The current role of Shane McMahon in WWE should not exist, at least based on the outcome of one of the highest-profile matches of this year’s WrestleMania card.
At The Showcase of the Immortals, the third-generation McMahon lost a Hell in a Cell match to The Undertaker, costing him any chance he had of earning control over Monday Night Raw. That is, until the following night when his father stupidly and illogically gave him the opportunity to run the show. Then, one week later, WWE once again put him in charge of the broadcast, this time due to “overwhelming social media support.”
BREAKING: Due to overwhelming social media support, @shanemcmahon will once again be in control of #RAW TONIGHT! pic.twitter.com/kxjYBqeMge
— WWE (@WWE) April 11, 2016
Had the prodigal son known that a few tweets would earn him the position he was actively seeking when he returned this past February, he probably would have been even less inclined to throw himself from the top of a giant steel structure, making that match against The Phenom even more useless.
The storyline has been one mangled mess of McMahon family drama and resulted in some of the most questionable booking decisions this side of Roman Reigns, but not all is lost in regard to the fan favorite’s return to WWE television.
Babyface Authority Figure
In his current role, Shane McMahon gives Monday Night Raw something it has not had in a long time: a babyface authority figure.
After three straight years of Triple H and Stephanie McMahon making life a living hell for the top heroes in the WWE Universe, McMahon changes the tone of the television product, allowing for more fan-friendly happy endings.
The audience has already gotten a taste of what it can expect under the Shane administration, with AJ Styles earning the right to be No. 1 contender to Reigns’ WWE World Heavyweight Championship and matches such as Styles vs. Sami Zayn stealing the show.
The atmosphere of the shows has almost instantaneously become more fun and enjoyable. The once stagnant nature of the broadcasts under The Authority’s rule has been lifted, and the addition of young talent from NXT has infused the shows with some much-needed energy.
Storyline or not, the audience associates all of the positives with Shane. That is a good thing going forward, especially if he sticks around. Fans will see McMahon as a symbol of progression and evolution. Considering how stale the product had become under the last authority figures, that is the greatest compliment that can be paid to Shane O’Mac at this time.
As witnessed at WrestleMania, McMahon can still deliver in a high-profile match. He is also in the best shape of his life and works hard to maintain it. The likelihood that he could step back into the squared circle at least one more time before he leaves, if he leaves, is relatively high.
His recent interactions with Kevin Owens open up a number of possibilities, including a match with the former Ring of Honor star, if the company so chooses to explore that option.
WWE is in a situation right now in which it has one of its most talented rosters ever but a distinct lack of legitimate stars. What better way to make a few than by putting them in the ring with a guy who has a connection with fans dating back to the much-celebrated Attitude Era?
Of course, it would be imperative that Shane never be booked on the level of the younger, more determined stars. Should that happen, all credibility would be lost. Still, there is a great deal of name recognition that could be lent to a gigantic match pitting the prodigal son against one of the many young, up-and-coming stars populating the roster.
And in the process, Shane could do for today’s crop of stars what Undertaker, Brock Lesnar, Triple H and The Rock have not: prepare them to carry the WWE mantle for years to come.
Overshadowing the Roster
As much good as Shane could do for the state of the current WWE roster, he could just as easily hamper its development.
McMahons have a tendency to completely overshadow the talent they share the screen with, especially in today’s more scripted environment. The Superstars are expected to stick closely to the words written for them, but the most powerful family in the industry is freer to venture off course. Thus, they come across as more natural, more believable than their co-stars.
Should the spotlight shine on him too brightly, and he asserts his power too strongly, he will hurt the credibility of the men and women he oversees.
Too often during The Authority’s rule, they spoke down to (and even demeaned) the talent they shared the screen with. They treated them as if they were pitiful pawns in their personal game of chess. The result was the breaking down of Superstars who could have been major players for the company. Instead, they were berated and knocked down, no one ever getting over on Triple H and his bride.
And if they did, it was for a fleeting moment.
That is something that cannot happen going forward. While Shane will be working with heels, he cannot tear them down. Instead, WWE Creative should be concerned with using the backstage and in-ring confrontations to strengthen the stature of the Superstars.
If the company can alter its booking habits to make it more beneficial to the talent, Shane will have a tremendous impact on righting a number of wrongs that have plagued the show over the last three years. If not, he will ultimately be no better than The Authority.