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WWE Didn't Learn Its Lesson with the Anonymous Raw General Manager Angle

Ryan Dilbert@@ryandilbertWWE Lead WriterNovember 25, 2014

Hornswoggle
HornswoggleCredit: WWE.com

Beeps from a computer on a podium ended the post-Survivor Series edition of Raw as WWE went back to an angle that flopped the first time around—the anonymous general manager.

Fan disinterest will doom this storyline, but WWE should already know that. The concept flopped hard in its first inception.

In 2010, Nexus stormed the WWE like barbarians, tearing up rings and leaving men like John Cena lying. The invading rookies, led by Wade Barrett, cost Bret Hart his job as Raw GM. Vince McMahon blamed Hart for all the Nexus attacks and the general turmoil the company was in.

McMahon handed power over to a faceless figure communicating by way of email.

Edge addresses the anonymous GM.
Edge addresses the anonymous GM.Credit: WWE.com

It was an awkward angle that limped along. While McMahon's turn as WWE's dictator led to intense showdowns with the likes of Steve Austin, this story had wrestlers yelling at a computer.

This was a bad idea from the get-go. A man reading emails on air is not good TV.

It dragged on for far too long and ended in unsatisfying fashion. On July 9, 2012, sleuth work by Santino Marella revealed that the general manager had been Hornswoggle all along.

Over a year's worth of buildup resulted in a cheap gag. You can't blame fans for feeling cheated. Suddenly, McMahon revealing that he was the Ministry of Darkness' higher power didn't seem that bad.

Something has compelled WWE to return to this email-centered story again. Never mind that the anonymous GM has already run the show longer than anyone since Eric Bischoff.

After whipping fans into a state of excitement with Dolph Ziggler's heroics at Survivor Series, Sting making his historic debut and a TLC match between Bray Wyatt and Dean Ambrose already set up, the company ended Monday's Raw with a head-scratcher.

Ziggler and Cena celebrated their win in the main event. Daniel Bryan stood with them, leading a "Yes!" chant. Michael Cole interrupted them, reading from a computer that fans saw for much of 2010 and 2011.

He told the babyfaces, "This party is officially over." Well said, Cole. That's exactly what that moment felt like, the buzz of Survivor Series now faded. 

John Bradshaw Layfield plopping his head down on the announce table sums up many folks' response to this news quite well.

The Authority hadn't even been out of power for a full 24 hours. Fans were looking forward to a fresh direction, to a new electricity, for WWE to stop leaning on its crutch of on-screen authority figures and try something else.

It didn't happen. WWE, for next week and maybe more, is returning to what few fans wanted to ever see come back.

You can almost hear Nelson from The Simpsons laughing in the distance.

Crowds have chanted for CM Punk to come back. Wrestling forums are filled with people lamenting the Attitude Era's passing. You just don't hear anyone saying, "You know what I really miss? That computer dinging every time there's a message."

As WrestlingInc noted on Twitter, the site's fan poll showed overwhelming distaste for this angle:

WrestlingINC.com @WrestlingInc

Wow, 88% percent of you gave the Anonymous Raw GM a thumbs down!

Former WWE writer Alex Greenfield is not thrilled by the idea either:

Alex Greenfield @alexdgreenfield

@summerofgeorge3 Ugh. Man, I am so freaking tired of the authority figure plot device.

Big Hoss captured what a lot of people must be feeling after the anonymous GM's comeback:

Big Hoss @MYO716

MFW Anonymous GM... http://t.co/JQzAOwuUpd #RAW

Not only was it not popular in 2010, but it's strange that WWE is revisiting something that already wrapped up. Either Hornswoggle was not actually the man behind the emails, or there's now a new one taking charge. 

Either way, there's got to be a better overarching narrative to build on.

Focusing on individual feuds is smarter. So is making the chase for the world title a priority. Instead, WWE is ignoring a great piece of advice—don't revisit your old miscues.

Don't have The Son of Gobbledy Gooker debut. Don't have Kane rediscover Katie Vick. Don't do a Brawl for All sequel.

The anonymous Raw GM angle is in the same category as those mistakes. It belongs on shows like Are You Serious?, not on Raw.

Let's just hope WWE makes this story a short one this time. 

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