Three years ago today, in the face of ratings and viewership numbers that WWE would now kill for, Mr. McMahon returned on Raw promising to shake things up. Vince brought along his son Shane, daughter Stephanie, and son-in-law Triple.
According to The Billion Dollar Princess, the McMahons hadn’t “been doing a very good job for you lately. We haven’t been doing the one thing that my father has always taught us to do, and that’s listen to our audience.” Dec. 17, 2018 marked a fresh start, she said.
Her husband told us the four people in the ring were going to give us what we want, “Something new. Something fresh.”
Now, there was a healthy dose of kayfabe in the McMahon’s declaration. They blamed storyline authority figure Baron Corbin for the problem’s with the Monday night show, annd were talking about taking over as on-screen power brokers. Everyone knew the reality was the backstage structure wasn’t going to change. Vince having the final say is — to steal a WWE tagline he himself used in this segment — then, now, and forever.
But the implication was that they actually would try a new approach. And they’ve undoubtedly tried a lot of things in the past three years. No matches lasting through commercial breaks. No more automatic rematches. Eric Bischoff & Paul Heyman as Executive Directors. Raw Underground. Perhaps most importantly, there’s another pro wrestling/sports entertainment company touring the country and airing on a major television network. That last one, we’ve heard, will bring out the best in Vince, just like WCW did in the 1990s.
Does the product feel any newer or fresher, though? Do you feel that WWE is listening to you? Giving you what you want?
I know my answer, and on the third anniversary of this new era of Raw and SmackDown, I figured I’d get yours, too.