WWE kicked off Monday’s episode of Raw with the presentation of the first Vincent J. McMahon Legacy of Excellence Award.
The award winner had been kept a secret all week, and as I’ve become conditioned when it comes to WWE surprises, I was expecting to be disappointed.
Vince McMahon kicked off the show cutting a promo on what the award meant to him, and later introduced his daughter, Stephanie, as the award winner.
Reports indicate that the collective sigh of the 18,000 fans at Joe Louis Arena actually raised the temperature in the building a couple degrees.
As Stephanie opened up a leather bound notebook to give remarks and thank you messages on winning her new award, as if she had just walked away with an Academy Award, Shane McMahon’s music blasted over the arena speakers.
The prodigal son of WWE owner Vince McMahon, Shane’s return absolutely erupted the live ground. Shane left the company years ago to focus on is on multimedia company, which primarily focuses on business in China. None of that is wrestling storyline, either.
Shane grabbed the microphone after refusing a hug and a handshake from his father and told his dad and sister that he was back. He said he sat back for too long watching his sister and her husband, Triple H, run the company into the ground.
It was actually shocking to hear Shane mention things like the stock price plummeting in the low television ratings for Raw. McMahon’s don’t like to self-deprecate, especially when it comes to perceived failures.
Long story short, Shane said that he still had controlling interest in WWE as Vince’s oldest heir, claiming that he “may have left the company but never lost his place in line”
At this point the story got a little cloudy. Shane kept saying “she doesn’t know does she?” to Vince. We never really got an understanding of what Shane had. Was it just that he was still somewhat in control of WWE? That was never really adequately explained.
Vince ask Shane what he wanted, and Shane said all you wanted was control of Raw. Vince of course turned bright red, yelling at his son that “as Raw goes so goes the company.” Vince also dropped a censored F-bomb in there as well. Seriously.
But Vince finally agreed that Shane would have the opportunity to control Raw, if he returned for a match. A match at WrestleMania. A match, at WrestleMania, against the Undertaker.
Now, this match has the potential to make a lot of sense. First, there’s just the logistics. Undertaker is almost 50 years old, he’s not going to go out there and have a five-star match, at least not one that’s believable with any of WWE’s younger stars.
At the same time, at his age, Undertaker should not be beating any of WWE’s younger stars. Someone like Kevin Owens could benefit from working with Undertaker, but someone like Kevin Owens losing the Undertaker could set back his character.
If the plan here is to have Undertaker win the match, then beating Shane McMahon is not a big deal. Shane is not a 20-something-year-old future star of the company.
Also, Shane works a very specific style. Much like his dad, there’s not a lot of athleticism there. And honestly, I don’t at his age, there’s not a lot of athleticism in Undertaker either. By putting these two in a Hell in a Cell match, you’ll be able to just have an action-packed brawl that the audience is going to love, and it’s going to hide their weaknesses.
No offense to Undertaker. He is one of the greatest of all time. But no one, even the greatest, is the same at 50 as they were at 25.
It could also make a lot of sense from a storyline perspective. Undertaker essentially worked as a heel earlier this summer when he had a pair of matches against Brock Lesnar.
The story could be really simple. We learn, somewhere in the next five weeks, that the Authority, or even Vince McMahon himself, facilitated those rematches. In reality, from an in-ring standpoint, Undertakers’ character didn’t really deserve another shot at Lesnar.
There are certainly some flaws there, Undertaker did cost Lesnar the WWE Championship in the match was all about Lesnar’s revenge. It was a grudge match. But there could be a story told there we are Vince or the authority helped facilitate that rematch happening.
That’s to say that the match even stays the same. There is been rampant speculation that WWE could actually pull Shane out of the match, and in some storyline swerve have Shane elect someone to fight for him. I don’t see that happening. I think Shane versus Undertaker is what will see in Dallas at the beginning of April. And I’m OK with that.
What the ultimate result could be is what’s the most interesting. It’s questionable, I would even go as far as saying improbable, that the match will end with a clean finish.
WWE could take the easy way out and just give Undertaker the victory, which would write Shane right back off television, and end the storyline of him pursuing controlling interest in Monday Night Raw.
That makes the most sense. After all, I’m guessing that when this match is over, Shane is going to go back to running his companies.
Or, this could be a way to add finally facilitate an end to the Authority storyline. That group is been running Raw for pretty much three years. That’s a long time in pro wrestling. In 2016 pro wrestling, with at least five hours of original content on a weekly basis, it’s a eternity. Think about it. If this were 1993, it would’ve been the equivalent of someone running the company on the storyline basis for 15 years back when there was one hour of Raw and nothing else.
Shane could win the match and still leave the company, installing someone that he believes would run Raw the right way.
By ridding itself of the authority storyline, WWE could begin a creative change at its core.
And that sounds like a great idea to me.