Lost in the buzz that Kevin Owens created by busting open Vince McMahon with a headbutt on Tuesday's WWE SmackDown is that Stephanie McMahon made her first appearance on WWE TV since WrestleMania in April. On a rival brand no less.
The Raw commissioner made a cameo during a frenetic, bloody scene.
Owens and the WWE chairman bickered in the final segment on SmackDown in Las Vegas. Vince reinstated his son Shane McMahon as SmackDown commissioner and booked a Hell in a Cell match between Shane and Owens.
The Prizefighter didn't respond well to the news.
Owens pounced on Vince, bloodying his brow and crushing him with a Frog Splash. Stephanie emerged enraged. She glared at KO before stomping down the entrance ramp to attend to her father.
And while much of the talk afterward has understandably been about Vince bleeding and Owens' viciousness, Stephanie's appearance was certainly noteworthy. Was this a brief trip into the blue brand? Or will The Billion Dollar Princess figure heavily into this story moving forward?
Stephanie left a trail of questions behind her.
Is She Back for Good?
The last time fans saw Stephanie on live WWE TV was WrestleMania 33 when she crashed through a table during Seth Rollins' win over Triple H.
WHAT JUST HAPPENED?! @TripleH just inadvertently put @StephMcMahon through a table! #WrestleMania #HHHvsRollins https://t.co/fNn1HwDXYo2017-4-3 02:10:39
Since then, Raw has been a one-man operation. General manager Kurt Angle has completely run the show by himself. Stephanie remained out of the frame.
Will she head back to the background or is she poised to make her mark on Raw once more?
If the latter is true, Raw is going to look and feel a lot different in a hurry. Angle has been a fair-minded, peacemaker of a GM. Stephanie has long played a ruthless tyrant as commissioner.
Should she return to Raw, she will certainly clash with Angle, likely more than she did with his predecessor Mick Foley.
And McMahon resuming her duties is bad news for WWE's fringe talents. Stephanie's presence means there will be less air time to go around. Goldust, Heath Slater and Apollo Crews are the kinds of Superstars sure to get pushed to the side as a result.
Will We See More SmackDown Crossover?
It's only been over a year since WWE split up Raw and SmackDown into separate entities again. For the most part, the two worlds have remained separate.
But is more overlap on the way?
Breezango from SmackDown showed up on 205 Live on Tuesday despite the cruiserweight division being a Raw property. John Cena suddenly became a free agent and ditched Team Blue for Team Red. And now Raw's commissioner has popped up in a show not her own.
There's a good chance that's an anomaly.
It's not often her father is lying bloody in a wrestling ring. WWE had a unique opportunity to create drama and ran with it.
Plus, Stephanie was already in Las Vegas for the Mae Young Classic and all the festivities surrounding it.
It makes little sense to have her change brands when she's so tied to Raw. But it will be less of a surprise moving forward if she pokes her head into SmackDown here and there. At least until Owens is done terrorizing the McMahons.
How Involved Will She Be in Owens-McMahon Feud?
Owens vs. Shane has gone from standard rivalry to a bitter family affair in a hurry.
After weeks of KO berating and antagonizing his commissioner, things have grown decidedly personal. Owens told McMahon he believed everyone would have been better off had Shane did in his helicopter crash.
Shane-O-Mac pummeled Owens in response. And now Owens has taken his pound of flesh via a beatdown of a 72-year-old man.
And now, are all the McMahons set to be a part of this war?
The anger simmering in Stephanie's veins on Tuesday suggests that she may continue to get involved. She adds a dramatic element to the story much like her father does. She's another person Owens can deride in his pursuit of vengeance.
.@StephMcMahon clearly isn't happy with @FightOwensFight's vicious actions towards her father. What repercussions await #KO? #SDLive https://t.co/fGLioNE0K22017-9-13 02:02:17
But WWE shies away from man-on-woman violence, so her involvement isn't likely to get physical beyond Stephanie giving Owens one of her trademark slaps.
There is, though, an avenue here for a rivalry between Owens vs. Triple H to develop. KO has ties to Stephanie's husband thanks to him gifting Owens the Universal Championship for an unknown reason. last August.
That's a narrative that never got explored. A mystery that never got solved.
Should Owens tear through Shane, leave Vince lying again and start threatening Stephanie, it's easy to imagine Triple H stepping in. That's huge news for Owens who could add a sure-fire Hall of Famer to his list of victims.
The Owens-McMahon story promises to be a saga, one where Stephanie will be a part of the ensemble cast.