For anyone watching WWE in recent weeks, it can’t have escaped their attention that the McMahon family are beginning to get more air time and for good reason. Shane has been involved in a verbal spat with Kevin Owens for a while now, even in his role as Commissioner of Smackdown Live. Since that feud has escalated recently, the patriarch of the McMahon family, Vince, has also been on TV. It led me to think; is it a good thing when the McMahon family become involved in story lines? Does it make a difference and if so, how positive is their involvement? Let’s explore the family and their impact on WWE programming as individuals.
The aforementioned Smackdown Commissioner is universally popular with WWE fans the world over. The reaction he received from his absence from WWE certainly proved that. Shane is different to the rest of the McMahon clan in that he’s not afraid to put his words into action in a WWE ring. Though he certainly carries himself with the aura and personality of his father; the stern, never back down attitude and a firm belief that family is paramount, he’s seen as the exception rather than the rule when it comes to the owners of WWE. Fans know a Shane McMahon match guarantees a high spot that will blow your breath away and likely end with his opponent victorious. Shane’s ability to build physical matches with skilled opponents elevates feuds to another level and rarely is Shane the heel in any match. He’s the foil to make the opponent bigger and better by surviving a war with Shane-O-Mac.
The jester in his own court, Vince’s exploits in WWE are borderline legendary. A two time WWE champion, Royal Rumble winner and serial antagonist of big name talent, Vince has seen and done it all. Though he may be slowing down in recent years – the guy looks incredible for 72 – his involvement, though limited in this era is equally as impactful, if not more, than any other of the family. It’s important to remember how vital Vince’s involvement in WWE story lines has been over the years. It’s not a case of the boss putting himself on TV just for his own pleasure, he’s been instrumental in getting talent over. Everyone knows Stone Cold Steve Austin was probably the biggest star in WWE history, but how much of Austin’s story lines involved Vince in some way? Same could be said about other huge names; Mick Foley, Triple H, the Rock, Shawn Michaels, Undertaker the list goes on.
His recent interaction with Kevin Owens was typical of what we’ve come to expect from the main man in WWE. How he told Owens to really head-butt him hard in order to draw heat, put the angle over and more importantly, boost viewing figures for WWE. Vince isn’t wheeled out every time a wrestler needs a boost in a feud, no, he’s used sparingly and the track record for his involvement reads well – typically elevating a star or feud beyond the run of the mill and into something special. That said, Vince is only the first step in the elevation of Kevin Owens right now. The head-butt and Shane match only serves to draw in the next McMahon…..
Steph wields the power on WWE TV, and we all know it. I love the character Stephanie portrays and how she toys with the roster just to get what she wants, or what she thinks the WWE Universe wants. My only issue with Steph doing all these things and more is that she never really gets her comeuppance. Both Shane and Vince can involve themselves in matches to get their asses handed to them or take a beating to further an angle, but Steph rarely has, and in the current day and age, is likely to never get it. It’s not that Steph is a woman goading men, but her threats to the superstars never seem to carry any weight as she’ll never be the direct recipient of any payback. It’s a shame as I think she can play the loser wonderfully on TV – as proven by her mocking of Vickie Guerrero on her final appearance. One of my favorite heels ever, Vickie launched Steph into a pool of mud, leaving the billion dollar princess a blubbering mess which was well received. Steph is important to WWE, but on TV she could be more vulnerable to have us really rally behind the target of her actions. Then again, if any man ever lays their hands on her, they’d feel the full wrath of……..
Married into the McMahon clan, Triple H can be a blurred line in any WWE feuds or story lines. Many fans know and deeply appreciate his hard work and dedication in making NXT the tremendous show it is, bringing us young, hungry stars of the future each week. The level of his involvement in the backstage and business aspects of WWE leave him little time to be in front of the camera, and I think he doesn’t mind that one bit.
In any feud with the McMahons, Triple H is the final stage, the last boss to defeat in the pursuit of whatever the WWE star wants to achieve, and it won’t be on a Monday Night Raw or Smackdown Live. No, it’ll be on a big PPV, high up the card, such is the pedigree (no pun intended) that The Game carries. He’s just as vital in putting over wrestlers as Shane or Vince are. The McMahons may portray themselves as a dysfunctional, bickering and turbulent family at times, but once you step back and see the bigger picture, it’s clear to see they’re a WWE device to push talent, get stars over and build feuds. The fact that they’re used sparingly tells you just how much stock they put into any performer they involve themselves in. Right now that stock is invested heavily in Kevin Owens which is fantastic. It could just as easily be AJ Styles, but for me, Owens is the heel that will benefit tremendously from the McMahon factor. Kevin Owens vs Triple H sometime in 2018 at a big PPV? Yes please.
What do you think? Are the McMahons as on-screen talent that important in WWE now? Was I too hard on Steph’s role, or do you agree? Is Triple H the end game for Kevin Owens? I’d love to hear your thoughts. As always, thanks for reading.