On the July 23 episode of Monday Night Raw, the show's 1,000th episode, WWE will reveal who it has decided will become the new permanent general manager of both Raw and SmackDown after John Laurinaitis was fired by Mr. McMahon at No Way Out a few weeks ago.
Since that time, we have seen Mick Foley, Vickie Guerrero, and Teddy Long come in and become interim GMs, and speculation is building about if any of them, or a new candidate will take over and become the new GM. Whichever way they decide to go with it, however, it is doubtful the new general manager will be as effective as John Laurinaitis.
Laurinaitis was never the most well executed on-screen character. He fumbled over his lines, had an annoying voice and crappy theme music, and he was generally disliked by everyone. But that's what made him so great.
Laurinaitis was a heat magnet. And let's face it, Raw is much better off with a heel GM making life difficult for top baby faces like John Cena, CM Punk and Sheamus as opposed to a baby-face GM who just gives them what they want. Heel GMs give the show a level of unpredictability that helps keeps things fresh, which is why the John Laurinaitis character was so successful.
Laurinaitis was able to turn himself from a boring character into one of the more memorable GMs in Raw history. He even headlined (albeit controversially) a PPV, participating in the main event of Over the Limit and defeating John Cena.
Now that he is gone, however, Raw is missing that spark. Laurinaitis with his "people power" motto turned the show into something interesting every week. Plus, it made stars out of David Otunga, Eve and Tensai, and catapulted Big Show into the main event after he turned heel and sided with Big Johnny.
Admittedly, when he first came onto the scene in 2011, Laurinaitis was a work in progress. He didn't seem ready to take on the role of GM and really struggled on TV. But he grew into his character and was just hitting his prime when he was fired at No Way Out.
It seems unlikely that whoever gets hired on July 23 will be able to obtain the heat that Laurinaitis was able to during his tenure. If it is a face GM, it is likely going to make the show rather boring (see Teddy Long) unless he or she is an exceptional and well-known WWE personality.
Cena/Punk vs. Laurinaitis was no McMahon vs. Austin, but both were still entertaining feuds. Now that Laurinaitis is fired, Cena and Show may be continuing their feud, but without Big Johnny to back him up, it loses much of its steam.
Imagine at No Way Out if Big Show had won the match cleanly, Cena was written off TV for a few months, and John Laurinaitis was still in power.
Show would still be looked at as a dominant force, Raw wouldn't have to go through the saga of finding a GM, and Cena could take some time off to deal with his divorce and come back possibly with a re-worked character.
Instead, here we are today, and if it wasn't for the AJ-Punk-Bryan angle, WWE television would be extremely stale every week.
WWE has been extremely hit or miss with its GM personalities over the years, but I truly believe it had something good going with "people power" and John Laurinaitis. Not to mention, if WWE was going to write him off of television, couldn't it have found a better way to do it than having Cena go over Show?
It also seems like a waste of a Wrestlemania match to have "Team Johnny" win over "Team Teddy" only to keep Laurinaitis in power for less than three months afterwards. The match was silly enough as it was, but at least it got Long off TV and put Laurinaitis in position to expand his character.
Now, however, it is July and he is long gone.
Maybe WWE will blow us away with who it decides to run things come the 1,000th episode. However, it seems unlikely whoever shows up would be able to have a better character than Laurinaitis.
It remains to be seen whether or not Laurinaitis is gone from WWE for good, or if he will return in the future either as GM or in a different role. I do hope he eventually does make a return, but it would be better off if he was never fired in the first place.
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