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Wrestling / John Laurinaitis

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John Joseph Laurinaitis (born July 31, 1962) is a former wrestler under the name Johnny Ace. He is a 4-time All Japan Pro Wrestling World Tag Team Champion, holding the belts once with "Dr. Death" Steve Williams, twice with Kenta Kobashi and once with Mike Barton (formerly WWE's Bart Gunn), and a 2-time AJPW All Asia Tag Team Champion, holding the belts both times with Kobashi.

He mainly wrestled in Japan before his retirement, then became the head booker for WCW, replacing the outgoing Vince Russo. This job proved less-than-secure in 2001, so he jumped ship to WWE: first as a road agent, then as the now-infamous head of Talent Relations until 2012 (see below). He also briefly served as on-screen "General Manager" of both Raw and SmackDown.

Nowadays Laurinatis seems content to just enjoy his retirement, though he still makes the sporadic appearance. He is currently married to Kathy Colace, the mother of WWE's Bella Twins.


Tropes associated with Mr. Excitement, John Laurinaitis includes:

  • Accidental Public Confession: Type 1. His Villainous Breakdown caused him to reveal his intent to screw CM Punk at the Royal Rumble. The board of directors didn't like that very much.
  • Arch-Enemy:
  • Ascended Extra:
    • Started his on-screen career as a flagbearer for The Sheepherders.
    • Later went on to work in the offices of WCW.
    • Spent years in the background in WWE, until 2011 when CM Punk cut a promo where Laurinaitis was included. The he became the Raw and Smackdown GM. That is until he was "fired" by Vince McMahon.
  • Author Appeal
    • His desire to see magazine models in professional wrestling rings is well known, with most of his finds not having what it takes to ever make it to television. His most successful cases he found in from same fashion publication. Neither one showed any interest in the developmental contracts offered to them at first but the magazine told them it would be a good idea. Kelly Kelly was pushed hardest by the WWE machine, while Alicia Fox is the most liked from critical standpoint(she at least learned her fundamentals) as well longevity in the business(likely because of said fundamentals). Regardless this recruitment process is usually what grumblings about models being hired are referring to, not Trish or Victoria.
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    • Equally well known is his preference for badly worked but titillation heavy matches, which is why Gail Kim had so many with Dawn Marie off camera that had nothing to do with what Kim did on camera.
    • Less known is his love for giant shredded black women, which is why Linda Miles and Trenesha Biggers hung around so long despite not being good in the ring, and why Miles got the dominatrix gimmick that sunk the careers of the Basham Brothers(as well as the breast implants angle with the Bradshaw). It's also why Lenda Murray was considered for developmental (precedent lead to fans rejecting her on principle).
    • He's also got love for gaijin who love Japanese pro wrestling, or seek to go to Japan, such as Dean Malenko, Eddie Guerrero, Chris Benoit, Chris Jericho, Giant Bernard, Akebono, Bryan Danielson, Low Ki, Montel Vontavious Porter and Kenny Omega. This is where one finds most of the better wrestlers he pulls for, but when it comes to women his other appeals take priority; Jazz was too short and too butch for the new direction of the women's division but Biggers did get a lackluster run in Zero 1 thanks in part to him.
  • Bad Boss: When accused of abusing students, Bill DeMott denied most allegations, but when evidence was presented which made this impossible, he in turn produced evidence that he was acting under Laurinaitis's instruction, leading to the end of his role as head of talent relations.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For:
    • As John Morrison learned when he wanted Triple H removed from running Raw.
    • Heck, EVERYONE that wanted change except the Heels probably feel this way.
    • Even some of the heels, since after Laurinaitis reached power, a lot of them were no longer given the backup he promised as they helped him up the ladder. The Miz in particular was told he was only good as a personal suck up and that he was on his own when he asked for something to be done about R-Truth.
  • Berserk Button: He does not like having his voice being mocked. John Cena and The Big Show found this out the hard way. Also in real life, he almost fired Stevie Richards until Tommy Dreamer told him that it was Stevie's real voice.
