With the Raw and Smackdown Commissioners now locked in place by Vince McMahon on Raw this week, we have the promise of Shane & Stephanie McMahon appointing “General Managers” for each show on next week’s Raw ahead of the WWE draft on 19th July.
So who are the likely candidates for these General Manager roles? We have seen a raft of previous GM’s and commissioners trotted out over the past few weeks, from John Laurinaitis to Vickie Guerrero and Teddy Long, but they aren’t serious contenders. Here are the big names that could be in play….
1. Triple H
We haven’t seen The Game on WWE TV since he lost to Roman Reigns at WrestleMania, could this be the time we see him return in his suit to continue his heel authority role? It’s very possible. Putting aside the on-air story line for a moment, Triple H is heavily involved with NXT and steering them through what is likely to be a major shift over the next few months as their talent pool gets sucked dry by Raw and Smackdown. However, he has been able to juggle TV and NXT duties before. He would probably be Stephanie’s #1 choice for GM, and it is noticeable that we haven’t seen he and Shane in the same ring yet. With Shane transitioning off of Raw and onto Smackdown now the coast is clear for the heir-apparent to come back as Shane departs.
2. William Regal
This would be much more of a Shane McMahon pick than a Stephanie McMahon one. Regal had a wonderful run as a heel commissioner through 2000 & 2001, but it’s his current on-screen job of NXT General Manager that makes me think Regal would be perfect for Shane’s Smackdown. On NXT Regal is the perfect neutral manager of talent. He stops feuds getting out of hand by booking the guys in appropriate matches, gives people opportunities to impress but also comes down hard on heels who step out of line. He is terrific on the mic and well respected by all. Now his off-air role of trainer and passion for helping young talents improve may preclude him from taking a travelling role, but a Smackdown with William Regal would be a better Smackdown than one without.
3. Eric Bischoff
A wildcard, a maverick. Bischoff has been noticeable by his absence from the parade of former authority figures and while his current relationship with WWE is unknown he would be a very entertaining piece of the Monday or Tuesday night show. Bischoff is nothing if not a showman and with WWE having recently produced a whole series of shows around the “Monday Night Wars” and their continuous push to relate things back to the late 90’s and early 2000’s bringing Eric Bischoff back in would stay on that theme.
4. Paul Heyman
The Beast Incarnate’s manager has a lot of other irons in the fire and would be unlikely to get back on the road every week but he is still the best talker around and was the man behind the amazing success Smackdown had in 2002-2003 during the initial brand split. Kayfabe wise naming him as a brand’s GM might guarantee Brock Lesnar’s appearances on that show rather than the other, so there is a good driving force behind the idea.
5. Big Show
This one is a little out in left field, but hear me out. WWE is an extremely loyal company to people who reciprocate that loyalty. Big Show has been the most loyal wrestler the company have had in a long time. He is still there every week on TV, prepared to fill whatever role they need him to. Want someone to make a young face look tough? Put him against Show. Need a patriotic foil for the mean foreigner? Show is your guy. He may get chants of “please retire” from time to time but Big Show has been a key cog in the WWE’s on-air product for a while now. At the age of 44 it may be time to start transitioning him out of the ring but he is a talented talker and could still be that wrestler-come-boss figure that Triple H has fulfilled for so long, able to talk the talk in the backstage spots but also take the suit off and fight when the story demands it. It would be a surprise pick but one that might work quite well.