Here comes the money!
Here we go...
...and just like that, WrestleMania 32 was saved.
For weeks, I have been writing about the fact that John Cena is the only man that could SAVE this year's WrestleMania event. It was a pretty bold statement but one that fit. Sting was not coming back. Seth Rollins and Randy Orton are still hurt. Daniel Bryan has retired. As much as I love them, Edge, Stone Cold Steve Austin, and Shawn Michaels are done competing. Plus, no offense, but a big name hire like Bill Goldberg is not as "big" as some want to claim in 2016.
That left a glimmer of hope that super human John Cena could heal in time and come back to challenge The Undertaker an epic WM32 showdown in Texas.
When I turned on RAW this past week, that is exactly what I figured was going to happen. The Legacy of Excellence Award was clearly some bogus BS set up for a Mania segment but what? Well, all my assumptions and statements about Cena were thrown out the window when a familiar theme song hit in Detroit Monday night.
To say I got goosebumps when SHANE F'N MCMAHON returned to WWE would be an understatement. I had goosebumps on top of goosebumps on top of goosebumps. My jaw hit the floor, and I just sat there in awe for about 30 seconds. Once he hit the ring and the live crowd popped beyond belief, my fist was literally being pumped in the air.
Yes, I busted out a fist pump for Shane O' Mac coming back to WWE!
It was unreal and an easy candidate for "Raw Moment of the Year" in 2016. Also Segment of the Year. Surprise of the Year. Oh, and Most Memorable Return in a long, long time.
This was exactly what WWE needed right now. Forget all he stock/television ratings news. The company was limping into arguably the biggest WM of all-time, and when I say limping, I mean limping because their roster is crushed with injuries. I could list them all, but everybody is well aware of the injured names right now. It is downright scary (and amazing) to imagine a WM32 card with every guy/gal healthy and set to wrestle.
Alas, such is life.
WWE had to get the ball rolling on a major story line Monday, and whether it was due to Batista turning them down or desperate times calling for desperate measures, Shane McMahon is now back in WWE and in a featured WrestleMania spot.
It is all so shocking that I am still trying to process this all a week later.
Let's start with the obvious question:
Why Shane McMahon of all people?
As outlined above, I really think WWE ran through their list of options and realized they were screwed. The Undertaker clearly deserved a huge WM spotlight, as he does every year. Given the Texas location, it had to be a bit more special.
Sting? May never wrestle again.
John Cena? Not ready to return...yet.
Seth Rollins? Out.
Daniel Bryan? Just retired.
Bill Goldberg? Meh.
Wyatts again? NO!!!
Brock Lesnar again? Nope.
Kevin Owens? Come on, get real.
Batista? Reportedly turned down a WM cameo.
Who is left to face Taker at Mania?
WWE had to dig into their bag of tricks and if reports are accurate, Shane McMahon may be looking to make a career change soon and was available to wrestle again. One phone call later from father to son, and boom! Match made.
Is Shane REALLY going to wrestle?
I think so.
The prevailing thought is this is simply a set-up for Shane McMahon to reveal Taker's REAL opponent. Cena? Sting? Somebody will replace Shane O' Mac in he coming weeks, and there you go. We get the true matchup?
Honestly, I DO believe WWE is stalling to see if John Cena heals up in the next month. I do believe there is truth to that. However, just based on the past week and the overwhelming reaction, my gut says WWE is now all in on Shane vs. Taker.
Even if they weren't before, they are now.
Shane O' Mac may have a million guys interfere at Mania to help him out, but make no mistake, he will be the one wrestling The DeadMan.
Inside the Cell too?!?!
Just like WrestleMania 28 needed that extra added layer with Triple H vs. The Undertaker, this bout also needs that one small little push to the top.
Shane is a bumping machine and is not your typically trained wrestler. Go back and watch his past efforts. There is not much 'wrestling' involved. It os just hardcore brawls and a mega-bump from a high place.
...Like the HIAC structure?
Forget the fact that this is Taker's gimmick match, this is all about giving Shane McMahon a platform to jump off of. Or fall from.
Will Taker even accept the match?
That is another issue.
What if Taker declines? Or if he wants to fight for Shane and not against him? Say the roles get reversed or something to team up versus Vince McMahon at Mania? Well, we will have to wait until Monday night when The DeadMan shows up on RAW.
Until then, I believe he will do the match. Not sure why, but he is Vince's most trusted guy, with the incredible 22-1 WM record, and inside his own structure? No wonder Vinny Mac picked him. Certainly makes sense.
Shane wants to run RAW if he wins?
Notice they never said Smackdown.
There are rumors of a brand split coming up soon, with Shane McMahon sticking around past Mania. Truthfully, my first instinct was Shane is only here for a one-off match (and loss) before leaving again. The more I thought about it though...why not stick around?
Even Shane is up for it, keep the momentum going and give some buzz back to Raw AND Smackdown. Not like a true NXT invasion or anything, but maybe Shane has a certain "Club" to bring in? Just an idea. I don't think much of this translate to real life backstage changes, but that all remains to be seen after April 3rd, 2016. I think both sides just want to get to WM first and then go from there.
Okay, but who the heck wins?
I mean, surely, Taker can't lose to Shane at a WrestleMania event in Texas! That is just ridiculous to think about. Then again, won' the crowd be cheering for Shane to win and get rid of The Authority running Raw? I want to hear what Taker has to say on Monday night because if Taker wins after a hard fought battle, we get no shake up on television with Shane. On the flip side, if Shane somehow wins - that means The Undertaker just lost to a non-wrestler McMahon in Texas at WM in front of 100,000 fans. The spectacle of THAT!
Last but not least...
Does any of this make sense?
No, absolutely not. The Raw opening segment lasted over 30 minutes, was confusing as can be, had a ton of plot holes, featured the usual McMahon family drama, felt completely out of place for WrestleMania 32, and failed using any logic...
...yet it was awesome.
The live crowd ate it up, and so did I.
Fans want unpredictability?
Be careful what you wish for folks - you got it.
If I would have told you last week Shane McMahon vs. The Undertaker in a HIAC match would be at WM32, you would laughed in my face at the terrible fantasy booking and ripped me to shreds.
Except, here we sit talking about that very said match with fans both cautious and excited about the numerous possible outcomes.
Amazing how WWE always has an ace up their sleeve when it appears all hope was gone. Let's see what other rabbit they can pull out of their hat. Buckle up, it is going to be a fun ride on the Road to WrestleMania.
Here we go...
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