  • Big Bad Wannabe:
    • A painfully obvious expy of Vince McMahon, he was pushed as the top heel on both RAW and Smackdown until WWE creative finally realized he came up short. No amount of kayfabe changes the fact that is Vince is the head of the company and renowned for his stage dynamism both in the U.S. and Europe, whereas Laurinaitis is just a confused middleman with nothing to differentiate him from previous GMs who behaved badly in the past (he isn't even the only one to have run two shows at the same time). And just like past GMs his job is constantly threatened when he "goes too far", with Laurinaitis barely managing to keep it. Just like previous heel GMs such as Eric Bischoff, he ends up getting fired.
    • After Over the Limit, he's even less intimidating, either hobbling around on crutches or zipping around on his Old Man Potter wheelchair. Shades of Ric Flair!
  • Blatant Lies: "People Power" - which includes things like shoving your authority down everyone's throat, confiscating signs saying things you don't like, a Propaganda Machine insisting you're as popular as you're actually hated, constantly engaging in both injury and insult, and overall reveling in humiliating employees and competitors for the slightest provocations or merely for being threats to your power - often either enslaving them in everything but name, turning them into your cronies, or simply making their lives as miserable as you can.
  • Butt-Monkey: Both on-screen and off. On-screen he is a butt of many jokes from Cena and especially CM Punk. Off-screen he is hated by many wrestlers who feel they were unfairly treated by him and by proponents of stronger women's wrestling.
  • The Bus Came Back: Returned on the March 29, 2013 SmackDown where he tried to convince The Rock to let him be in the Rock's corner for his match against Cena at WrestleMania. Rock promised that he wouldn't give Laurinaitis the Rock Bottom. They shook hands, followed by Rock hitting a Spinebuster and a People's Elbow.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: It's another boss heel, again in the style of the McMahons. Being as he is not a McMahon, however, Laurinaitis was presented as little more than a pale copy. Thank goodness Paul Heyman is just around the corner.
  • Cross Through: WWE used to use American Combat Wrestling's facilities for its FCW training and developmental shows but pulled out when an ACW employee threatened to kick Laurinaitis's teeth in. This eventually lead to the development of NXT.
  • Crowd Chant: While a part of the Dynamic Dudes it was "Johnny Sucks Dick" and "Johnny Sucks Shane's Dick!"
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Firing the Big Show for mocking his voice.
  • Dull Surprise: Gave absolutely no reaction when he was about to get the GTS from CM Punk.
  • Evil Is Petty: This is a guy who publicly humiliated an employee and forced him to beg for his job on national television only to fire the man anyway simply because said employee mocked his voice.
  • Forgot Flanders Could Do That:
    • Was actually a very good wrestler in his day. He helped invent the Diamond Cutter/RKO, the Stunner and the F-5. He was also in two matches that Dave Meltzer gave 5 stars and won the The Wrestling Observer Newsletter Match of the Year in 1996, which was All Japan Pro Wrestling World Tag Team Champions Mitsuharu Misawa and Jun Akiyama defeating Ace and "Dr. Death" Steve Williams at AJPW Super Power Series 1996, Day 15, June 7, 1996. That was the same year as the Shawn Michaels/Bret Hart Iron Man match at WrestleMania XII.
    • Although this turned out to be a moot point, as after so much hype (from the IWC, of all people) about him being the perfect, necessary choice for a heel authority figure — because he could carry the show and also have actual matches against his opponents — he's always booked into the same type of matches that all non-wrestling personalities have. It's almost as if WWE creative doesn't want anyone to equal or surpass Vince's image as a businessman who can still throw down.
    • He very briefly shows this ability in his match against Cena, and lays a few good moves. Otherwise however it was a one sided comedic beatdown which frankly would have embarrassed even Vince.
  • Full-Name Basis: Always introduced himself this way.
