Monday Night Raw's ratings have been falling in recent weeks. Of course, the NBA & NHL playoffs, coupled with college baseball/softball tournaments, might have something to do with it, but try explaining that to WWE's senile chairman, Vince McMahon, the recipient of this week's Dunce Cap.
As we wrote here a while back, current WWE World champion Dolph Ziggler (real name: Nick Nemeth) was sidelined after suffering a concussion thanks to rival and former tag partner Jack Swagger on Raw. A couple of weeks later, Triple H (Paul Levesque) was given a worked concussion after an accumulation of blows to the head at Extreme Rules and on Raw. Swagger (Jake Hager) has been off the last two Mondays now due to a combination of real-life legal troubles, which prevented him from traveling with the troupe to Canada last week, and likely punishment from management for reckless, careless behavior in the ring.
However, because he doesn't know any other way----in his own warped mind, anyway----to try to boost ratings, McMahon, who will be 68 in August, decided to interject himself and daughter Stephanie (HHH's wife) into Triple H's storyline. With Raw in the shadows of WWE HQ last night, McMahon decided to turn himself and Stephanie heel in front of the home state fans, but that was the wrong move to make.
Stephanie is caught in the middle. On one hand, she knows Triple H wants to exact revenge on Curtis Axel (Joseph Hennig, son of the late Curt "Mr. Perfect" Hennig) for putting him on the shelf, since Brock Lesnar is on sabbatical for a couple of months, and with a slice of vengeance saved for Axel & Lesnar's manager, Paul Heyman. At the same time, Stephanie also realizes that, at 43, Triple H cannot afford any more major injuries and it may be time for him to hang up the tights and boots and spend more time with their three daughters.
The problem is that the storyline portrays Stephanie and Vince as being almost as bad, if not worse, than the villains in the ring. In this writer's opinion, at this juncture, that is wrong.
Lost in all of this is Ziggler, who was activated from the DL last weekend, but held off TV last night, when his real-life situation could dove-tail with the pretend injury of his boss (HHH is also a junior executive in the company), which, while it might gradually turn Ziggler into a babyface, it would serve well to educate viewers about the impact of concussions in sports (and sports entertainment), which has been magnified in recent years. If anyone on the roster could empathize with the latest McMahon family soap opera, it'd be Ziggler, who's much younger and is being counted on as one of the keys to the company's future. However, it's McMahon's ego that is getting in the way.
So, how would one go about rewriting this angle to make it seem more sensible and realistic? Well........
I'd put Stephanie in the tweener role here, trying to empathize with her husband's plight, while at the same time, weighing the pros and cons of sending him back into battle too soon after the concussion. I'd move Ziggler and storyline love AJ Lee into the tweener category as well, to test the waters of Ziggler turning babyface, which he's way overdue to do anyway, considering he's been a heel in every role he's played since being called up (as Nick Nemeth) in 2005, and I'd leave the mad chairman out of it. Period.
Eventually, Triple H will get his revenge on Curtis Axel and the rest of Heyman's mob. Now isn't the time, and it would be prudent to wait until November's Survivor Series PPV to extract that revenge. However, McMahon being McMahon, he doesn't have the patience to let the story play out correctly.
For letting his ego get in the way of common sense again, McMahon picks up the Dunce Cap. This one has a chin strap attached to it, so that Vince has to wear it in public to embarass himself for being so insensitive and blind to reality, especially when it's right in front of him.