One of the featured matches at WrestleMania 28 was a “Battle of the General Managers” in which the winner would be granted control of both Raw and SmackDown.
Six heels threw their support behind Raw GM John Laurinaitis, and they teamed up to face SmackDown GM Teddy Long’s squad of six baby faces in a 12-man tag team match at the pay-per-view.
After months of buildup and who knows how many wasted minutes of TV time, Team Johnny emerged victorious at WrestleMania, ending Long’s nearly eight-year long on-and-off reign as the general manager of SmackDown.
The assumption was that this was done as a way to write the incredibly stale Long off of TV once and for all.
We thought it was goodbye. Adios. See ya later.
But you know what they say about assuming, right? Well, the case of Teddy Long proves that saying to be true.
Instead of Long going bye bye, he didn’t disappear from TV whatsoever. He didn’t miss any TV time. At all.
Rather, Laurinaitis offered Long a position as his assistant not even a week after Team Johnny beat Team Teddy at WrestleMania 29, which ultimately rendered the entire “Battle of the GMs” storyline completely pointless and somehow managed to give Long just as much—if not more—TV time than he’d been getting when he was actually SmackDown’s GM.
This was absolutely ridiculous—an open-handed slap to the face of the WWE fans who spent months watching this storyline, only for it to be rendered meaningless when Long remained a consistent TV character.
So, to sum it up: Long was involved in a major storyline that supposedly meant he was fired, but somehow, he’s already got a big TV role just four months later.
Besides telling us that the GM storyline was a colossal was of time, this also tells us that what should have been unthinkable is now inevitable: Teddy Long will eventually get his job back as SmackDown GM.
I mean, just think about it—why else would Long still be on TV if that wasn’t the plan?
We all know that—outside of making tag team matches—Long (though a respected and well-traveled veteran) adds virtually nothing to the WWE product.
Yet, the WWE keeps finding a TV spot for him.
After Long was “fired” as the SmackDown GM, he quickly became Laurinaitis’ assistant. Soon after, he spent a week as the interim GM of both Raw and SmackDown. Now, he finds himself as the senior adviser to SmackDown’s new GM, Booker T.
You can see where this storyline is headed from a mile away.
I’m not sure what the WWE’s obsession with keeping Long on TV is, but trust me, there’s a reason why he has already performed in three different roles (that are essentially the same exact thing) since being “fired” just four months ago.
The WWE has no idea what to do with the SmackDown GM spot, and Booker T doesn’t figure to be a long-term solution.
Why? Because he’s left a gaping hole at the SmackDown announce table.
With Booker T gone from the blue brand’s announce team, it’s now just Josh Mathews and Michael Cole on Friday nights.
Herein lies the problem, though: They’re both play-by-play guys.
Booker T was the wacky color commentator on SmackDown, and though some didn’t like him in that role, I think he performed very well there and drastically improved each and every week.
But now, SmackDown is back to a two-man crew. Mathews is good, but he is more of a play-by-play guy than he is a color commentator. Cole is just annoying.
That means that SmackDown is without a color analyst, a role that was filled by Booker T just a few short weeks ago.
I’d love to think that someone like William Regal will step into Booker T’s old spot, but come on. This is the WWE, and we know exactly what’s actually going to happen.
Booker T is eventually going to slide back into his role as a color commentator. Somehow, the WWE will fill Booker’s spot as SmackDown GM with the same guy who’s been in and out of that role since 2004.
That guy is, of course, Teddy Long.
Long is hanging around way too close to the SmackDown GM spot for me to even think that anything else is happening.
He’s like a hawk waiting to attack its prey—the second that Booker T makes one wrong move, Long will be there to reclaim his spot as the general manager of Friday Night SmackDown.
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