There’s been a bit of a change in terms of WWE’s front office because it is being reported today that John Laurinaitis is back in the role of Head of Talent Relations. The Wrestling Observer’s Dave Meltzer reports that the official job title for Laurinaitis will be General Manager, Talent and he starts in that role immediately. Laurinaitis will report to WWE’s Executive Vice President of Operations Brad Blum.
It was noted by Meltzer that WWE’s talent relations department is being split into two areas: talent management and talent branding. The talent branding aspect will be like a talent agency looking to book WWE talent for appearances, TV commercials, movies and other possible third-party possibilities.
It’s a familiar position for Laurinaitis, who started in WWE in 2001 after WWE acquired WCW, where Laurinaitis was working in WCW’s front office. In 2004, Laurinaitis took over for Jim Ross when JR stepped down as an executive in WWE. Laurinaitis remained in the role of Head of Talent Relations until 2012 when he resigned from the position at a time when Paul Levesque (Triple H) took over the job and started the developmental process now known as NXT.
After leaving his role as the Head of Talent Relations, Laurinaitis has worked for WWE as a Producer over the last nine years. Laurinaitis was an accomplished wrestler as Johnny Ace in Japan. There’s no word on if Laurinaitis will remain a Producer now, but he may be moving on from it now that he has a lot of responsibilities as the Head of Talent Relations in WWE.
Most WWE fans will remember Laurinaitis’ on-screen role as a heel authority figure in 2011-12 that would often speak about “People Power.” Laurinaitis also holds a WWE PPV main event victory over John Cena at Over The Edge 2012 with an assist from Big Show.
Laurinaitis is also the step-father of WWE Hall of Famers Nikki and Brie Bella since he is married to their mother Kathy Laurinaitis. John Laurinaitis is 58 years old.
TJR Thoughts: Best of luck to Johnny. I’m sure it’s going to lead to people making jokes about how he originally hired the wrong one-legged wrestler in 2003 when they wanted to hire Zach Gowen. They would eventually get it right. A lot of talented WWE wrestlers were signed during Johnny’s initial run as the Head of Talent Relations, but most fans (including myself) would consider Jim Ross as the best Head of Talents in company history considering all the amazing talents he signed during his days in that job. With that said, WWE has grown a lot since Johnny was in this role nine years ago, but obviously the bosses felt like he could do a good job again, so Johnny has a chance to prove himself again.