Column: Al’s Vault – General Managers’ In Professional Wrestling
Al M – firstname.lastname@example.org
Edition #003 – Cheers and Tears!
There has been an amazing history of General Managers (GM) in the Wrestling World. It has been able to add a great aspect and piece of the puzzle to so many storylines over the past years. The root of “General Managers” began with the one and only Eric Bischoff. He was the first true authority figure to put himself into a main stream storyline. He single handedly revolutionized the way fans would see wrestling forever. Every week on WWE Programming you can see Bischoff’s finger prints all over each show, as each show has that “General Manger Role”. All a General Manager is that one person on a particular show or organization that makes all the decision or in many cases just disturbs the storyline. We have seen many variations of the General Manger Role being played out over the years for example: CEO Vince McMahon, Commissioner Foley, Commissioner Shawn Michaels, Owner Shane McMahon, Commissioner Austin, GM Eric Bischoff, so and so forth. Each and every angle would have never been so successful if Eric Bischoff didn’t revolutionize it and force the WWE (then known has the WWF) to put there best foot forward to make there programming superior to WCW. Essentially leading to WCW’s demise (hey, but that is a whole another topic that will be discussed at a later date, but as a fan it is difficult to do a true assessment of what happened at the end of WCW unless you were an actual WCW employee you can not determine exactly what went down even though all of us smart fans have a great understanding of what did happened).
Eric Bischoff was the unsung leader of the NWO. His storyline role as the leader ( or the General Manger of Today) was that he would look the other way when the NWO would run into a match; he would change world titles with no justification just because he could, he would make absurd matches, and created the wrestling world’s largest group of bada$$’s. The only thing that ever came close to the NWO was DX, and that couldn’t even top the NWO. While Vince McMahon was watching the success of the WCW he became desperate, and needed to find ways to compete with the WCW. So he brought himself into the storyline has the CEO of the company making the rules, setting the matches, and then getting stunned by a little known wrestler by the name of Stone Cold Steve Austin. Austin had a huge following imagine being able to kick your boss’s a$$ in every State that you traveled to. Everyone loved Austin’s “I don’t give a sh*t” attitude. This single moment in professional wrestling history where Austin stunned his boss will be always remembered as a significant part of wrestling history. And it goes to show how much a “General Manager” role in wrestling had (keyword: had) been so substantial to great storylines over the years. Here is a taste of “the Boss” Getting His A$$ Kicked:
It has been great over the years to see so many of the top players in the game in this role. The Alliance angle with Stephanie McMahon, Vince McMahon, Paul Heyman and Shane McMahon all were involved in that same type of “General Manger” role. JJ Dillion also was involved in a “General Manager” Role when he represented WCW against the NWO. The Nature Boy Ric Flair was Raw’s General Manager during the first Draft in History along side Mr. McMahon. The first ever Smackdown! featured HBK as Commissioner getting involved in the main event between The Rock and HHH. There as been so many great moments that has truly re-invented storylines and wrestling for that matter due to that simple role known to all wrestling fans as a General Manager. So many memories can not be summed up into a column, so this is just a taste of it. Here is one day that can be remembered as one of those great moments:
Today, we have General Manger’s still on a weekly basis controlling three different brands. There are so many mixed feelings. It is great to have that role, but three different people playing the same role is an overload. Why not have one credible person calling the shots in each brand. Heck you can see Raw Stars on ECW, ECW Stars on Raw, Smackdown! Stars on ECW the occasional Raw Star on Smackdown! And Smackdown! Star on Raw (so each brand is connected at any one time). That is one way to go, personally it would be great to see a period with out GM’s in the wrestling world. Let the wrestler’s be wrestlers let them do what they do on the microphone and build a long storyline (similar to that of HBK and Jericho). They were able to be free, and that gave the wrestling fans the best storyline in years and still is today as at No Mercy they will be wrestling for the Title in a ladder match. A great example of good results with out a GM is a few months back when Vince McMahon got “injured” after the million dollar giveaway. That month in a half or two without a GM was the best show put on in the WWE in quiet sometime. It also reflected in the ratings, Raw was pulling in 3.2 and 3.4 ratings during that time period. That is because things became more personal between the wrestlers without having a General Manager, CEO, Commissioner, Owner involved in the storyline (hence disturbing the storyline). Things are back to normal in the WWE and if there isn’t a change the low ratings will continue the drop. My vote is to take a break from the GM Role for a little while, 15 years of that role is enough. The fans want something new, and deserve it. What is your vote?
Do You Want This – The Easy Way Out To Start A Feud?
Or Do You Want This – Wrestlers Actually Working A Storyline (by themselves)?
This was another edition of Al’s Vault: Cheers and Tears which featured the Ups and Downs of General Managers in the World of Professional Wrestling.
I would personally like to thank each and every one of you that have shown your support for me and my family during these trying times. Thank you so much for your well wishes and prayers.