I want each and every single one of you to think back to all the wrestling you've watched in your lives. It doesn't matter if it's a major promotion, or a backyard promotion put on by middle schoolers in your tiny neighborhood. If you've watched it, picture it in your head.
Think about all of the characters and gimmicks you've seen. Heels, faces, tweeners... everything in between. Some of them have been pretty "out there", to say the least. Some of them didn't make a whole lot of sense. Some of them were missed potential, maybe something awesome given to a subpar performer.
With everything floating around in your head now, allow me to ask you a simple question:
Is the "Authority" version of Stephanie McMahon the worst character of all-time?
Usually, when something is mentioned as a potential "blank" of all-time, there is a lot of hyperbole involved. I'm not using any, though. I'm asking a legitimate question, based on everything I've witnessed in my decades of being a wrestling fan. There have been a lot of characters that, for one reason or another, could be given the "bad" label. Most of them were harmless and didn't get much television time, or at least didn't stick around for that long. Stephanie, on the other hand, gets a crazy amount of television time when she's around, and she's been in this particular variation of her on-screen character for years now.
We all know that pro wrestling, for about as far back as you go, follows a simple money-making concept... a strong heel getting in the way of an enjoyable face at every stop, only for the face to end up victorious. Good conquers evil. It just works. Sure, there are the exceptions, especially when it comes to promotions like WWE who have a difficult time building up face wrestlers, but it's a tried-and-true method of booking that dates back to before any of us were even born.
Stephanie McMahon is a very interesting character as a heel. She grew up in the business, so she does know what it takes to get a reaction out of live crowds. She has proven that time and time again. I will never knock her for that. What I can, and will, knock her for, however, is that her character is absolutely, positively 100% about getting herself over, and nothing or nobody else.
The WWE wrestling scene is infinitely different in 2017 than it was in the Attitude Era and the years following it. Back in those days, you wouldn't even blink twice if a male performer put his hands on a female performer. We've seen Bubba Ray Dudley put Mae Young through a table with a Bubba Bomb. We've seen "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and Triple H mollywhop Lita in a beating that included some violent looking steel chair shots. We've seen Stephanie herself (as a face, mind you) get an uncomfortable beating at the hands of her own father. We've seen Chyna wrestle men on a regular basis. These days, even though intergender wrestling remains a hot commodity on the independent scene, WWE avoids it completely. It doesn't fit in with their PG, family-friendly product. That's fine. I get that.
With that said, we know we aren't going to see Stephanie get hit (other than an "accidental" bump from the ring apron to the floor) by a man on WWE programming now. I've come to terms with that, and I would hope that most of you have, as well. I think she, quite clearly, understands that, too, because she is constantly put into positions of power over male characters, emasculating them at every turn with no possible chance of getting her comeuppance.
Where's the fun in that?
Have you ever seen videos online of women absolutely berating men? Just all up in their faces, yelling and screaming at them, calling them every name in the book. Far more often than not, you'll even see them get physical, shoving the man, slapping him, and sometimes even throwing punches. Men are usually raised to respect women, and that includes never getting physical with them. The men in those videos usually take it all, clearly angry but knowing that it won't be a good look if they cock their fists back and send the woman assaulting them into the middle of the next week.
That's what we're getting with Stephanie McMahon these days. She can yell at any man she wants, from the lowest of the jobbers to the biggest of the champions, and even fellow authority figures. She screams at them. She pushes their buttons. She calls them derogatory names. She questions their manhood. She even gets physical, slapping the taste out of their mouths on several occasions. No matter what she does, nobody can ever do anything back. Nobody is going to yell back at her, because her voice gets so high and shrill that it drowns them out. Nobody is going to hit her, because then WWE would lose their sponsors and potentially lose their TV deal.
That doesn't make for entertaining television. In fact, it makes for awful television. It makes for "it's time to change the channel" television.
It simply doesn't make any sense to even have stories like the ones Stephanie participates in on WWE programming in 2017. Other female heels stick to storylines with their fellow females, allowing the faces to get their revenge, whether its verbally or physically. Not Steph, though. Oh, no, no, no. She has to prove to the world that she has, as the famous philosopher Negan likes to say, "beach ball-sized lady nuts".
Stephanie's husband isn't really involved in this discussion, in case you're wondering. For one, he's rarely on television these days, but when he has been involved on-air in recent years, it's usually leading to a match... that he will lose and get his comeuppance. No, this is all about good ol' Stephanie.
Other than providing MILF fantasies to many a wrestling fan, can anyone reading this honestly tell me anything that Steph provides to the WWE product these days? I want to like her. I really do. She does a lot for the company outside of the ring, and even on a shallow level, I would rank her (in her prime) above any woman in the history of the business when it comes to her looks. That's great and all, but I'm not watching wrestling because so-and-so is hot. There are other things to watch if that's all you care about, you know?
Maybe it's Stephanie's ego that puts her in this spotlight all the time. Maybe it's the fact that she's "Daddy's Little Girl" and that daddy is stuck in the past with zero knowledge of what the modern day wrestling fan cares about and wants to see. Frankly, it doesn't matter what the reasoning behind it is. The fact of the matter is that Stephanie appearing on television is like a disease. A disease that is slowly (or quickly, depending on your level of satisfaction) causing the WWE product, at least on Monday nights, to rot.
Just wait until she slaps the fire out of Braun Strowman now that he seems to have picked up momentum with fans, and all he can do after the slap is stand there and look angry as she struts away to her entrance music. It's going to happen, folks. It's just a matter of when.