The road to WrestleMania kicked into a higher gear on Monday, as WWE has six weeks to build to the biggest show of the year – and hopefully, the biggest show of all time. Monday Night Raw promised to deliver the fallout from Sunday’s Fastlane pay-per-view, but managed to up the ante with the return of one of the most entertaining figures of WWE’s heyday – Shane McMahon.
Monday’s episode opened with the presentation of the first ever ‘Vincent James McMahon Legacy of Excellence Award’ and saw Vincent Kennedy McMahon (the current chairman and CEO of WWE) present the award to his daughter Stephanie. As Stephanie, a wonderfully hated character on WWE programming, accepted the award in condescending fashion she was interrupted by music that hadn’t been heard in over six years…
‘Here comes the money’ filled the Joe Louis Arena and the wrestling fans in Detroit erupted as Shane-O-Mac himself stepped into the ring to confront his father and his sister. After minutes of relishing the crowd reaction and chants of ‘this is awesome!’, Shane was quick to point out why Stephanie didn’t deserve the award named after their grandfather. Shane evoked the very legacy that the award was supposed to recognize, a legacy of carrying WWE into the future and growing the business. In one of the most meta and self-referential promos since CM Punk’s ‘pipe bomb’ in the Summer of 2011, Shane then pointed out that WWE has been struggling recently with low television ratings, a plummeting stock price (since the launch of WWE Network that ended pay-per-view’s exclusivity to big shows), and a plethora of injuries to big stars on the roster – all of which he blamed on Stephanie McMahon and husband Triple H for storyline purposes.
Shane made it clear that he returned to WWE because he wanted control of Monday Night Raw and has every right to that because he and his father made a deal before he left WWE that he wouldn’t lose his place in line to run the company. Vincent Kennedy McMahon (the ‘Mr. McMahon’ everyone loves to hate) is not one to relinquish control of the empire he built, not even to his silver-spoon-fed children. So, he decided that he would give Shane control over Raw if Shane could win one match at a time of his father’s choosing. Shane agreed, and Vince announced that the match would take place on April 3, 2016 in AT&T Cowboys Stadium at WrestleMania against one of the most legendary wresters in the history of the business – the Undertaker… inside Hell in a Cell.
Here’s the thing about Shane McMahon. His last match was in May of 2009, and he’s known for death-defying stunts that electrify the crowd. Shane is now 46 years old and has been out of a wrestling ring for seven years. However, he looks to be in great shape, is still clearly very entertaining and has a connection with the audience that not even he expected. If Shane goes on to wrestle the Undertaker at WrestleMania for control of the company (and that’s a big if), the match will be nothing short of entertaining – and it wouldn’t be surprising to see Shane pull off another big stunt.
Shane McMahon returning to WWE six weeks before WrestleMania couldn’t have happened at a better time, no matter what he does on the grandest stage of them all. Dissention towards Roman Reigns’ coronation as the company’s next big star hasn’t dissipated and fans needed something to rejuvenate their interest. Having Shane McMahon return also helps WWE’s chances of drawing a record-breaking 100,000 fans to ‘Jerry World’ for WrestleMania.