People Power is back! At least, that’s what this report from Wrestling Observer tells us.
Most WWE fans remember John Laurinaitis from his awkwardly awesome run as Raw’s General Manager early last decade (or maybe from his ongoing role as Daniel Bryan’s stepfather-in-law on Total Bellas, but that’s a whole nother story). But the man known as Johnny Ace stepped onto our screens from his real-world job as head of talent relations.
After taking over from Jim Ross in 2004, Laurinaitis held the job until he resigned in 2012. In the past few years he returned to WWE working a producer/agent, which is what he was doing when he took over for JR in the first place. Now, he’s again moving on up, reporting directly Executive Vice President of Operations Brad Blum.
It’s not clear from the Observer report what else is changing as a result of Laurinaitis’ promotion, but PWInsider says their sources tell them Mark Carano will now report to the 58 year old All Japan and WCW veteran. The Talent Development team will still be headed up by Paul “Triple H” Levesque and Canyon Cemen, and remain separate.
Aside from the “People Power” and “Mr. Excitement” jokes, reaction among fans seems to be focused on the perception that Laurinaitis first stint in talent relations coincided with the Divas era and is associated with things like bra-and-panties matches. There doesn’t seem to be any reason to believe he’ll have a ton of influence on how wrestlers are trained - or even who gets signed for the developmental pipeline, so there’s probably not a ton of reason for real concern there.
It seems more likely Laurinaitis will be the man to negotiate new contracts, and to implement/enforce things like the company’s controversial new social media and third-party engagement policies.
Good luck with that, Big Johnny.