Cruella De Vil has surfaced in WWE in the form of Stephanie McMahon.
And while she is not looking to make a fur coat out of Dalmatians, McMahon has made mincemeat out of a giant and ordered the beating of a senior citizen. She has ridiculed wrestling legends and sparked a rage in Randy Orton that we had not seen since his days of leading Legacy.
All the while, McMahon’s character is showing that after years of living in the shadow of her larger-than-life father, she finally has escaped into the light of success on her own. She has proven that she can be as ruthless and evil—if not more evil—than Vince McMahon ever was in his prime.
And she is doing so in a manner that does not look like she has copied off her father’s paper.
Vince McMahon was an evil genius whose forte was humiliating people into doing things for him. Stephanie has picked up the humiliation gene, but she has taken the evil part to the next level.
It’s something that has been brewing ever since SummerSlam, but on Raw last week, we saw it boil over.
Stephanie has had a field day humiliating The Big Show over the past few weeks. She delights in making the big man look small, reminding him that he would be bankrupt if he did not do what she told him to do. Monday night, she told him to stay in her office until she decided what she was going to do with him. His response: A meek-sounding “Yes, Ms. McMahon.”
Sounds like Big Show already is bankrupt, at least emotionally.
Later, during her skit with 68-year-old wrestling legend Dusty Rhodes, Stephanie proved that she can be just downright mean. After summoning The Shield to ringside to beat Rhodes up, she then called out Big Show and allowed Rhodes to choose between being "dismembered" by The Shield or suffer a Knockout Punch from the Big Show. We all know how that turned out.
What’s next for her? Putting baby squirrels in a microwave?
The evolution of evil Stephanie has proven to be the breakout storyline of the post-SummerSlam scene in WWE. I feel it even has eclipsed the nucleus of this whole “what’s best for business” program, and that is the WWE Championship battle between Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan.
Everyone knows that Bryan and Orton probably will wind up exchanging the WWE Championship title several times before their feud ends. Meanwhile, no one can predict just what Stephanie McMahon is going to do next and to whom she is going to do it.
The Stephanie story is a plot line that can continue to grow week by week, as Stephanie draws beads on other Superstars.
WWE Creative needs to make sure this happens because like so many other stories in WWE, the constant humiliation of Big Show is going to get old quickly. People are going to tire of seeing Big Show cry—if you can really call it that—because big, bad Stephanie is taking joy in embarrassing him.
Stephanie also needs to build on her mean streak. She needs to concoct something that will make the Dusty Rhodes beatdown look like a Disney movie. Yes, she is working within WWE’s self-imposed PG parameters, but the company is proving lately that it can stay within those confines and still produce intriguing stories.
Stephanie could also help put over the suddenly surging Divas division by sticking her nose into the business of stars like Natalya, the Bella Twins and even AJ Lee.
One story that aches to be told surrounds Stephanie taunting Natalya in a reboot of the bad-blood theme between the McMahons and the Hart Foundation. If Natalya finally wins the Divas title from AJ—and that is shaping up to happen—Stephanie could insert herself into the title picture by playing the “owner’s daughter” card and further antagonizing the rest of the Divas roster.
Stephanie McMahon’s character has endless opportunities ahead of her as she solidifies her reputation as WWE’s Queen of Mean. Keeping her in the forefront of this post-SummerSlam WWE truly would be “best for business.”
Follow Bill Atkinson on Twitter at @BAtkinson1963.