Having Stephanie McMahon On ‘Undercover Boss’ Fundamentally Doesn’t Work

The premise of the show Undercover Boss is simple enough: CEOs and other executives go undercover as regular employees of their companies to see how things operate at that level. The titular Boss will have a fake name, some sort of altered appearance, and a totally transparent excuse for all the cameras.

It’s not good, no, but it sure is reality TV.

And since it’s reality TV, there’s going to be some level of manufacturing going on. (Sounds a lot like wrestling, hmm…). So mixing the two was always going to be a little messy when it was announced that Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon was going to feature in a WWE episode.

Y’know, because the “boss” has been an onscreen character on the company’s TV show for twenty years. The disguise isn’t much better. I can at least buy the premise with a large company because, honestly, I wouldn’t recognize the far-off president of my workplace either if he came in the front door.

This is like having my dad go undercover on my paper route when I was twelve. Like having our-president-who-shall-remain-nameless-so-we-don’t-get-brigaded-by-alt-right-Twitter go undercover in the West Wing wearing a (worse) wig. This is just confirming that, while regular episodes of Undercover Boss are probably 80% BS, this one’s going to be 100.

It’s just bad kayfabe. Like, I know kayfabe is dead, but this is even bad meta-kayfabe because the audience of Undercover Boss aren’t going to be hanging around messageboards speculating about getting worked. It’s just silly.

And that last point does get to the thing that matters about all of this: I’m not the audience for Undercover Boss, and neither is anybody who’s going to get all fired up about how obvious this one is. It’s some fluffy promo for the company aimed at people who wouldn’t be able to pick a McMahon out of a lineup. So, you know, it’s fine.\

But man, it’s a goofy idea.

(Sounds a lot like wrestling… hmm.)

Bobby Murphy (@RobertJMurph)

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