By Adam Reiter
WrestleMania, the Super Bowl of sports entertainment, will be home to a Main Event-level match between two men who are nearly 100 years old combined. The Undertaker vs. Shane McMahon. A 50 year old who has wrestled fewer than 10 matches in the last three years vs. a 46 year old international businessman who has not wrestled in ANY matches the last seven years. THIS is what’s supposed to get WWE fans excited.
This past Monday on RAW, Shane McMahon, Shane O’Mac, son of WWE Chairman Vince McMahon, made his return to a WWE ring for the first time in nearly seven years. His reason for returning? Demanding control of the WWE’s flagship show, currently controlled by “The Authority,” Shane’s sister Stephanie and her real-life husband/current WWE World Heavyweight Champion Triple H.
For those who don’t know where Shane McMahon has been the last seven years, his sudden appearance and demand for control of RAW should come as a huge surprise, seeing as how he resigned from his role with the WWE in 2009, and has not been spotted anywhere regarding the WWE since then, not PPV’s, not live events, nowhere. During a time where ‘major’ WWE moments are known about and/or leaked well in advance (i.e. Batista’s 2014 return), no one knew about Shane’s return, which helped make for one of the most incredible ovations in recent memory for someone not named Daniel Bryan.
Vince responded to Shane’s request by booking him in a match against The Undertaker for Wrestlemania 32, where if Shane wins, he assumes control of RAW. But this won’t be just any match; this will be a Hell in a Cell match.
So, is Shane McMahon vs. The Undertaker supposed to excite us? More importantly, is this the right match to make? After all, the match just creates more questions and potential problems than answers.
IF Shane McMahon can manage to win the match, The Undertaker’s WrestleMania legacy – the undefeated streak, the all-time classic matches – would become almost meaningless by letting a non-wrestler go over on “the grandest stage of ‘em all.” People were stunned when Brock Lesnar ended the streak two years ago; at least his victory eventually led to one of the more dominating runs in recent memory. Shane’s victory would simply allow him the opportunity to come back in an authoritative role.
On the other hand, if The Undertaker wins, then it will look like Shane was brought back as nothing more than a tease. If the WWE Universe is to believe Shane’s words from Monday night, when he mentioned that both the ratings and company stock have dropped under Stephanie and Triple H’s watch, then Shane coming back should be more than a tease, it should be for something long term.
Also, is there no heel in this match? The Undertaker is one of the most beloved/revered superstars ever, and Shane, well, you can’t turn him heel after the way he returned. Are the fans supposed to watch this match with the goal of being happy regardless of which babyface wins? It’s hard to fathom people not being upset one way or another: either Stephanie and Triple H remain in power, or The Undertaker’s legacy is severely tarnished right at the end of his career.
Major stars like John Cena, Randy Orton, and Seth Rollins all being inactive for WrestleMania certainly put pressure on the WWE to come up with matches to excite the fans and make them want to pay for the WWE Network and watch the event, but Shane McMahon and The Undertaker doesn’t seem like that match.