Watching SmackDown all year, it is clear that Teddy Long is not the general manager he used to be.
Is this Teddy's fault? No.
Over the last seven years, Long has done a tremendous job. This is a result of him being underutilised by the SmackDown creative team.
The creative team gets massive criticism here on B/R (mostly for good reason), however I haven't seen anyone address general managers, or even the SmackDown general manager, being completely wasted.
In the past, the general manager position has contributed hugely to the WWE. Growing up during Eric Bischoff's stint as RAW's general manager, this was made obvious. Bischoff played the heel general manager excellently, constantly siding with Triple H's Evolution and undermining many of the faces.
Vicki Guererro was the general manager three years ago, also as a heel. Guerrero was involved in a number of story lines, most notably, the main event feud between Edge and the Undertaker.
Point is: general managers are at their best when given high quality characters and noteworthy involvement in story lines.
Aside from the occasional backstage promo with superstars, Teddy Long, at least in my eyes, has only served a small purpose for the last six months. That is, interrupting when main event superstars or mid-carders are brawling.
Teddy will then book predictable matches for the evening based on the superstars brawling. I've seen it so many times this year I cringe when a brawl breaks out during the opening promo on SmackDown.
It's lazy writing by the creative team. They repetitively use the same tactic to book matches for SmackDown, and it never seems convincing.
If creative aren't prepared to use Teddy Long more prominently, than perhaps it's time for a new general manager. I'm favouring that option, as it seems the SmackDown writing team has run out of ways to use Teddy Long.
It's understandable after seven years. A good heel general manager, as seen in the past, can add another dimension to the show and can be utilised to further build up the heel superstars.
A face G.M. would be acceptable, assuming they aren't bland faces and actually have facets to their character.
Regardless of how it happens, it needs to. The general manager is an easily utilised role, and it's being wasted on SmackDown at the moment. If nothing else, the repetition is taking the wind out of the main event feud, and that isn't good for business...