After a long hiatus, Vince McMahon has recently re-emerged on Raw.
While he was removed from power by the Board of Directors 18 months ago due to his incompetence (hey, anyone remember that angle?), WWE has presented McMahon as being solidly back in charge.
Now a babyface, McMahon has been making life miserable for Raw Managing Supervisor Vickie Guerrero, often overturning her heel-favoring decisions and forcing her to institute fairer rulings.
He’s also clashed with CM Punk, as he attempts to stop the WWE champion from weaseling out of his scheduled and long-awaited title match with Ryback.
Involving McMahon again is a smart move, because the man is simply a massive asset for WWE’s flagship show.
First of all, he is a proven ratings draw. Notably, his return in October helped Raw rebound from an abysmal rating the previous week (via PWTorch). He’s been doing good numbers since then, too (via CageSideSeats).
McMahon’s enduring appeal is easy to explain.
Thanks to his legendary feud with Steve Austin in the ‘90s, a large portion of the audience will always see him as someone worth tuning in for. He has star power in spades.
He’s also been such an integral part of the story lines for so long that when he does show up, viewers instantly know something major is going to go down on television. Hence why they stick around to see what he will do.
McMahon also remains a terrific performer who helps improve a lukewarm and stagnant Raw product. Age has not diminished his fantastic verbal skills and dominating screen presence one little bit.
His verbal spat with Punk and Heyman on last week’s Raw was, in particular, tremendous. He’s brought an energy back to the show that it was lacking before.
The 67-year-old's gutsy willingness to take hard bumps, notably in his most street-fight brawl with Punk in October, is also admirable. (Although it is unwise, considering the potential risks).
Of course this isn’t to suggest there is no downside to featuring Vince so heavily.
For one thing, his presence clutters up a show already filled with too many authority figures. He also serves to make Vickie redundant. Why even bother having her as Raw Managing Supervisor if McMahon is just going to overturn all her decisions anyway?
There’s also the question of whether the company should be pushing Vince at the expense of the talent. Why is McMahon the one calling out Heyman and Punk all the time? Shouldn’t that be a role for Ryback? Hey, he’s the one challenging for the belt, after all.
At a time when WWE desperately need to create new stars, this over-reliance on McMahon could be seen as counter-productive.
However, this doesn't mean the company should refrain from using him at all. Certainly, as Raw struggles both creative and ratings-wise, the multi-talented McMahon can be an asset on television.
He just needs to be a part of the show; not all over it.