Speculation abounds concerning Laurinaitis’ fate
Forget about being saved by the bell. On Monday night, Interim Raw General Manager and Executive Vice President of Talent Relations John Laurinaitis was saved by the toll. Thanks to The Undertaker’s surprise return to Raw SuperShow, Laurinaitis was spared a very public firing by WWE COO Triple H. (PHOTOS | WATCH).
Or was he?
Sure, The Game appeared all but certain to dismiss the self-proclaimed “Mr. Excitement” prior to The Undertaker’s chilling return. Noting that Laurinaitis has fallen into the same trap as previous power-wielders, Triple H vented that Laurinaitis has let personal matters cloud his “already questionable judgment.” The COO also went on to explain that he has regained the confidence of the WWE Board of Directors and should Triple H want to return to Raw as its general manager, the spot is his for the taking.
Teeing it up perfectly, Triple H began, “Johnny, at this time, it truly warms my heart to let you know that I wish you well in all…” before The Phenom interrupted.
Technically speaking, the WWE Universe never got closure on the fate of Laurinaitis, and by all indications, he is still in possession of the powerful Interim Raw GM title. Yet, had The Phenom held off on his reappearance, or had Laurinaitis’ job performance been done in the privacy of Triple H’s Stamford, Conn., office, would an unemployed Laurinaitis assuredly be the result? Or is it naïve to assume The Cerebral Assassin was, in fact, planning to eighty-six the polarizing Laurinaitis?
As is often appropriate when a shred of uncertainty lingers, a little speculation serves to widen our perspective. With that in mind, WWE.com would like to offer a few possibilities of what Triple H planned to say.
“I wish you well in all of your WWE matches.” In recent weeks, both WWE Champion CM Punk and Triple H have alleged that Laurinaitis’ abuse of power stems from his regret of having never achieved WWE stardom. Once a highly respected in-ring competitor in Japan, Laurinaitis’ legacy stateside can pretty much be summed up in one of three ways: “flag bearer,” “Dynamic Dude” or “bootlicking suit.”
Is it possible that instead of simply firing Laurinaitis, Triple H was readying the Superstar formerly known as Johnny Ace for a full-time position on WWE’s already stacked talent roster? Perhaps The Game’s intentions are far more benevolent than they appear, and in actuality, he was only moments away from giving Laurinaitis the opportunity he’s so desperately craved.
“I wish you well in all of your increased duties as Raw’s permanent GM.” Improbable though it is, the possibility that Triple H set out to actually promote Laurinaitis Monday night shan’t be ruled out. Obviously, one can’t overlook the pointed criticisms The Game lobbed Laurinaitis’ way. Nonetheless, most of those offenses, if not all of them, can be traced back to before Jan. 23 – the date on which Laurinaitis learned that his open bias against the WWE Champion had rankled the WWE Board of Directors.
Since receiving the first unmistakable sign of displeasure from above concerning his performance as Interim Raw GM, Laurinaitis has strived to win over the WWE Universe and its Superstars. Punk, perhaps astutely, wrote off Laurinaitis’ glad-handing Monday night as the actions of a self-serving brownnoser.
Question his sincerity all you want; one cannot deny that Laurinaitis has delivered the goods. This past Monday, Laurinaitis booked two matches that stand out as early candidates for Raw Match of the Year – the wrestling purist’s dream of Punk vs. World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan and the thrilling Raw return of Randy Orton against Dolph Ziggler.
At the Royal Rumble event, Laurinaitis made good, in a sense, on his promise to not screw Punk out of the title. Although the WWE Universe would be right to question his competency as a back-up referee, Laurinaitis did not prevent The Straight Edge Superstar from winning the match. (PHOTOS | WATCH: PUNK’S REACTION)
Moreover, the Interim Raw GM took the unusually proactive step of revealing the Raw Elimination Chamber Match (PREVIEW) Monday afternoon – prior to Raw – on WWE.com. Was the urgent nature of the announcement Laurinaitis’ way of proving that he has indeed put the Raw house in order, and if so, did that instance of executive leadership prompt Triple H to take notice?
“I wish you well in all of your VHS-to-DVD conversions.” As already mentioned, Laurinaitis’ pre-WWE resume contains more than a decade’s worth of legendary matches in the East. However, something tells us that his VHS copy of Johnny Ace and “Dr. Death” Steve Williams vs. Mitsuharu Misawa and Jun Akiyama is in a state of disrepair. Perhaps Triple H was only seeking to ensure that Laurinaitis’ in-ring exploits stand the test of time.
“I wish you well in all of your travels, as you scour the globe for top-tier talent.” Likely because it’s the more visible – and, by design, the more transient – of his two titles, Laurinaitis’ position as Raw’s Interim GM is the cause of much speculation in the WWE Universe. However, let’s not neglect the chance that, in addition to evaluating Laurinaitis’ performance, Triple H also had other, non-Raw, business on his mind. Should we completely disregard the idea that the WWE COO was about to wish Laurinaitis luck in finding the next Sheamus or Sin Cara?
And, last but not least...
“I wish you well in all of your future endeavors.” This is the obvious choice for anybody who’s familiar with Laurinaitis’ track record, both as Interim Raw GM and as the EVP of Talent Relations. As far as the former title is concerned, Laurinaitis’ performance has been pocked by one groundless decision after another. Whether it’s green-lighting a clearly injured Zack Ryder for competition or homing in on a certain Straight Edge Superstar, Laurinaitis’ actions since taking the Raw helm arguably merit expulsion.
As EVP of Talent Relations, meanwhile, Laurinaitis has signed off on dozens of form letters and termination notices containing the words “future endeavors.” The phrase has become so closely associated with Laurinaitis that it even graces the front of the Interim GM’s official T-shirt.
What do you, the WWE Universe, think? Are we overanalyzing Triple H’s unfinished sentence, or are we correct to suggest Laurinaitis could have been wished well in something other than finding a new place of employment? Join the conversation now at WWE InterAction.