What’s best for business, or what’s best for themselves?
It landed oddly on the viewer weeks ago when Stephanie McMahon, normally the biggest heel in the entire company, came out to champion the Divas revolution by introducing Sasha Banks, Charlotte and Becky Lynch to the main roster. It landed equally as odd at NXT Takeover: Brooklyn.
Sometimes it seems as though the characters Stephanie McMahon and her partner in crime Triple H portray on screen in the WWE can’t decide whether they are villainous overlords or benevolent leaders.
The power couple of the big Fed straddle a character division between what perhaps can be referred to as “Old Vince” personas and “Mr McMahon” personas.
In their “Old Vince” voices, they promote sports entertainment to the world at large, putting over their talent and pandering to the viewing public.
Donning their “Mr McMahon” facades, they each tote the gimmick of evil corporate bosses, keeping down the little guys, squashing the babyfaces, and claiming that they know better than the fans what is “best for business”.
Vince McMahon himself, the “chairman of the board”, solely committed to only one of these personas at a time. For years he played the bland and objective reporter putting over baby-faces and condemning despicable actions, before fully embracing the ruthless and greedy owner of WWE hell-bent on destroying anything good and over.
H and Steph, on the other hand, seem to prefer keeping one foot in each plot.
One night on Raw they will stand behind Seth Rollins and his heelish ways, scowling whenever someone of moral fortitude challenges their Authority.
The next night on Smackdown, they will invite the WWE Universe to submit themselves for Tough Enough with an inspirational speech, or campaign for women’s rights, or rally for cancer cures.
Heels don’t typically grant Make-A-Wish Foundation wishes, but H and Steph are not typical heels. They are heels who don’t have as much ease when it comes to separating their public personas from their narrative characters.
How can the Triple H who betrayed Daniel Bryan and vowed to end the “Yes” Movement be the same Triple H who encourages and fosters the development talent of tomorrow?
How can the Stephanie McMahon who slapped The Rock and then hid behind her position, power, gender and husband be the same Stephanie McMahon who wants to bring a revolution to women’s wrestling?
The Authority angle has been a good one and quite effectively heelish, but if they want to continue being a dominant villainous influence, they have to sacrifice a bit more publicity when it comes to their “good works”.
If H wants to be the face of the WWE Network, if he wants to be the kind and nurturing father of NXT, he needs to put someone else in charge of the Authority when it comes to Raw and Smackdown, the way Vince did with his general managers.
Conversely, if he wants to continue to be the big bad wolf shoveling “what’s best for business” instead of what’s good for the fans, he needs to give up and pass around a few of those more grandiose moments like the one he seemed to enjoy way too much at NXT Takeover: Brooklyn.
Same with with Stephanie McMahon. If she wants to be the evil corporate heiress, she can’t be on the side of individualist fan favourites like Becky Lynch or Paige. She must carry on that vile character she appeared to love playing only one year ago against Brie Bella at Summerslam.
If, on the other hand, she wants to be a champion for change and equality and the children and the under-priviledged, she needs to pass up her iron-fisted bitch position to someone else, perhaps promoting someone like Nikki Bella or Lana to the throne.
This split-personality presentation reeks of ego. The power couple seems to want the best of both worlds, to be top heels and top faces at the same time – to get all of the heat and all of the pops.
Ask anybody in management: sometimes, what’s best for business is to allocate responsibility instead of micro-managing.