Planet Kayfabe: (Still) Stale Old Stephanie Submitted by Kayfabe Candyass on 11/15/2017 at 10:48 PM
Planet Kayfabe: (Still) Stale Old Stephanie McMahon
by: 'KCA' Paul Matthews | @PlanetKayfabe
Greetings NoDQ-niverse you've landed on Planet Kayfabe. It's Survivor Series week and you can start to feel things pick up again on the WWE calendar as we inch closer to Wrestlemania. 2017 has been a bit of an up year for Raw after the last few pretty bad years. It's still 3 hours, but the show has managed. Kurt Angle has been a fine babyface authority figure on a brand starving for one. Enzo Amore isn't for everyone but he's at least made the crusierweight segments more than a bathroom break with his promo work that is some of the best in WWE today. The Shield reunion has everyone happy and even Roman Reigns is getting a decent pop. The Miz is continuing the success he found last year on Smackdown and even announced that he will be a father on this show. Yep. Things sure have been pretty fun lately on Raw.
And then Stephanie McMahon showed up.
Right in time for Survivor Series she plasters her stale old face as the driving force of an angle that would have been just fine without her, but whatever. Stephanie shows up after the Smackdown #undersiege invasion of Raw and even if you missed it, I'm sure you know the story.
She comes out, bellows at her babyface counterpart. Dangles his job over his head and routinely goes off script to get in a few cheap jabs because she's the only one that won't get heat for doing so in this era.
Oh boy. Isn't that exciting??? There's a few apt analogies in my head to sum up Stephanie McMahon returning to television. When her music hit and the crowd barely reacted and the production staff struggled to find a couple geeks clapping for her arrival all I could do was laugh. Stephanie returning was like when you have a substitute teacher who is having fun with the kids and everyone is having a good time not causing any trouble and then the 80 year old principal comes in, sits down and crosses her legs in the class room just to make sure everyone stays quiet even though the class wasn't doing anything wrong and were still getting their work done despite maybe being more upbeat that usual.
Of course once again this angle has to be all about the McMahons, but on the Raw side specifically about Stephanie McMahon and AGAIN it is all about her dangling the General Manager job over Kurt's head just like she did with Mick Foley for months before he was out.
It is painful to watch. Everything I have hated about Raw since 2013 has directly involved this shrieking old bellowing broad and her stale act that she's been doing on TV since the days where internet fans would sit on their computers for a half hour hogging up their parents' phone line while their dial-up service downloaded a beach shot of Trish Stratus on their computers.
You might read that and think "well, she must have heat" and assume that's all that matters. Heat means diddly dick if it creates no interest and has no payoff. I don't think Stephanie slapping any of the wrestlers and cutting the same boring ass 20 minute promo every week has ever sold one extra live ticket or PPV buy and considering she's always portrayed as the strongest character on TV, all that heat everyone hangs their hats on means nothing when no babyface ever gets one up on her. It's been said before and I know I'm not the first but it's true. Stephanie McMahon is the wrestling equivalent of blueballs. All this shrieking and bellowing and slapping and taunting and job dangling means nothing except when she's accidentally put through a table at the biggest show of the year or some nonsense.
Just because someone gets heat, it doesn't mean the crowd gives a flying rat's ass about what they are seeing, just like how any halfway decent wrestler can go on the mic and get a pop for calling guys like Cena and Reigns corporate golden boys and mention the locals sports team for a pop. It doesn't mean the crowd is really invested in them and no one is really invested in Stephanie McMahon because we know where this all leads -- NOWHERE!
Some like to say Stephanie is like the female Vince McMahon and every time I hear that I howl with laughter. Of the McMahon family, Vince is the best on-screen performer and you know what? It's not even close. Vince is one of the best heels in wrestling history. His kids are more or less just eating from the table that he set. It may seem like an unfair assessment, but it's true. Stephanie is a one-trick-pony who was fine at first when paired up with Triple H during a time when Hunter was the hottest heel in wrestling and the WWF was at it's hottest as a whole. Shane is fine. He's an above average promo (although after his pep-rally on Smackdown, I may take him down a few points) but his claim to fame is showing up every once in a while to work a match based around one high spot. Shane however, like Vince would always get his in the end as a heel.
Stephanie on the other hand we never get that pay off. All we get is her massive ego stroke and the combines product of a bunch of geek writers sucking up to her making her the strongest character on TV. You want to make her strong to the public? Fine. At least turn her babyface so the crowd can at least get behind her and we also don't need to see her same old stale routine everyone has grown tired of and hasn't earned WWE one net dollar of interest. As a heel she always comes out on top and because she's a woman no one can touch her. The Shield isn't going to triple power-bomb her. Braun Strowman isn't going to powerslam her through the Spanish announcer's table. Kurt Angle isn't going to suplex her to the mat and slap her int he ankle lock. No. They all have to sit there like a bunch of emasculated geeks while she steals their heat to get herself over berating them with the same stale dialogue with her finger pointed in their faces while they stand there like dumb asses and just take it because that's what they're told to do.