  • Fun with Acronyms: His trio with Kenta Kobashi and the Patriot (Del Wilkes) in Japan: GET, which stood for Global Energetic Tough.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: As Punk pointed out during his psychological dismantling of Laurinaitis, the main reason why Johnny hates Punk so much is due to his lack of success with his own wrestling career. His brother is one of the legendary Road Warriors, his tag team partner was Shane Douglas, one of ECW's perennial main event stars, and CM Punk, a guy who doesn't even fit the mold and wasn't made to succeed in the WWE, has achieved more in the last year than Johnny has his entire career. While Johnny had the look, he was so bland that he had to trade in his tights for a suit to achieve any real success. Jealousy is therefore the main driving force behind his actions against Punk.
  • He's Back!: He returned on the March 29th edition of Smackdown. But doing so in the middle of "Story Time with The Rock" probably wasn't one of his better ideas however, since it ended in a Rock Bottom and People's Elbow.
  • Hidden Depths: Apparently is a very creative agent (person who plans matches with wrestlers). You won't hear that from scores of wrestlers who don't like him though.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard/Nice Job Fixing It, Villain
    • Made Zack Ryder's Number One Contenders match with Mark Henry a No Disqualification Match. John Cena takes full advantage to go on out and interfere in Zack's favor.
    • He challenged John Cena to a match at Over The Limit, clearly intending to fix the match in some way shape or form. Too bad that right as he was about to get into the specifics, the board of directors imposed very specific conditions of their own that cut him off at the pass. Oh, and if he lost, he'd be fired.
    • After his Accidental Public Confession, the next week he proceeded to state that he did not regret what he did — and the board of directors didn't like that, so they sent COO Triple H to evaluate him. The only reason why he didn't get fired was because of The Undertaker.
  • Humiliation Conga: Starting on the June 11th WWE Raw, where Vince McMahon pretty much openly mocks him all night, along with Sheamus. It continues on SmackDown, where John Cena knocked him out on his ass. It ultimately culminates at No Way Out, where Brodus Clay holds him while John Cena escapes the cage and seals Laurinaitis' fate. He's then promptly fired and put through the announce table by John Cena. Finally, on the next Raw, he gets mocked by Mick Foley, and has The Big Show and David Otunga walk out on him since he's no longer the boss and thus no longer useful to them, leaving him to John Cena, who, at the request of the fans, gives him three Attitude Adjustments and makes him tap out to the STF. Oh, and his favorite dog to kick Theodore Long watches this from ringside clapping and cheering.
  • Informed Flaw: While his wrestling career supposedly having been a pathetic failure was even made part of the story during his feud with CM Punk, this was somewhat exaggerated at least. While it was true that CM Punk became significantly more successful than he'd ever been, that he had been overshadowed by his brother Road Warrior Animal, and that even a lot of his success in All Japan Pro Wrestling was due to him being a Creator's Pet of Giant Baba and his wife (although this wasn't mentioned in the angle- in fact they didn't discuss his AJPW career at all), he still wasn't a terrible wrestler; you don't earn 2 5-star matches and a Match of the Year award from Dave Meltzer by being a no-talent deadweight, no matter who else is in the match with you. He's also unquestionably credited with inventing the Cutter (which is still called the Ace Crusher to this day in some indie promotions).
  • Irony:
    • He ended his Motive Rant to Mick Foley about how much he hated CM Punk and was planning on screwing Punk at the Royal blasting Foley in the head with the microphone, which is one of the distinctive things Punk has been known for doing.
    • Also, his firing of The Big Show - a Kick the Dog act that seemed almost certain to come back and bite him in this ass in the "swift karma" world of Professional Wrestling storylines - actually ended up working in his favor, because he was able to convince Show (by offering him a new contract) to turn on John Cena, which ended up saving his job. Likely also doubles as Manipulative Bastard.
