For years, the WWF/WWE has thrived under the utilization of a different entity, other than the owner, serving as the "head of operations" as it pertains to the TV/live entertainment product. Whether the person is known as the president, commissioner, or general manager, it allows the actual owner of the company to focus on managing the company and gives the fans a believable force to run the show.
Obviously, there have been some great individuals to serve in this role (Mick Foley, Eric Bischoff, etc.), and there have been some less notable (to be generous) individuals, like Mike Adamle and Vickie Guerrero.
However, they have always had one thread in common: they had some sort of employment or long-standing connection to the WWF/WWE before being put in this role. Even Adamle had a gig as an announcer and interviewer before being installed as Raw General Manager.
Which begs the question: why is Donald Trump the new owner of Raw?
Sure, Trump hosted Wrestlemanias IV and V, and he was a "manager" in the Billionaire Hair vs. Hair match at Wrestlemania 23. But does anyone with two functioning brain cells honestly, kayfabe or otherwise, believe that the Donald is qualified to operate a wrestling company?
We sit here at our computers, and we all beg for a renewed emphasis on in-ring work. But we all acknowledge that part of what draws us in is the storyline.
We didn't watch McMahon vs. Austin because of McMahon's catch-as-catch-can wrestling style, or because of Austin's prowess with submission holds. We watched because we all wanted to beat the ever-loving hell out of our bosses, and we could watch that feud and live vicariously through Stone Cold.
We didn't tune into Raw to see D-Generation X put on wrestling clinics. We tuned in because we all wanted to give a crotch chop to the establishment that oftentimes holds people down.
And we didn't tune into Raw this past year because the potential of Chris Jericho vs. Shawn Michaels was the promise of the wrestling gods on high (although it could have been). We tuned in because we wanted to see HBK put an egomanical punk in his place.
And therein lies the crux of what a good storyline and a good character must have: believability. The more central a figure is to a storyline or a show, the more the fan must be able to suspend disbelief in order to blur the lines between fiction and reality and buy into what is happening on the television and in the ring.
The political and news world has a term that is apropos: gravitas.
And, while Trump has boatloads of gravitas in terms of straight-up business, he holds none within the kayfabe world of the WWE. Ted Turner was also a renowned businessman, and he fell flat on his face--in fact, the only reason WCW survived for as long as it did was because of Turner's willingness to sink millions of dollars into a losing proposition.
Look at it from a business angle: what does Trump bring to WWE?
Well, he has a famous name, so people might turn in for a few weeks, hoping to see Donald open up a can of whoop-ass on Randy Orton. Beyond that, though, the guy is an incredibly weak actor with no intimate knowledge of the business--much like the great experiment that was Mike Adamle.
Then, look at it from the opposite angle: how could this hurt the WWE?
You have a celebrity, with no believability or knowledge of the product, who is running the product. Nominal fans (those who only tune in during good times) will not be interested past the initial shock moment. And long-time fans could be turned off for quite a while because of the installation of a wrestling-world nobody into one of the most prestigious positions in sports-entertainment.
Overall, I hope it might work, but I am predicting an epic fail for the WWE in terms of the Trump storyline. The few positives are heavily outweighed by the several negatives which could hurt the company, and this is not a move that will resonate with fans of the WWE.
So, on behalf of the Bleacher Report Nation and the nation at large, I would like to take this opportunity to ask McMahon and the WWE: WTF?
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