Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. The RAW General Manager is accused of losing control of the company and comes under fire from one or more other WWE employees to resign his or her position. Yeah, I know, this seems to happen once every other month in WWE. An authority figure takes control, and within weeks, someone is disgruntled enough to demand that person’s firing. That GM, oftentimes not an active wrestler, becomes a huge part of the show, taking time away from actual wrestlers who can, y’know, wrestle and deliver payoffs in the ring, be it by beating someone or getting beaten.
[adinserter block=”2″]Right now, AJ Lee has both Vickie Guerrero and Paul Heyman calling for her job because she can’t separate personal issues from her work. Gee, where have we heard that one before, oh yeah, with EVERY OTHER AUTHORITY FIGURE IN WWE SINCE MICK FOLEY. The biggest flaw here is that Lee herself is an actual trained wrestler who can actually help WWE in the ring, but instead, here she is, in the middle of power struggles and in danger of creating a power void, something WWE again seems to have every other month.
I hate making the argument of “remember the good ol’ days?” because a lot of times, those arguments are viewed through tinted lenses of people who have nothing better to do than bitch that wrestling isn’t like it was when they were kids. That being said, remember the good ol’ days when Jack Tunney appeared on WWF TV like once every other pay-per-view cycle, back when there were only four PPV cycles in a year? That was an authority figure in wrestling that worked because he was an arbitrator. He wasn’t the story, he was a cog in the story. All non-wrestlers have to be cogs in a story because wrestling angles center on being paid off by matches. If not, then hey, what makes wrestling different from any other show on television? We know that WWE especially isn’t good at being just a TV show, so why should they dabble in those areas as much as they do instead of sticking with their bread and butter?
Of course, people are going to point to Vince McMahon being effective in the late ’90s, but as with most things that worked in the late ’90s, that was an anomaly. The Attitude Era was great for business, but it’s also the single most self-destructive period in WWE history because everyone now compares how things were done back to the way they did them in that short four-to-five year period when things were in upheaval. Besides, McMahon could actually go in the ring. There were two other GMs since that could do the same – William Regal (who won King of the Ring while he was GM in 2008) and Lee.
Lee became a white hot star this summer when she was embroiled in a love rectangle with Kane, Daniel Bryan and CM Punk. She became a crazy chick with an agenda, one that proved she, for a time, was more different than any other female character WWE had since Mickie James was Trish Stratus’ psycho lesbian stalker. Immediately after she finished giving Bryan his comeuppance, she was placed in the authority role instead of in a struggling Divas division. That would have been fine if she were able to wrestle and “lead”, or if her stories were made different, but that wasn’t the case. She’s wrestled maybe once since becoming GM, and her story is the same as John Laurinaitis’ which was the same as Triple H’s which was the same as the Anonymous RAW GM’s which was the same as Guerrero’s which was the same as Teddy Long’s (on several occasions as Smackdown GM) and so on and so forth.
I know I’ve written about this here and on my own blog before ad nauseam, but it’s worth repeating that WWE should probably just do away with the active GM position and name someone as GM who’ll only appear when he or she is needed. The Tunney/Sgt. Slaughter/Gorilla Monsoon model was perfect because it allowed the wrestlers to shine, not people who weren’t going to take bumps on a regular basis or wrestle in matches with any sort of frequency. Then, maybe we’ll get some freshness in the show, not the three ring circus full of lethargic seals that we saw this past Monday to open RAW.
[adinserter block=”1″]Tom Holzerman is a lifelong wrestling fan and connoisseur of all things Chikara Pro, among other feds. When he’s not writing for the Camel Clutch Blog, you can find him on his own blog, The Wrestling Blog.
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