That's why it's so baffling to me when people compare Stephanie to Vince. Go back and watch the Attitude Era. I recently did last year and while Vince was hot and getting in everyone's face and throwing his weight around, I also saw this guy take Stunners, chokeslams, Tombstones, Mr. Socko claws to the mouth upon a list of other embarrassing on-screen moments that the crowd ate with a spoon. The fans loved it because they knew no matter how over-the-top and overbearing the Mr. McMahon character became, eventually it would end with him pissing his pants or getting a beer bath or getting a bed pan whacked over his head and the fans got their eventual payoff to having to sit through promo after promo of Vince throwing his weight around and screwing over fan favorites.
Vince McMahon on TV whether as a babyface or a heel was willing to take the fall. We most recently saw him at 72 years old take a stiff headbutt to the forehead by Kevin Owen that caused him to bleed. Many of your favorite Attitude Era moments were built around someone, usually Austin, making Vince McMahon's day miserable. Even though he wasn't a wrestler, there was always a pay-off. We aren't going to see Stephanie enter a salad steel cage with Roman Reigns so what is the point of having her on TV? It doesn't end up anyway. It is just this endless cycle of her coming out and stealing someone else's heat just to make herself look strong all the while protected behind both her gender and position with the company. Like I said, she can improvise and bury someone while others have to follow the script. Even the legendary Dusty Rhodes himself got heat for going off script in a promo segment with Stephanie a few years back on a September 16, 2013 edition of Raw when he got in her face on TV and she was left a bit thrown off on live TV.
Is she all bad? No and if you think I'm being too hard I'll say this. The woman has a presence, but her act as a heel is tired and stale. Especially since there is never a payoff to her heel antics, there's only so far you can go with her. Yet, because in real-life she is Vince McMahon's daughter and one of the top 2 or 3 figures in the company the viewers are left to watch her pointless segments that serve no purpose other than to make her look good. If the WWE turned her babyface we wouldn't have to worry about payoffs and heat stealing and her getting physically involved with male wrestlers by slapping them in a PG era where they can't do anything in return. She could just be there to show up once in a while, like Vince, and play a small role in controlling the show as an on-screen authority figure minus the over-the-top heel persona that unless you're just a huge mark for Stephanie McMahon, I don't see how any actual fan watching on TV or live in the arena can enjoy it.
But... where's the fun in that? As a heel she can pretty much come out and do whatever she wants and who is going to tell her 'no'? I already wrote a whole column about how this company right now is probably the worst at booking babyfaces than ever in its history and I bet if you trace back Raw segments over the years you can see plenty of examples of this guy maybe catching some momentum starting to get over just to have his balls and dick chopped off by Stephanie in the middle of the ring capped off by a smack. Then their momentum goes right down the f***ing toilet and who does it benefit? Anyone other than her? It certainly doesn't benefit WWE to have weak babyfaces that have to have their grapes shrivel into raisins at the foot of the "Queendom" and her weekly ego fit.
Last year we had to watch the WWE Hall of Famer, hardcore legend himself, Mick Foley, be reduced to a shell of a man before Stephanie McMahon on a weekly basis. Now it appears she has returned to take down an Olympic gold medalist. It's just... UGH!!! Come on? Why do we have to do this all over again? If they want to do Kurt Angle vs. Triple H at Wrestlemania fine -- FINE! Do it. They can do it themselves. They're a couple of the best in WWE history and also a couple of their biggest stars and that's all it is going to come down to is them two in the ring. We don't need this constant portrayal on television that anyone who isn't a McMahon or Triple H is an inept authority figure who crumbles under the pressures of the position while the strong Stephanie McMahon comes out with her face painted on for your HD viewing pleasure in 2017, going into 2018 doing the same old shtick she's been doing since 2000 when she was in her early 20's.
There's my thoughts on Stephanie's big return. Like The Solomonster dubbed it on his podcast, it was the return no one asked for and no one wanted to see. I saw a few comments on YouTube from people who were actually happy to see her back.
If you're one of them feel free to comment why because I think any of the 4 or 5 people watching to popped for her return simply did it out of blind nostalgia. Her character is a total cancer on this program and like I said about a thousand times already it doesn't benefit the show or WWE. Just her character.
I hope that's clear. When I talk about Stephanie McMahon, that's who I am talking about. The character. Not Stephanie Levesque, mother of 3, wife of Paul Levesque who does all these charity rallies and blah blah blah. I don't know that person. I'm a fan watching this damn show on TV and that's what I am commenting on -- the character. If a character serves no real purpose, it shouldn't be on the show. For all I know the recently released James Ellsworth was a great guy too, but it was clear that his time was up a while ago and he made the most out of a short run. That doesn't mean I enjoyed his on-screen persona after a while once the novelty of his act wore off.
Everything has a shelf life. Even Stephanie McMahon and considering how much TV time she has hogged up since, not even her whole career, just since 2013 and her return after being gone since Wrestlemania got about as little a reaction as a personality as featured as she can get I think it is safe to say this show was doing just fine in 2017 without her on it.
Thank you again for reading Planet Kayfabe. If you have a question, comment or idea for a future column, comment below and follow me @PlanetKayfabe on Twitter.
Until next time, enjoy NXT War Games and Survivor Series. I'll be back with a review next time. For NoDQ I'm Paul Matthews. Take care.