“Alright, guys huddle up. Now, I’m not going to sugarcoat it. Ratings are down. We’ve been taking a couple of hits since the NFL came back to Mondays and the fact is that John is still recovering from elbow surgery. And to be honest I have not been all that impressed with what I’ve been seeing lately on Raw so we’re going to address that tonight.
"It’s time we gave this thing a shot in the arm, stir things up, and it’s going to start with me. I’m working Punk in the main event and that will lead us to Hell in a Cell. So pull up a chair, because in about three hours, the old man is going to show you how to get it done.”
And with that, 67-year-old Vince McMahon climbed into the ring and had what many are calling a Match of the Year candidate.
I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that didn't happen, I was just trying to be funny. Well, you’re wrong. It did happen that way. And I should know, because I was there.
Okay, I wasn’t. But I totally could have been. If only WWE would answer the phone.
For me, what happened on Raw was the culmination of one man’s frustrations, one man’s Hail Mary attempt at grabbing ratings where no one else could. For the first time in a long time, it felt as though Vince McMahon had stepped in and taken his company back.
McMahon’s absence from TV as a full-time character has been questioned for some time now, as many fans have truly felt that his presence adds to the overall product.
Because despite what storylines are currently unfolding and regardless of who holds what championship, at any moment the boss could step in and suddenly change the entire program.
That apparent impulsiveness, that unknown possibility of spontaneity, has always kept us on our toes when it comes to McMahon. But often, it hit us out of left field.
The reason for that is pretty simple, as no matter how much “information” hit the dirt sheets on Monday afternoon about what was rumored to happen on Raw, the only man who ever really knew, or could change it at the last minute, was Vince.
The truth is that when Vince was in charge on TV and stood in the ring with a live microphone in his hand, all bets were off. At any given moment, he could lower the boom on any unsuspecting heel or babyface and just screw everything up for them. After all he was, as he always has been, in charge.
Are we missing that now?
Since Triple H has disappeared from TV and AJ has become the skipping, smiling authority figure of a General Manager, there has not been a firm hand ruling the land as there always was with Vince.
Not that fans need that corporate figurehead in order to enjoy the program, but the way WWE has historically always geared their storylines around that concept, it could be that they’re missing it.
So perhaps Monday night was just a way to revisit the past, an opportunity for Vince to be the hands-on leader that he has been famous for.
Indeed, it was somewhat of an Attitude Era flashback for fans as Vince stood toe to toe with the hottest Superstar on the roster and then set out to do what so many others could not: shut him down.
But there is one thing that struck me as I was watching the match take place and it is the fact that perhaps this was not Vince just trying to “show the boys how it’s done.” Perhaps this was just a way to get from point A to point B.
After all, if McMahon wanted a moment like this to take place, to stir the pot for CM Punk and the WWE Championship, then he needed someone big to fill that role. And right now, there is no one.
John Cena is on the shelf, Randy Orton is busy filming a movie and after that, who else is there to put in front of Punk that would be a viable threat to him?
Enter Vince McMahon, who presses the issue and forces the unchecked WWE Champion to face the cold reality of his own immortality as he demands respect. Then as Punk thinks he’s going to just walk away, Ryback’s music hits and everything comes to a head.
Now Punk must choose his own fate, as both Cena and Ryback await an answer as to who he will face at Hell in a Cell. And we got to this point because of Vince McMahon.
For me, Vince represents the old guard of WWE, much in the same way that Triple H and the Undertaker do. He is one of those guys who can just step into the ring, cut a great promo, and sway the crowd in the direction he wants them to go.
And really, who can do it better at this point?
We likely have not seen the last of Vince McMahon on TV and I believe that is a good thing for fans. There’s nothing like a little taste of the old days every now and then. In fact, I welcome it.
And if it comes out that the opening pep talk I wrote actually did happen, then someone in WWE owes me some money. Or at least a return phone call.