Why Undertaker vs. Shane McMahon Should Main Event WrestleMania
Wow, what a turn of events that occurred on Raw this past Monday! Shane McMahon made his unexpected return to WWE after a 6-year absence and received one of the loudest audience reactions in recent memory. If that wasn’t shocking enough, Shane will stand inside Hell in a Cell across the ring from The Undertaker at WrestleMania in a featured bout that absolutely needs to close the show.
In a segment where life imitated art, Shane put Stephanie McMahon on blast for the company’s falling stock prices, low television ratings, and the string of wrestler injuries. The Air-Jordan-wearing executive also stated that he “never lost his place in line,” which is contrary to why Shane reportedly left WWE in October of 2009.
Shane McMahon was bred to be the heir apparent of Vince McMahon and run WWE. Somewhere along the way Stephanie McMahon jumped ahead of Shane and became Vince’s successor, prompting Shane’s departure. In 2010 he went on to become the CEO of You On Demand in China (think Netflix) until he stepped down in 2013.
The in-ring confrontation continued with Shane demanding complete control of Monday Night Raw. Vince, noting that what happens on Raw ultimately sets the course for WWE, agreed to his son’s request, if he can win the aforementioned match. If Shane loses, he must give Vince a lock box containing incriminating information.
This segment was not only shocking, but it was well executed and produced the type of excitement that WWE fans haven’t experienced in quite some time. Social media exploded and phones were inundated with text messages. This wasn’t just a tough act to follow for anything else that occurred on Raw, it was damn near impossible.
Was this desperation booking? Yes. No. Maybe. It doesn’t really matter. People say that Vince was at his best creatively when WCW became a legitimate threat to his bottom line. If that’s true, then you can argue that the majority of the Attitude Era consisted of desperation booking.
Should a 40-year-old non-wrestler in the form of Shane McMahon be able to beat the Undertaker, much less give him a run for his money? Mostly likely, no. But what if he wins? More important, HOW does he win? Think about it. That is the allure of this whole thing and is why fans will tune in.
What does this mean for the WWE title match? It’s simple: Triple H vs. Roman Reigns is no longer the marquee attraction of WrestleMania (was it ever really?). If this match goes on last, it will suffer the same fate as the main event outings of WrestleMania 18 and 25 and become a forgotten affair with Hunter as the common denominator. Also, it doesn’t matter if any changes are made to this match. A tag team showdown or a wrestler representative will bring even more intrigue to an already popular angle.
While this could be another example of a WWE storyline starting off strong and finishing weak, it’s hard to imagine that being the case this time around. This isn’t just another wrestler coming back into the fold. This is the son of Vince McMahon, who walked away from the family business despite having a guaranteed job for life. This is a particular deal that was brokered in a particular way with an individual who doesn’t need the payday and knows better than anyone what he’s getting into and who he is doing business with.
In 2016, it’s not about the title, it’s about the attraction. In this case, we’re dealing with a crazy son of a &^%$#, working with one of the greatest of all-time, in a match designed to hide weakness and produce one hell of a spectacle. If Shane-O-Mac vs. The Phenom can continue to build momentum over the next five weeks, anything else on top of the card come April 3rd will simply pale in comparison.
Atlee Greene is a former independent wrestler, promoter, and freelance writer who has followed professional wrestling for 27 years. You can hear him every week as co-host of The Raw Deal podcast w/ Frank Dee here at gerweck.net.