  • Jerkass: He tries to put on a nice face to the fans, but if you're a wrestler and he's the most visible onscreen authority they report to, he will do everything he can to let them know he can to make you as miserable, submissive and dependent on him as possible.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • Was in danger of losing his status as Interim General Manager before the 2012 Royal Rumble after publicly admitting that he intended to screw CM Punk out of the championship title, but he managed to convince the Board of Directors to give him another chance. Then he manages to take over both Raw and Smackdown and made Jerkass decisions as well as blackmailing Teddy Long. Then he decided to make Brock Lesnar, a brute who enjoys beating people up, the top face of the company, even giving in to Lesnar's outrageous demands. And after losing his top face, he lashes out on a already-injured John Cena. And despite all that, the Board of Directors still didn't take any action against him. Should be noted that, John Cena had been approached by the Board of Directors about Laurinaitis' attack on him and told them not to do anything to him until after their match at Over the Limit. Which they didn't. They just declared very specific rules for the match that cut off any possible attempts by Laurinaitis to fix the match and declared that if Cena beat him, Laurinaitis will be fired. Cena approved. Only for Laurinatis to win the match as a result of a Face–Heel Turn by The Big Show and maintain his job as GM (albeit after a lengthy beatdown by Cena).
    • On the Raw before No Way Out 2012, Vince McMahon returns to do a evaluation on Laurinaitis. At the end of the night, Vince was about to fire him before the Big Show showed up. Vince then said that if Big Show loses at No Way Out, Laurinaitis will be fired. And with help with some friends, Show lost and Laurinatis was fired then and there Although, on the next Raw after No Way Out, he tries to get the last laugh on Cena by putting him in a three on one handicap match with himself, The Big Show, and David Otunga. This backfires when in the end both walk out on him, since he's no longer the boss and there's nothing to gain from helping him, leaving him to Cena's wrath who, in the spirit of "People Power" answers the crowd's request and gives him three well deserved Attitude Adjustments before making him tap out to the STF.
  • It's All About Me: Despite his statement on "People Power", he's done nothing but do things for himself. John Cena called him out on it in his "The Reason You Suck" Speech.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • In his first night as Interim General Manager, he fired Jim Ross. After becoming GM of both Raw and Smackdown, he began bossing Teddy around in every Cool and Unusual manner possible.
    • Pet the Dog: Due to said Flame Bait and the not so PG friendly responses he gives J.R a match with Michael Colenote .
    • Kicks the dog again on the 10/5/2011 episode of Raw by giving John Cena a Sadistic Choice of either giving his good friend Zack Ryder a US Title match or getting a World Title Match himself. When John decides to give Zack the match, Laurinaitis puts Ryder (already worn out from a match against Cena) up against Mark Henry to earn it.
      • And that was after he forced the two to fight to be the number one contender for their respective titles.
    • Later, in January, he hit Mick Foley in the head with a mic after he and Punk pushed him too far.
    • The next week he forces Zack Ryder into a falls count anywhere match with Kane.
    • On the 4/30/2012 episode of Raw, he, along with Lord Tensai and Sakamoto, gangs up on a already-injured John Cena and then starts aiming for Cena's already injured arm.
    • After making The Big Show beg and plead to not fire him, he turns around and fires him anyway. The smirk on his face as he fired Show, Show crying sadly...who could support Laurinaitis after that?
  • Laser-Guided Karma:
    • After betraying every superstar that helped him get where he was, including basically telling The Miz You Have Outlived Your Usefulness, he finally gets a big dose of this when The Big Show and David Otunga walk out on him...for no longer being able to help them since he was fired and no longer the boss, leaving him at the mercy of John Cena. John Cena then proceeds to give Mr. "People Power" three Attitude Adjustments at the request of the audience, while Laurinaitis' favorite victim, Theodore Long, cheers from ringside.
    • The Dog Bites Back: Otunga, Laurinaitis' thoroughly loyal Dragon/Evil Genius, made at least some effort as his tag team partner, taking most of the heat of the match due to the latter refusing to tag, supposedly due to his injuries. Laurinaitis finally tags in only when Cena is supposedly incapacitated, revealing his injuries are completely fake, leading a disgusted Otunga to walk out and leave him to face the match alone just as he made him.
  • Miles Gloriosus: "I am better than The Rock and Brock Lesnar combined."
