gone."
Despite the blatant manner in which Mr. McMahon undermined the SmackDown General Manager's authority one week earlier, Theodore Long also expressed his deep regret for sports-entertainment's most tragic loss. Likening the Chairman to a visionary much like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Long described his deep appreciation for the opportunities Mr. McMahon offered him on SmackDown -- a chance for Long to shine when nobody else would give him a shot. (WATCH)
Perhaps the most poignant message came from WWE Hall of Famer Sgt. Slaughter who claimed it was a sad day in WWE. Describing Mr. McMahon as "no ordinary general," Slaughter spoke metaphorically of his fallen leader. (WATCH)
"WWE has lost its commanding officer," explained the militant WWE Legend. "There's an old saying that generals start wars and the sergeants fight and finish them… I'm going to keep fighting."
The venerable former WWE Champion then raised his hand to his legendary brow and uttered an emotional salutation to the Chairman.
"Mr. McMahon, I salute you," said Slaughter with the appropriate gesture, "and I'm going to miss you."
See the exclusive video gallery collecting all the comments of the SmackDown Superstars including Edge, Chavo Guerrero, Kristal and more.