Stephanie McMahon’s decision to name Mick Foley as Raw’s general manager was surprising.
After all, Foley is one of WWE’s biggest babyfaces in history. Stephanie, on the other hand, has worked best as a heel authority figure.
So beyond pandering to the crowd, pairing herself with Foley was odd. However, the dynamic between the two authority figures has been interesting, especially during Monday’s episode.
Foley and Stephanie had their first real clash in the show’s opening segment. The “Hardcore Legend” questioned whether the Raw commissioner had any prior knowledge of her husband’s plan to interfere in last week’s title match and help Kevin Owens win the Universal Championship.
Stephanie denied any involvement and gave an emotional plea to Foley. The two proceeded to give Owens his Universal Championship celebration. Seth Rollins interrupted the shindig, accused Stephanie of screwing him over and attacked the new champion.
The billion-dollar heiress responded by suspending Rollins, which resulted in Foley not only lifting his suspension, but also gave Rollins a rematch against Owens for the universal title at Clash of Champions.
The WWE Hall of Famer defended his decision and reminded Stephanie that she put him in charge of booking matches. It was the first real instance of Foley throwing his weight around, rather than just siding with Stephanie.
It’s something fans have likely waited for since the odd couple pairing took place last July. Let’s acknowledge that Foley will always be a babyface. All legends will get a respectful reaction from the crowd, but he’s the poster boy for cheap pops.
Regardless of his partnership, he will remain the lovable “Hardcore Legend” who gives each city a shoutout to evoke a crowd reaction.
Stephanie, on the other hand, has been doing this weird back-and-forth transition from babyface to heel for the past few months. She’s displayed both attributes depending on the situation and superstar she interacts with. It’s likely that her character wants to go full heel but can’t show her true identity because of WWE’s board of directors.
So putting her alongside Foley has added to the speculation of what she is right now. We don’t know whether she actually had a role in her husband’s attack, but it’s not something we wouldn’t expect to be true.
Foley, on the other hand, was definitely shocked by the incident. His character expressed legitimate emotion of possibly being betrayed by Stephanie, who he claimed he still remembered as the young girl he met backstage in 1998, despite all of her heelish actions on screen since.
This is created an entertaining dynamic beyond “these two are getting along and it’s weird.” There’s a real concern that Stephanie will eventually go off the rails and into full WrestleMania 32 witch mode.
That would create an even more interesting conflict between Raw’s authority figures. Having Foley conflict with Stephanie makes for a good show. Otherwise, they’re just booking matches.
But they don’t necessarily have to fight all the time either. What’s happening now is a good way to build the tension. Foley is starting to defend his actions and speak out against his partner. Stephanie will likely get sick of it, but needs to act accordingly to not lose her job as Raw’s commissioner.
So far, the two have had better chemistry with each passing weak, which has made their working relationship better. During the draft, it seemed like both were fighting to get a line in. Now their promos are fluid and well balanced.
The partnership between Foley and Stephanie has provided Raw with an interesting dynamic that should only improve with the current Universal Championship storyline.