For as long as wrestling has been around, there have been heels that work the crowd into a frenzy. Why would you have wrestlers purposefully draw the ire of the audience? Because people will then pay money to see them get beaten up by the hero of the hour.
Over the last few years it has been tough for heels to remain hated. When everyone knows what they are saying is scripted, or at the very least just a character talking, it is hard to create real dislike. There is also the problem that a good heel ends up winning the respect, and thus the support, of the audience. Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens were positioned as heels for the second half of 2016, but they were so damn funny that they rarely got booed.
This is true for all but one person: Stephanie McMahon.
The qualities of Stephanie
From a purely objective point of view, Stephanie McMahon is a very good heel. She draws a more negative reaction than even Roman Reigns did. Her promos are very good. She has great delivery and brilliant presence.
The name McMahon brings weight with it, and adds a lot of importance to whatever angle she is working. However, there is a massive shortcoming with Stephanie both as a character and as an objectively good heel.
We never see her get her comeuppance.
Lack of consequences
The last time Stephanie was in a match it was SummerSlam 2014 against Brie Bella. The Daniel Bryan-Triple H feud had morphed, for a number of reasons, into a Brie-Steph one, and so they had a match. In such a one off you’d think that the babyface would finally get one up on the evil heel, especially when the babyface is a wrestler and the heel isn’t, but what happened? Stephanie looked strong, Nikki Bella turned heel on her sister, and Steph won.
At the last two WrestleManias she has taken a bump, but those have been as Triple H’s second, not as a result of her own actions.
Where heels normally see a consequence for their harsh words or cheating ways, Stephanie soars above it all in a way that simply leads to frustration and the continued belittlement of wrestlers.
Where in 1998 and onwards Steve Austin would constantly come out on top of Vince McMahon and make the boss the punchline of the shows, today the entire roster seems to have to make Stephanie look strong. Babyfaces aren’t allowed to fight back on the mic, she slaps wrestlers without any fear of repercussion, and while these are very heelish acts that gain heat, the fact that she never ends with egg on her face put her in the category of people I just don’t want to see on my screen, especially for 20 minute opening promos or in the main event scene.
With Survivor Series marking the start of WrestleMania season and a build to an inevitable Triple H vs Kurt Angle, we are going to see more and more of Stephanie in the coming weeks and months. She is already belittling Kurt and taking the show over. After nearly two decades of McMahonamania on WWE TV, it has just become too much. The beautiful reprieve of a face Shane on SmackDown letting the wrestlers be the focus ended with his insertion into the AJ Styles-Kevin Owens feud, and now a blissful six months of McMahon-free Raw is over as well. I’m not watching Raw until Stephanie disappears again.