Let's face it: WWE does not need Vince McMahon back on TV.
Some may claim this is too harsh a statement. They would point to the WWE owner's near-legendary status as on-screen character as valid proof of how great an asset he can be.
OK, so as the evil, boorish Mr. McMahon character in the '90s, Vince was indisputably integral to the then-WWF in the Monday Night Wars.
Fans lapped up his feud with rebellious employee Steve Austin, which is still one of the best angles in wrestling history. It's hard to see how WWE would have rocketed to the top—leaving rival WCW in its dust—without the boss as an on-air act. In fact, there's a very legitimate argument to made that McMahon was one of the best heels ever.
But it's not 1998 any more.
As a character, McMahon has become overexposed. Well, that's what nearly 18 years in the limelight will do to someone.
Good guy. Bad guy. Does it even really matter much? We've seen it all before.
And the worst thing? McMahon isn't even terribly entertaining nowadays. The cartoonish evil boss who could strut out on Raw and garner a strong reaction from even the flattest of crowds is long gone.
For the first time, the 67-year-old McMahon really feels old now. He looks more tired and haggard. It seems all those long hours and seven-day work weeks have finally taken their toll.
Nor does he deliver in the ratings like he used to, either. The trials and tribulations of the McMahon family have been all over WWE television recently. The result has been some rather dismal ratings, as noted by PWTorch.
Apart from the creative issues, there's also the owner himself to think about. Should he still be be a regular on-air character and taking bumps at his age?
Of course you could say the boss isn't nearly as physically involved as he used to be. Which is true. But McMahon still stepped into the ring in October of last year for a brutal street fight with CM Punk. This scrap was notable for the amount of punishment McMahon took.
This fight was apparently to aid Raw's struggling ratings—the show the week before the fight had done a terrifyingly low 2.5. It didn't really work.
The number improved a little, but it certainly didn't deliver anything close to what you'd think McMahon's first match in several years would do. (More proof of McMahon's floundering drawing power, perhaps?)
The street fight was an awful idea for a few reasons. Just one month earlier, announcer/part-time wrestler Jerry Lawler famously had a heart attack on air. This makes it abundantly clear how much of a risk it was for the owner to get in there and take the big bumps that he did.
And bear in mind: McMahon is several years older than Lawler and leads a way more stress-filled and hectic life. Make no mistake about it: The street fight had the potential to go very badly wrong.
And the worst thing? That probably won't be the only time the executive feels compelled to get into the ring. (Judging by recent TV angles, he and son-in-law Triple H look to be heading for a physical showdown soon.)
Of course you could argue that McMahon's real asset is as a supporting character. Perhaps as the brains behind The Shield—something which has been hinted at recently. Certainly, if he were willing to take a back seat, him being back on Raw wouldn't be that bad.
But, come on, this is Vince McMahon we're talking about.
If he's involved in the storylines in any way, he's going to have to make it a big deal. It might just be for the best if the boss elects to take himself off of television for good—for his sake and everyone else's.