Wednesday 3 July 2013

Power Game

Over the last few weeks we've been "treated" to the latest in WWE's long line of McMahon family storylines. This time they're bickering amongst themselves over who's really, actually, properly in charge of the company. So far this has been limited to comedy segments involving Vickie Guerrero being given conflicting instructions by different members of the family (oh the hilarity!) but sooner or later it's going to escalate. What would be the point if it didn’t?

It's that escalation that stands the best chance of interesting me in this. The McMahon family have been put into so many stories about who's in charge over the years that it’s not especially interesting anymore. They're all worthwhile performers (particularly Vince) but it's not an interesting situation for any of them due to the familiarity.

What may set this current storyline apart is its goal. It currently looks like the ultimate plan is to have Triple H acknowledged as WWE's top boss on-screen. Internet rumours back the presentation up.

Vince stepping down is nothing new. I remember a pay-per-view main event in 1999 that stipulated Vince would have nothing more to do with the running of the company if Undertaker lost. Guess what! 'The Dead Man' did lose and Vince was back on screen within two weeks. The final month or so of the (awful) invasion angle in 2001 revolved around Vince losing power too, as did his subsequent feud with Ric Flair.

So, no, Vince's on-screen authority being threatened is nothing new. But what sets the current plot apart is the fact that Paul 'Triple H' Levesque is the man expected to replace Vince as head honcho in real life. If Vince is replaced by ‘The Game’ as the on-screen boss now there's a very good chance he won't ever get the spot back.

The next boss?

I don't think this story is designed to coincide with a true exchange of power behind the scenes. Triple H, and possibly Stephanie, may be moved into leading roles on-screen but Vince is going to be the man in charge until he's dead or physically incapable of performing the role. It’ll probably be the former.

Another intriguing aspect of the current storyline is that real life elements are reportedly being included. Beyond the obvious acknowledgement of Vince, Steph and Tripper being related we've had Steph telling the Divas not to interrupt her and on-air nods to a shouting match between Triple H and Daniel Bryan regarding the latter's stopped match with Randy Orton. Both of those events are said to have occurred backstage. If true it's another instance of WWE blurring the lines between their real life locker room and the fantasy product they televise, something I think should do more of.

How the story's going to get where it's going is unclear. It's also not particularly important right now. What is important is that WWE provide us with logical TV show plots that please fans, attract new regular viewers, and have decent endings. Right now they appear to be on track.

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