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain:
    • He was initially mocked by Triple H and John Cena as an ineffectual yes man to Vince McMahon that would never get a say in how the business works. (What a stretch for Mr. Laurinaitis.) Shortly afterward, he started using backstage politics and intimation as weapons.
    • Used subtly in the ring. His match with John Cena was a predictable beatdown with Cena humiliating and torturing Laurinaitis in every manner possible. However for a brief moment, he actually gets the upper hand legitimately, laying damage to Cena's arm and handing a few nasty chair shots. He might have been able to keep this up if he hadn't toyed with Cena long enough for him to get a Heroic Second Wind.
  • Once per Episode: He will introduce himself with his name and full title 
  • Only Sane Man: Believe it or not, he comes off as this on Total Bellas. Often mediating conflicts between his new wife and her children and being able to point out validity in both perspectives.
  • Photo Op with the Dog: He claims that his reason for his Jerkass decisions are because "That's what the people want", even going as far as calling his era "People Power" when his decisions are clearly for his sadistic pleasure.
  • Power Stable: The Team Players in OVW, which included Mark Magnus (Muhammad Hassan), Inspector Max Impactnote , Brent Albright, Rob Conway, Nick Dinsmore, Matt Morgan and Chris Masters.
  • Put on a Bus: After Big Show lost at No Way Out which had his job on the line as a stipulationnote 
    • He actually lost his job as an Executive Vice President of Talent Relations and became a producer after his onscreen firing.
  • Rejected Apology: He did this to The Big Show after demanding him to get down on his knees and apologize for making fun of his voice, and then fires him on the spot.
  • The Resenter: Resents CM Punk due to Punk's success and his own lack of. Johnny had the look going for him yet was so bland that he couldn't land a decent job in the states, while Punk, a guy who doesn't fit the mold and wasn't supposed to make it in the WWE, ended up achieving more in the last year than Johnny did his entire life. Johnny's so bitter about it that he made it his purpose in life to to make Punk's miserable.
  • Running Gag: He was usually seen testing on his cell phone backstage. We never found out to who he did.
  • Sadistic Choice:
  • Smug Snake: CM Punk also calls him this too.
  • Tag Team:
    • The Sheepherders
    • The Dynamic Dudes, with Shane Douglas
    • (in Japan): The Movement, with Mike Barton (formerly WWE's Bart Gunn)
  • Tempting Fate: On the Smackdown before No Way Out 2012, John Laurinaitis lampshades his Karma Houdini and was confident that he would keep his job after No Way Out. Guess what happens.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Written off TV after his Kayfabe firing via three Attitude Adjustments from John Cena. Considering that it's basically pushed as the most powerful finishing move in pro wrestling.......
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: Not at first, but has creeped up very slowly during his run as GM over both Raw and Smackdown.
  • Ur-Example: Is credited as the inventor of the Cutter, which he called the Ace Crusher, but which is better known to modern wrestling fans as either the Diamond Cutter or the RKO.
  • Villainous Breakdown:
    • On the January 16, 2012 edition of Raw, he gets two "The Reason You Suck" Speeches in a row, the first from CM Punk and then from Mick Foley, CM Punk psychologically dismantling him. Laurinaitis snaps and goes on a massive Motive Rant, finally admitting that he openly hates CM Punk and fully intends to screw him out of the title.
    • And again on the 4/30/12 airing of Raw, after losing his top face for the company, Brock Lesnar, and being made fun of by John Cena, he lashes out on Cena with the help of Lord Tensai and Sakamoto.
    • On the May 14, 2012 episode of Raw, after his plan to rig his match with John Cena in his favor was preemptively shot down by the Board of Directors who also declared that losing will result in him being fired, and receiving a "The Reason You Suck" Speech from Cena, he snaps and slaps Cena in the face before storming off in a rage.
  • Wrestling Family:

  • Yes-Man: a "glad-handing, nonsensical, douche-bag" one, at that.

Alternative Title(s): Johnny Ace