By the time you read this, John Laurinaitis may have been fired by Mr. McMahon on tonight's edition of Raw or joined his Kiss My Ass club, but what we do know for sure is that he's been quietly removed from WWE's list of executive officers from their corporate website. As so often happens in professional wrestling, life has imitated art with Laurinaitis losing his backstage role of Executive Vice President of Talent Relations at the same time that he's in jeopardy of being kicked out off his onscreen position as Raw General Manager.
His replacement is Paul Levesque, also known as Triple H, whose job title is now Executive Vice President of Talent and Live Events, meaning that he's taken over all of Laurinaitis' old job responsibilities. These include the booking of WWE's house show events, which may mean there will be changes forthcoming in their format.
It is expected that Laurinaitis will continue to have a job in the restructured WWE Talent Relation department working under Triple H, though there has been no confirmation of this so far. Indeed, Laurinaitis has been answering to Vince McMahon's son-in-law ever since Hunter was made the EVP of Talent in July 2011. So these changes in job title may mean little difference in the day to day running of WWE and just formalise the real pecking order in the company's hierarchy.
So the writing has been on the wall for Johnny Ace for the last year, who largely kept his job for so long because there was no-one capable of replacing him until now. As Dave Meltzer wrote in the July 25th 2011 Wrestling Observer Newsletter, at the time he was made a TV character and Triple H's behind the scenes power was growing, people were openly speculating that he would soon be for the corporate chop:
Lots of whispers about John Laurinaitis and his long-term future. It's no secret that HHH is not a fan of Laurinaitis, and that Laurinaitis since the day he started has always been compared in a negative way by talent to Jim Ross. Laurinaitis is regarded as a very good politician and as noted before, there has been nobody groomed for the unique nature of the position, like Laurinaitis himself was groomed by Ross.
So this is likely a change for the better, even though Triple H is untested in the role. At the very least, this represents the most significant and symbolic management reshuffling for the product since Stephanie McMahon was made the head writer of the WWE creative team in late 2000. Hopefully Hunter will settle into his new job better than his wife did over eleven years ago.