For a couple months now, the buzz has been that the current McMahon family drama would culminate in Vince McMahon as a babyface feuding with his daughter Stephanie and son-in-law Triple H during WrestleMania season.
Now WWE is starting to add hints in that direction: On the subscribers-only Wrestling Observer Radio show at F4WOnline.com, Dave Meltzer noted that Stephanie being announced as "WWE owner" is a subtle nudge to get that feud going.
When I first heard that this was the direction, I dreaded it. I've lived through enough McMahon family drama to know that it usually eats up the whole show, plus Stephanie had been a very inconsistent performer over the years.
Worse, the other big Stephanie vs. Vince feud in 2003 was, aside from a surprisingly good match between the two, a disaster.
The fact that Stephanie's tearful promo about Vince forcing her to give sexual favors to business associates hasn't become any kind of wrestling fan meme shows that fans have blocked it out, I guess.
After the last several weeks, my outlook has changed. There have been positives for non-McMahon talent, as in the middle of all this, Cody Rhodes is primed to become a main eventer.
As for the actual potential family feud, Stephanie has improved drastically to the point she's one of the best talkers in WWE, so I'm now looking forward to seeing her and her father trying to top each other on the microphone.
It's also been years since Vince was a babyface with any kind of regularity—not since the 2009 feud between the McMahon family and Randy Orton.
Even then, Triple H was the focus on the babyface side, whereas Vince will be THE babyface McMahon in the upcoming feud. With the role reversal, I would think we won't hear about him pimping Stephanie out again since he's the good guy, thank God.
Concerns about show quality (that the McMahons probably wouldn't agree with, anyway) aside, their family feuds have always been strong ratings draws on Raw.
That's where the "death of Mr. McMahon" storyline in 2007 came from, and that's why, subsequently, it seemed like Vince had to be maimed every summer for a few years.
I hate to use that term right now, but with how important TV rights fees are to WWE and with the American Raw and SmackDown contracts being up next year, it's best for business.
So, where exactly does it go from here?
Obviously Stephanie and/or Triple H will do something that demands Vince's return, I just don't know what it is, and it's hard to guess with Vince disappearing from TV suddenly after being aligned with them in the plan to make Randy Orton "the face of WWE."
Who should be Triple H's WrestleMania opponent?
Vince and Stephanie are both way past the point where they'd wrestle a match, so presumably the big payoff at WrestleMania will be Triple H with Stephanie in his corner wrestling a huge star babyface with Vince McMahon in his corner.
WWE apparently wanted Steve Austin in the babyface spot, but he's not interested. The Rock would make sense, but after how badly he was injured at WrestleMania this year, his future as a wrestler is a huge question mark, and he's better used in some kind of "dream match" (vs. Brock Lesnar or The Undertaker) than he is against his old rival, anyway.
The Undertaker would fit OK, but he shouldn't be wrestling Triple H again after the "end of an era" stuff last year.
That leaves them with one of the full-time babyfaces:
- Daniel Bryan probably makes the most sense: He needs a win over Triple H the most (more than ever, there's no reason for Triple H to win here), it would probably be the best potential match, and he would be the best storyline fit as it all sits now.
- The Big Show's storyline will likely be fully resolved sooner and he'd have the least "WrestleMania main event" worthy match.
- CM Punk and John Cena are the wild cards. Punk has been kept away from the McMahon storyline, while Cena has been injured for most of it, but will be back long before WrestleMania. Both should have great matches with Triple H in that spot (Cena especially had an excellent 'Mania main event with Triple H years ago), but Punk needs the win more since he's in a holding pattern.
Regardless of how it plays out, we're going to get some awesome, melodramatic McMahon family promos leading to a great match at WrestleMania, and I'm looking forward to it.