We’re two nights into the newest “new era” in the WWE. They’ve promised they’re going to listen to the fans, show us new talent, and present us new match ups. We’ve certainly seen hints of some of that, but one thing we’ve seen even more of is the McMahon family.
Stephanie, Vince, and Triple H were heavily featured on Raw last night. Shane McMahon and Vince were on SmackDown a fair amount tonight. While you can argue about how much time we need to see if this promise of listening to the fans will come to fruition, one thing we don’t need time to see is that more McMahons on our TVs isn’t the answer.
Let’s just take a look at their involvement tonight on SmackDown Live, a show that wasn’t really a problem creatively before this new “new era”:
- The show opened with Shane McMahon addressing the locker room in the “backstage speech” trope that is always more corny/lame than anything else. Worse off, the new McMahon structure means Paige loses her spot as GM. That’s crummy! Paige was really good in her position as the babyface authority figure. While they promise she’ll still have a role, I can’t imagine a role as prominent as decision maker.
- Vince McMahon interrupted an entertaining promo segment between Asuka, Charlotte Flair, and Becky Lynch. He chided Lynch and Flair for “whining” about their loss at TLC and told them to get over it and get their revenge (which is precisely what Becky was asking for given Ronda is a Raw talent). While he eventually set up a title match, this did nothing for Charlotte or Becky. He ran them down and they had no opportunity to save face. They looked worse after the segment than they did coming into it. Let’s remember that the “they” here includes the hottest act in the company and Charlotte Flair, who put her body through hell for us just two days ago. You can argue that Vince only gets involved in feuds he thinks are big, but when the talent looks worse as a result, it doesn’t matter. At least Kevin Owens got to headbutt the old man.
- Vince McMahon booked Miz in a tag match backstage when Miz was looking for Shane to work things out. To be fair, the Miz/Shane stuff wasn’t more than a comedy act so far, so adding Vince here didn’t detract from it. But Vince suddenly booking mixed tag matches for Miz felt like an abrupt turn in the story. Much like all the McMahon stuff, it felt shoehorned.
- When the Good Brothers and the Usos were about to have an impromptu match, the ring announcer had to specifically tell the audience that the McMahon family OK’d this match. Really? Is that necessary? Just let them have the match like what happens on wrestling shows all the time.
- Then there are the numerous times the announce team had to talk about the McMahons or all the change that we’re seeing. Please, show us. Don’t tell us.
This isn’t to say this was a bad show. It wasn’t at all. Mustafa Ali was in a main event with AJ Styles, Daniel Bryan, and Andrade “Cien” Almas and pinned the champion. That’s great and the type of thing many fans want to see. SmackDown Live was good, but it was good in spite of all the times the McMahons were seen or mentioned.
To a degree, I understand people giving this new “new era” time to unfold. But the fact that they thought one of the problems was “Not enough McMahons” is telling. Any time one of them is in a segment, they become the focus. The stories that are naturally unfolding take an abrupt turn when a McMahon has to have their say. The fact that this is the WWE product for the foreseeable future is worrisome.