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Voice of the 'Fan

A little out of his league

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WWE's ratings are down. Nothing new there, but the decision on 6/15 to have Donald Trump return as "owner" of Monday Night Raw is a real head-scratcher.

2 years ago, Trump was brought in for a winter feud with Vince McMahon culminating in McMahon having his head shaved at Wrestlemania 23. NBC-Universal, USA Network's corporate parent, prevailed upon both parties to work together, going so far as to have McMahon appear on "The Apprentice". The idea, clearly, was to juice up ratings for both Raw and Apprentice.

It's not as if Trump needs any more face time, but with Celebrity Apprentice having just ended its second season, NBC-U thinks Trump might be the answer to Raw's ratings malaise, even in the short term. And it will be short. No more than 2-4 months would be my best guess, no more than 6. Deep down, McMahon's ultimate goal is to avenge himself on Trump for what happened 2 years ago.

What brought this on? How about Vicki Guerrero resigning from WWE and her on-air role as GM of Raw on June 8? Clearly, the stress that comes with being in an administrative role, albeit a corrupt one, on a live television show, was much more than the widow could take, and so she chose to leave after 3 1/2 months of stewardship of Raw, the first six weeks of which saw her finish her tenure in the same role on Smackdown. Vicki's back in El Paso, back with her daughters, thinking of what might've been, perhaps.

After Mrs. Guerrero's departure, speculation ran rampant that, because Raw would be in Charlotte the following week, hometown legend Ric Flair would be brought back as GM. Not so fast. Flair had been the victim of one of Randy Orton's concussion punts on 6/1, so he'd been written out of the show pro tempore, and to have him return just 2 weeks later would require a major suspension of disbelief. Vince knew that, but he couldn't trust anyone else to be in the administrator role just yet. The fans would complain if he or either of his offspring (Shane & Stephanie) would return on an interim basis. Vince knew that, too, so it's assumed either he or NBC-U's Dick Ebersol, a mutual friend, reached out to Trump, with the obvious understanding that Trump would be off Raw in time for Apprentice to return in the fall. So expect McMahon to reclaim the cornerstone franchise of his company by Summerslam or at the very latest, early September.

One other thing binds McMahon & Trump together. Both have dabbled in football. Trump owned the New Jersey Generals of the USFL in the mid-80's, which, of course, lasted much longer than McMahon's ill-fated XFL in 2001. Expect that to be brought up sometime soon, perhaps as early as the June 22 show, which will be the first ever commercial free episode of Raw. A PPV-quality show on free TV? Yep. At least that's the idea, but considering the quality of writers Vince has, it's bound to be screwed up somehow.


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