The WWE Universe was clearly losing interest in John Laurinaitis' act after months of watching the general manager of Raw and SmackDown stumble through promos. Last night's performance, including firing Big Show, will turn the tide back in Big Johnny's favor.
When it comes to a gimmick, there's a fine line between a terrific heel who generates a negative reaction like Chris Jericho and somebody the fans flat-out don't like. For most of his reign, Laurinaitis fell in the latter category, but he's slowly settling into his role.
Making Big Show, who has become a fan favorite over the years, beg for his job before ultimately firing him helped Laurinaitis receive a storyline reaction instead of a disdain reaction. That's what the creative team has been attempting to accomplish for quite some time.
Big Show wasn't really fired, of course. He was just a sacrificial lamb to help Laurinaitis generate some heat heading into his later meeting with John Cena.
It was also key for the long-term success of Laurinaitis.
Even though the odds are stacked against him on Sunday night at Over the Limit against John Cena, it would be surprising if he didn't figure out a backdoor way to win the match and keep his job as general manager of both shows.
Whether it's Brock Lesnar coming back to exact some revenge on Cena or a bunch of low-level superstars sacrificing themselves to help him win, Laurinaitis will find a way to sidestep the stipulations en route to victory.
The company is clearly comfortable with the character being a major player on a weekly basis despite his numerous missteps, so it's vital that he starts becoming a true heel to at least make his segments more entertaining.
Since previous attempts to get Laurinaitis over with the crowd—such as aligning him with Lesnar—failed, there weren't many options left to make Big Johnny successful beyond the Big Show angle and making him face off with Cena.
What better describes Laurinaitis?
Luckily, they have both worked.
Firing Big Show made him seem like the prototypical ruthless executive that mainstream fans love to hate. Feuding with Cena has also helped.
Another way you can tell that Laurinaitis' character has finally started working is the reaction Cena has started getting. The WWE Universe has started to treat him more favorably again following an extended period when there was a clear divide between older and younger fans.
That proves that Laurinaitis has started to establish himself. It would be nice if Big Johnny could keep a straight face when Cena's mic work gets corny, though, which happens a lot.
All told, it certainly seems like Laurinaitis will be hanging around for a while, so the WWE decided to go for the Hail Mary pass during the Over the Limit build, and it's worked so far. He must maintain that momentum through the pay-per-view.
Firing Big Show looks like the move that finally turned things around for Big Johnny. Now he must build off of that success moving forward.