Welcome to Day 8 in my own personal Mania Countdown. Today I’m sharing a possibly unpopular opinion concerning a certain Mania match; I think Shane can and should win his Hell in the Cell match against the Undertaker. Now let me explain why.
First of all, let’s talk about the McMahons as a whole. Years of anonymous interviews and interviews with former WWE employees, talent both past and current, and people close to the family have painted a pretty clear picture of what the McMahons are really like in real life. Generally Vince and Steph are generally perceived as quieter versions of their onscreen personas, Linda is an afterthought to most folks, and Shane is the only McMahon who is generally universally respected and well-liked. Where Vince and Steph both have reputations for being douchey bosses in real life, while those in the company who worked under Shane have only praise for him. Vince and Steph treat their staff like “the help”, Shane treated his like family.
A lot of folks were understandably unhappy when Shane left the company 7 years ago. While no one not directly involved can say with 100% certainty what happened, enough people close to the McMahons have spoken up that it’s a pretty safe bet that things came to a head with Vince giving Tripsy and Steph more direct creative control while repeatedly ignoring Shane’s ideas. And a lot of Shane’s ideas were good, and most certainly better ideas than the ones Vince went with instead. ECWWE could have been what NXT is now if Vince had gone with Shane’s ideas. Shane wanted ECWWE to be an internet show free of a pg leash with him and Heyman booking it, to create the new stars of tomorrow. Vince instead made it a hollow mockery of the old ECW and naturally, it failed.
Now, whatever the full actual truth behind why Shane left, his comments on his first night back were all too accurate; under Steph’s guidance the main roster product is floundering badly. She and Vince are both self-absorbed and egocentric. They book shows according to their own personal likes, and ignore the audience. Occasionally, as with Daniel Bryan a couple years back, the audience can force Vince and Steph to listen, but such events are exceedingly rare. Vince and Steph book WWE as if they expect us to love only what THEY tell us to love, cheer for only who they think we should, and generally not have minds of our own. This is why we’re getting Roman Reigns vs Triple H, no matter how clearly and vehemently the audience shits on it. Even if it’s just storyline, the idea of Shane finally having a chance to run the show is appealing to say the least.
Now let’s get to the heart of the matter; despite the fact that Taker is in his early fifties and his knees are shot, fans still buy into his mystique. Enough so that it was still somehow a shock when the Streak was broken even though he was a 50-something year old man facing a huge healthy beefy MMA guy in his 30’s. Outside of wrestling storylines, no one would ever have realistically expected Taker to beat Brock. But IN storylines Taker is still the spooky undead wizard with mysterious superpowers, so fns still want to think of him as unbeatable. But the fact is, he HAS been beaten. Whatever your take on the Streak being broken, it WAS broken, and even in storyline now, Taker is no longer the unbeatable dragon.
Add to that the fact that Shane is actually loved and respected by the fans. He’s not like Vince or Steph where, whenever they wrestled the audience treated it like talentless posers booking themselves to stroke their own egos, Shane has the fans’ respect. They take him seriously, because he’s repeatedly proven himself fearless. He looks like he’s done at the very least basic training, and he’s willing to take any risk the roster would. In fact he’s taken bumps NO other wrestler ever has. He out New Jacked New Jack for height bumps. His two falls off the Titantron from at least 50 feet up, (realistically. It’s always sold as 70 feet or higher, but realistic estimates have it as probably 50), are as legendary and repeatedly played as Foley’s bumps in that one Hell in the Cell match we all know and cringe at.
Shane is also in the best shape of his life. Unlike Taker, who these days looks spindly and sickly and not exactly in the best physical shape, Shane, even in his 40’s, is visibly in better shape than he’s ever been. He’s been doing legit MMA training in his years away from the ‘E. Muy Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu are in his repertoire, and that genuine practical skill can only make his ring work look that much better. He is, by all measurable standards, even in WWE Storylines, a genuinely credible threat to the Undertaker. Especially in Hell in a Cell, where Shane’s insane fearless risk-taking will shine. You know that rule Vince has limiting how high you can take a bump from after the Foley HITC incident? Yeah, Shane is the one who could break it laughing.
So that covers the “can”. Now let’s cover the “should”.
Let’s be blunt; once again, the Undertaker, Mark Calloway, is a 51 year old man with a bad back and shot knees. Yes, he can pull out al the stops for Mania, but almost everyone on IP agrees he’s at best, a shadow of his best, and he’s not anywhere near as fun to watch as he once was. His age shows, his body looks worn out and tired. He needs, NEEDS, to hang it up and walk away while he CAN still walk. It is a very realistic possibility, given that two of his last 4 Manias left him with serious concussions, that one bad spot could seriously injure him. This needs to be his last Mania. He CANNOT keep doing this.
The other major reason Shane should win is because goddammit, SOMETHING needs to change on Raw and Smackdown. Everything is boring, stale and predictable. There are only a handful of talent who are consistently entertaining but even they are handcuffed by Steph’s vanity and Vince’s cluelessness. They think people enjoy booing the Authority. They refuse to recognize their own X-Pac heat. We’re well past the sell-by date of the Evil Boss trope. Fans are bored with it, tired of it. It needs to end. And they NEED to start listening to the audience. Turn Roman heel. Put the belt on Ambrose. Do SOMETHING.
If Shane wins and is storyline in charge, he might get to make a few decisions for real. He might get back into the swing of things. He might just decide he wants to be involved again. And that can only help the company.
So I’m hoping for a Shane victory. Because SOMETHING has to change.
Tomorrow, Divas vs Women.
Tags: A Penny For Your Thoughts Wrestlemania Countdown, Shane McMahon, undertaker