With John Cena out of action due to elbow surgery, it should come as no surprise that the WWE has gone to the Vince McMahon well for three consecutive weeks on Raw. While his current persona is a far cry from Mr. McMahon of the Attitude Era, Vince remains one of the best WWE characters today.
Cena's use has been very limited over the past few weeks and the ratings were negatively affected, so Vince made his on-screen return and went so far as to take on WWE Champion CM Punk in a street fight.
That wasn't the extent of McMahon's contributions, though, as he booked Punk vs. Ryback at Hell in a Cell the next week and appeared on Monday to announce A.J. Lee's resignation as Raw general manager.
Nothing McMahon ever does will top the heel persona he had throughout the Attitude Era, but even a watered-down version of Mr. McMahon is fantastic. The great part about McMahon is that he plays the face role now since the fans respect everything he has done for the business, but his background still allows him to be a tyrannical boss from time to time without forcing him to revert to heel status.
At the same time, Vince can become a heel at the drop of a hat, much like he did last year following Money in the Bank when he attempted to fire Cena for failing to beat Punk. McMahon is more versatile from a character perspective than any other wrestler or personality in the company, and that is absolutely invaluable.
The best thing about Vince is that he comes off as an authority figure who has real power. When the WWE tries to convince fans that general managers like A.J. and Booker T actually have the ability to set matches and make administrative decisions, it's like we're being belittled because it's quite obvious that isn't the case.
Vince, on the other hand, is the WWE Chairman and can do essentially whatever he wants in real life, so it translates to the scripted nature of WWE. In fact, Vince was removed from power by the board and Triple H last year, and even though many fans still remember that storyline, they're more than willing to forget about it when McMahon flexes his executive muscle.
Besides maybe Cena and The Rock when he appears, nobody gets a reaction as loud as McMahon does, and that is half the battle when you're talking about a successful character. If the crowd is dead and doesn't care about you as soon as your music hits, then your chances of being successful are slim. Thankfully for McMahon, that has never been an issue.
I sincerely hope that we see a lot more of Vince moving forward. I understand that he is mostly involved with the business end of things, but I'm sure he realizes that Mr. McMahon on television is great for business and it always has been. These past few weeks have been great, and it would be awesome to see more of McMahon in the future.
He can obviously still do some incredible things at the age of 67, as evidenced by his battle with Punk a few weeks ago, but there will come a time in the near future when Vince simply isn't the same as he used to be. Some people have a lot more longevity than others, but McMahon's peak years are definitely behind him, and fans want to see as much of him as they can while he's still an effective character.
As much as we like to think that he is, McMahon isn't ageless. He still walks, talks and acts like he did during his heyday, though, and there is no use wasting such an incredible on-screen performer. There are few people in the history of wrestling who can elicit a reaction like McMahon, and that alone proves that he is still one of the WWE's best characters.