Baron Corbin and 6 Better Raw GM Options Than Kurt Angle
After having so many issues in the past year, Stephanie McMahon finally removed Kurt Angle from his position as general manager of WWE Raw last week.
While the company has made it clear this isn't an official firing in real life or even in the storyline itself—Angle's dismissal has been referred to more as a forced vacation than a release—his absence will surely create a power vacuum.
Until Angle is reinstated—if that even happens—someone will need to step up and either seize or be granted control over Raw's operations as the new leader.
Given the importance of the role, it's vital WWE chooses someone capable of pushing storylines further as a captivating character. Thankfully, there are some interesting options available to fill that position.
Let's take a look at seven possible candidates who could be the next Raw general manager and may even surpass Angle at the job.
Constable Baron Corbin
Throughout the years, there have been countless authority figures given all sorts of titles and roles, from assistant to the managing supervisor Brad Maddox, to sheriff Steve Austin and president Jack Tunney.
Who's to say constable Corbin doesn't fit the bill just as he is, without having to become the official general manager in name?
This is the simplest, easiest, cheapest and most logical progression of the storyline as it stands, since Corbin was appointed by McMahon.
After all, why would there be a need to put someone else above Corbin if he's already doing her dirty work? Wouldn't that other person just get in the way and be less efficient?
Plus, Corbin has excelled in this role. It's given him a new lease on life since his career was floundering on the main roster.
Before this, he suffered a near-constant run of bad luck on SmackDown with every push like Money in the Bank and his United States Championship reign leading to ultimate failure.
Since being appointed as constable Corbin, his look has received an upgrade, his confidence has grown, he's getting more boos than ever, and he's remained a relevant member of the roster instead of someone lost in the shuffle.
The longer Raw goes with Corbin in charge, the more he can get in the way of the babyfaces such as Braun Strowman, Roman Reigns and Finn Balor, drawing increasing heat every week.
Then, if Angle is going to come back, the two can have a match and Corbin can either win the official GM position or be forced to relinquish his control.
Jason Jordan has been out of action for the majority of this year with a neck injury that doesn't seem to be getting better, unfortunately, leaving him with nothing much else to do.
According to Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (h/t Fightful), he's been shadowing the producers and studying how to get involved in the behind-the-scenes business of WWE, but his true calling could be taking on the general manager position on Raw.
Right out of the gate, he would be a heat magnet as he'd be taking over his father's spot and usurping the throne, essentially. It would come off as blasphemous patricide and the fans would not appreciate it one bit.
This would also coincide with his character when he took his leave, as he was heading in more of a heel direction and getting on the nerves of the WWE Universe.
Jordan is a good looking, bright-eyed former tag team champion and someone who could come off as the type of young go-getter McMahon would see potential in, as well as someone who is naive enough to be manipulated by the McMahon family.
If he's able to heal up enough to wrestle again, he could have a match against Angle and it would be twice as interesting compared to if they were just building off the familial story.
Sometimes, having a younger person in power freshens things up, and after having Angle and Mick Foley before him, a man such as Jordan could stick around in the position for some time and build a new legacy for himself.
With that being said, sometimes WWE just wants to put someone on the older spectrum into a general manager role just to keep them around and capitalize on their careers.
Out of the semi-retired crop of ambassadors currently employed by WWE, there may be no better option for that type of job than Big Show.
For the most part, he hasn't been a competitor this year, making only rare appearances in the ring. Instead, he's been focusing his efforts outside the arenas, working in a promotional capacity with the Special Olympics and other charitable causes.
Realistically, as GM he could still be a media guy just as he is now, since it would only be Monday nights and one Sunday a month that he would be needed on television.
Big Show has done it all in WWE and has the career behind him to justify considering him for a leadership role, giving the same credibility to him as Angle had going into his hiring.
On top of this, Big Show has repeatedly been in the mix as a stooge for the authority figures, working with Vince's Corporation as well as The Authority in the past. Why wouldn't they want to bring in someone they're familiar with?
Another major bonus for Big Show is that he's flip-flopped between babyface and heel so many times that it's hard to keep track. So, if a storyline calls for him to be more of a villainous or heroic character, he can fit the bill.
It might be time for Big Show to run the show and become the World's Largest General Manager.
John 'Bradshaw' Layfield
Even before leaving the commentary desk on SmackDown, John "Bradshaw" Layfield was involved in plenty of other projects outside of WWE operations, but he continues to come home now and then.
Most recently, he was a guest analyst for SummerSlam alongside Peter Rosenberg, where he got to take a few jabs at his partner and have some fun breaking down the card.
As great as it is to see JBL smiling and cracking some jokes, he's at his best when he's the rude, arrogant, power-hungry businessman. Does that not scream "Raw general manager?"
JBL is a company man. He's been endorsed by the brass in so many different ways as a legend, despite not yet being in the WWE Hall of Fame—but an induction is certainly on the horizon.
