John Laurinaitis (did you know that he’s the Executive Vice President of Talent Relations and the interim RAW GM?) had his job review on RAW this week and was about to be fired when he was saved (inadvertently) by the arrival of the Undertaker. While Laurinaitis spoke to the crowd and apologised for his actions, he was booed mercilessly. This led me to wonder whether Laurinaitis deserves this vitriol.
A lot of people are comparing his feud with WWE Champion CM Punk to the feud between Vince McMahon and Stone Cold Steve Austin but there are a lot of differences between the two. The only similarity between Laurinaitis and McMahon is that they don’t believe the current WWE Champion is the right face for the company. With McMahon, he had to deal with a person who was a beer drinker and hell raiser who was the complete opposite of the WWE were during the late 80’s and early 90’s. With Laurinaitis, he is dealing with a person who left the company with the WWE Championship and I feel that Laurinaitis doesn’t understand why the fans are cheering a man who disrespected the company by his actions. Not only that, but Punk’s actions had extremely significant consequences involving the upper echelons of the company. In a way, it can be argued that Punk’s actions over that time were far worse than Austin ever did in his feud with McMahon. If you think about it, yes, Austin did continually embarrass Vince McMahon but did Austin ever leave the company with the WWE Championship? Did Austin ever deliver a promo in which he tore through the entire company breaking “the fourth wall”?
John Laurinaitis’ actions since becoming interim RAW General Manager haven’t really been that bad. Laurinaitis is not the head of the company. He may have a lot of power in that company but he is effectively middle management. Laurinaitis doesn’t have any beef with any of the wrestlers except for Punk and, for the reasons that I mentioned earlier, that’s understandable. Nor has Laurinaitis given any favouritism to any wrestlers recently. I know that Laurinaitis was supportive of Kevin Nash, R-Truth and The Miz last year, but that was to help him become interim RAW General Manager. Since then, especially with The Miz, he hasn’t been supporting them as they are no longer needed to help him. As for Dolph Ziggler, Laurinaitis has not shown any favouritism towards him either. Ziggler is effectively a pawn in Laurinaitis’ feud with Punk only because he doesn’t want Punk to be the WWE Champion. The only person that has legitimate beef with Laurinaitis is Triple H. It was obvious (not wrestling obvious where it’s all revealed as if we’re 5 year olds) that Laurinaitis was helping Miz and R-Truth distrupt things with Triple H, which resulted in Laurinaitis getting his current position.
Laurinaitis is not as bad as people think. I mainly think that the reason that the fans boo him is not only of his feud with arguably the number one person in the company, it’s because of his real life role as Executive Vice President of Talent Relations. It doesn’t help that he took over from the extremely popular Jim Ross. One of his responsibilities is releasing people and wishing them well in their future endeavours. He has released a lot of good talent over the years (Mickie James and Gail Kim come to mind as they’re two of the best female wrestlers around at the minute) but that’s not entirely his fault. If the Creative Department don’t have anything for you, no matter how talented you are, there is a high chance that you will be released.
In summary, I say give Laurinaitis a chance. He has made mistakes and is a jerk but what boss isn’t? At least he is man enough to admit them and try to rectify them. Plus, he has given you some good moments and matches over the last few months. How is that a bad thing?