On June 2, 1925, New York Yankees manager Miller Huggins sat out regular first baseman Wally Pipp -- a move attributed to Pipp potentially having a headache that day -- and inserted a youngster named Lou Gehrig in his place. Fourteen years, 2,130 games and a Hall of Fame career later, The Iron Horse retired having never missed another game, while Pipp became a footnote in history.
In any sport, and especially in WWE, injury often presents an opportunity for someone to step up and shine in the spotlight … but not usually when it comes to management. Then again, anything can happen in WWE, and at this point, after having shown her mettle as Acting SmackDown General Manager over the last month-plus, Vickie Guerrero seems to be on the road to sending Theodore Long's name into the annals next to Pipp's.
Okay, so Vickie may not be Lou Gehrig -- she certainly has a long way to go to match The Iron Horse's streak of showing up to work every day -- but in the six weeks since she's assumed Long's General Manager duties, Ms. Guerrero has certainly shown herself capable of filling those shoes.
Just look at the many positive things that have happened on SmackDown over the last 40 days. Foremost, perhaps, is the working agreement that she and ECW General Manager Armando Estrada worked out between the two brands. In just a couple weeks, Big Daddy V, John Morrison and The Miz -- all men who once called the Blue Crew their own in the past -- have returned to SmackDown to wreak havoc. Meanwhile, to paraphrase a classic song, the Land of the Extreme has gotten a little more country (Jesse & Festus, Jimmy Wang Yang), a little more rock ‘n roll (Kane, Mark Henry) and this past week, a little of both.
In addition to giving her stars another avenue to shine down, Vickie Guerrero also has made some blockbuster matches on her own brand. Just this past week, our fans found out that Batista and Undertaker would indeed battle in a Hell in a Cell Match for the World Heavyweight Championship at Survivor Series. Putting The Animal against The Phenom is sure to create a memorable match, but by facilitating Undertaker's request and making it a Hell in a Cell Match, Vickie has ensured our fans of an instant classic.
She has also shown the ability to think quickly under pressure. Like at Cyber Sunday, for instance, where it was learned that Matt Hardy would be unable to compete just hours before his scheduled match against MVP. Instead of panicking, rearranging matches or giving MVP the night off, Vickie gave you, the fans, the opportunity to choose the U.S. Champion's opponent. Poor MVP might be the only one who didn't like that idea, but luckily for him, he retained the title.
Of course, as in any assessment, there are a few weaknesses to be found. Certainly Jamie Noble believes so, as his recent string of matches against Batista, Undertaker and The Great Khali have been less than favorable match-ups for him. Of course, Noble believes Vickie "has a crush on him," and that's why he has been tortured the last few weeks. But in principle, he would have a valid argument otherwise.
Piggybacking off Noble's issues, there's the Cruiserweight Championship situation. Vickie made Hornswoggle abdicate the title a month ago, a move she made for the little guy's safety. However, based off of what our fans have seen on Raw over the last few weeks -- not to mention this past week's SmackDown -- it certainly seems as if the littlest McMahon is fully capable of taking care of himself. Perhaps forcing abdication was too quick of a judgment?
Overall, though, it's hard to look down upon Vickie Guerrero's reign over SmackDown. Sure, even Lou Gehrig made a few errors in his day, but when that day ended, a future Hall of Famer stood in the shadows. If we here at WWE.com had to assign a letter grade to Vickie's tenure as of today, we'd give her a solid A- …although now that ECW and SmackDown are working together, perhaps Matt Striker might be better served to hand out grades in the future.