WWE Wrestlemania 28: Do Fans Care About Team Teddy vs Team Johnny?

Tom ClarkFeatured ColumnistMarch 19, 2012

photo by wwe.com
photo by wwe.com

So, Team Johnny versus Team Teddy. Excited about this one?

I suppose we should have seen this match coming. We are just right around the corner from WrestleMania, and every year around this time, there always seems to be a last minute rush to include as much talent as possible for WWE’s biggest event of the year.

The same thing happened last year, with an eight man tag featuring Kane, Big Show, Santino Marella, and Kofi Kingston, versus The Corre’s Wade Barrett, Heath Slater, Justin Gabriel, and Ezekiel Jackson.  How did that particular contest turn out?

Let’s just say that not much history was made in those two minutes.

But, perhaps that will not be the case this time around, as a special stipulation has been added to this 12 man spectacle. The winning team determines which man, either John Laurinaitis, or Teddy Long, will be the unanimous General Manager of both Monday Night Raw and Friday Night Smackdown.

Good.  Let’s wrap this up, shall we?

If you’re guessing that I’m one of those fans who desperately want the brand separation to end, and both shows be unified, you’re sort of on the right track.

I say ‘sort of,’ because to be honest, it’s not a subject that I have lost a lot of sleep over. The red and blue brands being separate entities was such a big deal to me at first, mostly due to the obvious fact that the talent rosters would be exclusive to their respective nights.

But, as the months, and eventual years followed, the novelty began to wear off, as Superstars began jumping from one program to another. Oh, it was hyped as being a big deal whenever it happened, but soon it became commonplace to see Raw Superstars showing up on SmackDown, as well as SmackDown Superstars visiting Raw.

Now, with the advent of the “SuperShow,” there is virtually no separation between the two brands. The fact is, there have been many times when it’s hard for me to even remember, or know, what Superstar is supposed to belong to which program.

So, while it would make sense to end the brand separation, it’s really not a deal breaker for me. If WWE insists on maintaining this flimsy illusion of exclusivity, then I say have at it. Fine by me.

But, what I personally want to see end is this pointless bickering between Teddy and John. Don’t misunderstand me here, I think that both men have done pretty well at playing up their characters, and fans seem to be responding accordingly.  

I would even add that it’s a nice change of pace to see Teddy involved in a storyline with some real substance to it, instead of constantly seeing him interacting in an endless Drew McIntyre spot every week.

However, it’s John’s position that tends to baffle me in this whole situation  After all, he is, in addition to being the interim Raw GM, the Executive Vice President of Talent Relations—or EVPOTR.

That’s right, I’m shortening it. It’s a mouthful, you know.

As the EVPOTR, John deals directly with the talent, often being the go between for them and Vince McMahon. He is portrayed as being a corporate stuffed shirt, who does what he’s told, and is clueless to how arrogant and inconsistent, his decisions are.

The General Manager is in charge of running the program, setting up matches, and making main events to excite the crowd and get ratings. If he is good at his job, then his program will be successful, and fans will recognize that his is the must see brand.

But, if John has the ability to deal directly with the talent, then that means he can go over Teddy’s head whenever he wants.  If the talent are not happy with the GM, then John is the man that listens to their grievances, and takes them to the Board of Directors.

This happened with Triple H, of course, who is the Chief Operating Officer of WWE.  Hunter supposedly has all this power, and stroke that come with that job title, yet he was forced from his position of running the day to day operations of Monday Night Raw.  And, when the decision was delivered, John was the man ready and willing to take his place.

In other words, John Laurinaitis is pretty untouchable.  Which, begs the question, what chance does a General Manager really have against him in the first place?

The truth is, we all know this is all storyline. The General Manager role is a work, Teddy Long likely has no more creative input on SmackDown than any other WWE Superstar who is told what to do before he or she steps through the curtain.

But, it does seem that Teddy’s position, indeed the GM position as a whole, has been diminished by John, who obviously has the support of the Board. He is in a higher spot than Teddy, both in reality and in storyline.

So, why would his character, with all this power, even care about being GM of both programs? And if his team wins, then will there be a need to even refer to him as the GM? Why not just remind fans, once again, that he is the EVPOTR, and leave it at that?

Then there’s the issue of which man should become the unanimous General Manager. Who is the better fit?

John’s character is gaining more power, and more exposure on TV, and at this point, he has somewhat replaced Vince as the greedy corporate figurehead in WWE.  

While Triple H is distracted by his WrestleMania showdown with the Undertaker, John is quickly amassing more influence, and could become a real threat if his team wins. There is some real drama in this angle, and John has the ability to evolve into a truly hated character who can act as a foil to every baby face Superstar who opposes him.

If Team Teddy wins, then we get to see him come out on SmackDown and Raw, dance around, say ‘holla holla,’ and make tag matches based off of singles matches than end in run-ins.

Don’t take that last bit of criticism to mean that I care about this match. The truth is, I really don’t. Perhaps in the time WWE has left to hype it, I will change my mind and come to see this bout—and its stipulation—as the exciting thrill fest it was meant to be, an overpowering tour de force of dramatic pro wrestling action at its finest.

So, what do you think?  Five, ten minutes, on this match?