Vince McMahon and Family as Authority Storyline Isn't the Cure to WWE Raw Woes

Kevin Wong@@kevinjameswongFeatured ColumnistJanuary 10, 2019

Credit: WWE.com

On the December 17 episode of WWE Raw, the entire McMahon family—Vince, Stephanie, Shane and Triple H—appeared at the top of the show to say they would be taking a more hands-on role backstage. Triple H, in particular, emphasized that they were listening to the fans.

It was a sort of "worked shoot" promo that operated on two levels. In kayfabe, then-Raw interim general manager Baron Corbin was abusing his position, gaining the upper hand on petty grudges by making lopsided, unfair booking decisions.

There was a grain of truth to this segment as well, though. Corbin (the performer, not the character) had been scripted poorly and redundantly, in a way that made it impossible for him to succeed. He had been paired with Drew McIntyre and Bobby Lashley, who are both too powerful on their own to need help, even in fiction.

The Constable's character was involved in too many people's business and was present in the majority of the show's segments. That's inexcusable on a loaded roster where many performers never get to show their faces on television, let alone be central characters.

Combine that with Dean Ambrose's knockoff Bane tribute and a women's division that is spinning its wheels until WrestleMania season, and you have a recipe for bad results.

The December 3 episode of Raw was the lowest rated in the history of the red brand, until it was supplanted in that dubious honor by the December 10 edition, per Fightful. So the McMahon promo had the effect, at least from a practical standpoint, of wiping the slate clean.

However, one thing the McMahons should not do is remain on television as the replacement Authority figures. It's nice to see Vince on TV, but this will also wear thin eventually. The playbook has been run to death. And it's time to refocus on the performers rather than the palace intrigue among the ruling family.

When Vince McMahon began involving himself in WWE storylines as a money-hungry, evil boss from hell in 1997, he—along with narrative foil "Stone Cold" Steve Austin—elevated the company to one of its highest levels of popularity.

However, that was an exceptional time in WWE history that demanded an exceptional solution. Between the Montreal Screwjob and the working-class appeal of Austin, the conceit made sense.

Even when Daniel Bryan battled The Authority in the lead-up to WrestleMania XXX, it made better sense. He had been booked as a "B-plus player," and it was necessary to give that backstage sentiment some physical, literal kayfabe form. 

But now, two decades after the original gimmick, which has cycled between dozens of Vince stand-ins, it's getting long in the tooth.

After the Superstar Shake-up in 2016, Cesaro expressed frustration with the continued focus on backstage Authority figures rather than the performers in the ring. His point still stands today.

There doesn't need to be this mediator in a suit and tie who is making things happen. The performers themselves and the conflict they generate on their own should be at the forefront of any narrative. And any "Authority" should be a Jack Tunney figure, one with no affiliation.

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