Last week on Monday Night RAW, WWE chairman Vince McMahon appointed his children Stephanie and Shane as the Commissioners of RAW and Smackdown, respectively. This week, Stephanie and Shane followed that up by hiring Mick Foley and Daniel Bryan as their new General Managers. Tuesday night’s WWE Draft on Smackdown Live will kick-start the brand extension that has been talked about for months.
Ric Flair recently teamed up with MLW Radio to broadcast his latest podcast experiment, aptly named, The Ric Flair Show. Flair has been off WWE television ever since a storyline called for his daughter, Charlotte, to kick him out of her group. In his time away from the WWE, Flair has been filming a “30 for 30” documentary while also getting this podcast off the ground. In his latest episode, the Nature Boy commended WWE for their recent brand-split decision, but also had some concerns (Thanks to Wrestling Inc for the transcription).
“I can’t think of two better, more qualified people (Stephanie and Shane) to be running the shows. It’s just that when you do the draft, it’s all about depth because of the depth chart and everyone being healthy, so, I mean, in terms of entertainment value, I think that’s great. I just hope everybody stays healthy because once you start separating all the main players, it’s important that the rosters stay healthy.”
Health was a major concern for the WWE at the end of 2015, through the first few months of 2016. It would likely have been extremely difficult to execute a brand split with top stars like John Cena, Randy Orton, Seth Rollins, Cesaro, and Bray Wyatt missing from the roster. Orton is the lone top star yet to return, but he’ll be making an appearance on Chris Jericho’s Highlight Reel this Sunday at Battleground, in advance of his SummerSlam showdown with Brock Lesnar.
Lesnar was once again white-hot after dominating Mark Hunt at UFC 200, putting WWE in a perfect position to capitalize on that momentum. However, some of that shine has worn off due to the fact that Brock may have violated the Anti-Doping Policy before the fight. Nevertheless, it appears that violation won’t affect his status with WWE or at SummerSlam, and the match will go on as planned. Because of the big win over Hunt, many felt that Lesnar should go right back into the WWE Championship picture. Flair, however, doesn’t see it quite that way.
“I don’t know about putting the belt on him because I thought there was a void when [he was WWE Champion] because of his limited schedule. As far as SummerSlam goes, nobody thinks more of Randy Orton than I do, but I think Randy is in a bad place.”
The WWE announced the Lesnar-Orton SummerSlam match on July 7, giving them plenty of time to build the match. Another example of a potential long-term storyline would be spliced through the authority figures running both brands. Stephanie and Shane’s sibling rivalry appears headed to some kind of confrontation between Shane and Triple H. The two have yet to have any interaction whatsoever since Shane’s return this past January, but seeds have been planted over the last two weeks of RAW. Flair has taken notice.
“I’ve heard that. I’ve never asked and I probably should. I probably will [ask] next time I see Hunter. But, to me, that would be the natural [match to make]. That would be the great thing.”
Recent reports have suggested that Shane may not be on WWE television much longer, so building towards a match with his brother-in-law (perhaps at SummerSlam as well) would provide them with a compelling way to write him back out of the company.
[Photo by AP Photo/Jessica Hill]