When the WWE brand extension was announced, many fans expected that the reprisal of the sibling rivalry between Stephanie and Shane McMahon would lead to a big angle of some kind. Instead, Vince simply decided that Shane would run Smackdown Live, while Stephanie remained in power on RAW, as Commissioners. However, a bit of a surprise came shortly after when they were instructed to appoint their own General Managers, as well.
News leaked a week in advance that Shane would be hiring Daniel Bryan to help run things on Tuesday nights, allowing speculation to run longer over who Stephanie would choose. The most popular, and somewhat obvious, choice back then was Triple H. However, Stephanie hired a fan-favorite and WWE Hall-of-Famer in Mick Foley.
Recently, Foley had been making sporadic appearances for the company, most notably of which came during the build to Dean Ambrose’s match against Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania, and then WrestleMania itself alongside Steve Austin and Shawn Michaels when the three legends took out the League of Nations. But now, Foley is back in a full-time role, appearing every Monday night since the middle of July for an undetermined length of time.
It’s been noted on several occasions that on-screen GM’s Foley and Bryan will have little creative power moving forward, with Daniel acknowledging as much on a few radio appearances. In Foley’s first interview since being named General Manager of RAW, the Hardcore Legend told Tim Kail on The Work of Wrestling Podcast that despite the new title, he has little stroke behind the scenes (Thanks to Wrestling Inc for the transcription).
“The Raw GM opportunity came up and I was really glad my schedule was open. There are limitations to the role. People can read into that how they want to. I’m going to do my best being there on a weekly basis to make the show the best it can be. People listening to this show know the limitations to being the GM.”
The assumption is that the limitations that Foley is referring to is in the creative process. He might be an important decision-maker every week on television, but he is just playing a part assigned to him by Vince McMahon and other WWE officials. It couldn’t hurt the company to pick the brain of either Foley or Daniel Bryan, but as of now, they’re just playing characters on tv, acting out storylines written by other people.
One of those acts included Foley, Stephanie, and the RAW brand selecting Finn Balor with the fifth overall pick in the WWE brand extension draft. Balor made an immediate impact and is now challenging for the WWE Universal Championship in two weeks at SummerSlam. Foley guided both the hardcore and casual fan through Balor’s debut, highlighting how he’ll get even better after a few months.
“There were 4,000 out of the 12,000 there that knew who he was. Those 4,000 went crazy. Now when it comes down to doing his entrance only 1 of the 3 know the entrance. A lot of people just watch RAW. Not everybody knows Finn Balor and now they get a chance to watch him grow. Probably in four to six weeks the 1/3rd people participating in his entrance will become 2/3rd… I think the entrances are really interesting because they hearken back to the attitude era where there was audience participation and interaction. People get to do these entrances [you know] with the superstars.”
Thus far, Foley has basically made matches and had brief backstage segments during his time in charge. He and Daniel Bryan have made it abundantly clear that despite their high-profile roles, they want their shows to be about the superstars and the action. In his first real angle since the draft, Foley has invited Bryan to RAW in a kayfabe attempt to avoid any inter-promotional interference in light of the recent actions of Randy Orton and Brock Lesnar.
It will be worth watching how the Foley regime plays out this time around, as it’s not his first rodeo in an authoritative position.
[Image via WWE]