AJ Styles only recently surpassed his record as the longest-reigning champion in SmackDown history, but many will always view Layfield as a "wrestling god" and someone who could easily get the crowd riled up.
Since he brings that pedigree with him and the natural tendencies to be an antagonist, all it would take is for someone to hand him a microphone and he could set Monday nights ablaze with some biting promos, cracking the whip and asserting his dominance over the roster.
Then, in true JBL fashion, he'd smile and go about his business, delighting in being able to manipulate the field he no longer competes in.
He acted as the general manager of NXT after Dusty Rhodes before being replaced by William Regal, which shows there is a history of giving him this type of position and some major potential for him to fit more naturally into the role than someone like Angle, who has struggled since the start.
On August 13, Renee Young made history by being the first woman to call an entire episode of Raw. She did such a great job that in one night, she made it clear she deserves to have a spot on that table going forward.
For that to happen, someone would have to leave the booth, and Jonathan Coachman is the right man to take that exit, leaving him open for other positions like this general manager spot.
Coachman served as executive assistant from May 2006 to June 2007, when he was named Raw GM as a replacement for Eric Bischoff. In August 2007, he was fired by Vince McMahon and replaced by William Regal, but he continued to serve as his assistant until January 2008.
There's a certain lovable smarmy attitude that Coachman exudes, which allows him to be a fantastic corporate stooge who lets power go to his head.
Unlike the other options discussed so far, he also can be played for laughs, as he can be picked on and intimidated much more than someone who has held championship gold.
While Paige is on SmackDown trying to prove she's not to be messed with, Coachman could be the antithesis as the guy who can be pushed around and pressured into giving the babyfaces or heels what they want.
Threatening Angle isn't going to work, but bullying a lackey such as Coachman will always get pops, since he's a great foil to the more over-the-top Superstars in the company.
Coachman is a good minion, but if you're looking for a weasel, you have to set your sights on Paul Heyman.
Getting him to sign up for regular Raw appearances may be rather difficult, as he may not be interested in all that travel, but with Brock Lesnar spending the next few months or longer focusing on UFC, there's nothing else for Heyman to do in WWE.
He can't be paired with a babyface, as he'd turn them heel by being associated with them. Any heel that he'd become the manager to would also suffer from feeling like a discount Lesnar, so being in an authoritative role is the only option that works.
Thankfully, Heyman has proved himself in this regard not just in ECW but also on SmackDown from October 23, 2003 to March 22, 2004. He resigned from the position after being drafted to Raw, so why not have him pick up where he left off?
In this past year, we've seen several nods to Heyman having a working partnership with the evil McMahon family based on the leeway given to Lesnar as champion, so there's already a precedent set for him being in the same loop of corruption.
With Roman Reigns as the top of the food chain, it's also easy to see how Heyman could continue to be a thorn in his side until whenever Lesnar wanted to pop up and utilize that rematch clause he's still entitled to.
Let's also just be honest and admit that out of all the talkers in WWE, few match up to Heyman in terms of pure entertainment quality, so having him on the mic would be a big step up from Angle, who has continually stumbled over his lines.
Heyman brings to the part a guaranteed air of commitment, legitimacy from his previous experience, the dynamics of a scoundrel heel who is also an easy-to-intimidate wuss, and a deep knowledge of the inner-workings of the business to be able to help steer the direction of each storyline on Raw.
No General Manager Replacement
Finally, we should give serious thought to the idea of not replacing Angle at all and simply having no general manager whatsoever—not even an anonymous one behind a computer.
While it sounds like that would be counter-productive, sometimes tearing down structures allows for more freedom instead of breeding chaos.
The WWE Universe has become conditioned to follow the same patterns every week as the creative team have resorted to some elements as crutches, which become tiresome.
When was the last time an episode of Raw or SmackDown didn't begin with a 15- to 20-minute promo? How many times do we need an authority figure to come out to announce an impromptu tag team match after four people brawl?
These things are formulaic, and it would be a refreshing change of pace for the writers to have to think of alternative solutions to storylines and booking strategies than to keep going to the same well of putting it all on a fictional boss calling the shots.
In extreme scenarios, Triple H and Stephanie are still clearly in control as chief operating officer and Raw commissioner, respectively, so they can step in and call the shots if needed. Even Vince McMahon can make an appearance to put his foot down on rare occasions.
Having no general manager might be the best thing for Raw and a major step up from Angle just to avoid the repetition of that type of character being written into every single week of the show.
At best, it will force some creativity and could spawn some great new concepts. At worst, it will be so hectic that it will convince audiences a new GM is necessary, and when someone is cast in that role, they'll be worshipped even more for stepping in and righting the ship.
Anthony Mango is the owner of the wrestling website Smark Out Moment and the host of the podcast show Smack Talk on YouTube, iTunes and Stitcher. You can follow him on Facebook and elsewhere for more.