The WWE faithful are still buzzing over the latest promo from Kevin Owens. The former Universal champion cut loose on the July 9 edition of SmackDown Live, where he ripped into Shane McMahon. KO was upset that Shane continues to refer to himself as “the best in the world,” which is a direct insult to the men and women on WWE’s roster.
Owens echoed the sentiments of everyone watching at home, as well as in the live audience. In that moment, he ceased to be a devious heel and instead became an upset fan airing his grievances. He spoke for the people and they now love him for it. But even as fans hail KO as the second coming of CM Punk, the fact is that they may have missed the point. Once again, Vince McMahon’s company has displayed another sleight of hand, distracting everyone from the real issue.
The Shane McMahon storyline came from WWE, not Shane McMahon. Even if Shane was the man behind the idea, he still needed the green light to move forward. He may be the boss’s son, but that perhaps does not necessarily give him such creative freedom that he can do and say whatever he wants.
Check out KO’s buzz worthy promo on SmackDown Live!
The company surely has knowledge of what Shane is going to say before he says it. The same is certainly true of nearly every talent that pics up a mic, or looks into the camera to cut a promo. Shane, like every other Superstar in WWE, is not operating in a bubble. Everything he says and does affects everyone around him and WWE fans know that.
Yet those same fans are currently hating Shane for his work on TV and it’s not because he’s a heel. They hate him because he’s always on the air and as a result, other Superstars are not getting enough TV time. It doesn’t seem to matter that Shane is working in character, or that this storyline is hopefully leading to a satisfying conclusion in the near future. The only thing that matters is that Shane is unnecessary in the role he currently has and everyone knows it.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with fans becoming emotionally invested in a character. WWE has a long history of presenting Superstars that cannot seem to connect to the audience, despite their efforts and efforts from the company as well. So when a talent can invoke that type of emotion from the crowd, it’s definitely a good thing.
Watch how Shane McMahon first became “the best in the world”
But now KO has indeed been put in the CM Punk spot, as the one man that dares to speak out against the evil McMahon Family. However, Owens’ words seemed to come from the heart and were much too real to be scripted. KO was speaking up for the fans who have been complaining about Shane and the state of WWE over the past several months. But is that what really happened?
Or is it possible that once again, WWE trolled its own audience and has turned the tables on them, as they’ve done so many times in the past? Fans are praising WWE for the Owens “shoot” because it felt so real and was pitch perfect in terms of how unhappy everyone has been with Shane as a full-time character on TV. But Shane’s booking can be directly traced back to WWE Creative, which means that the company is to blame.
So why would WWE fans, who have seen this sort of scenario play out a number of times over the years, actually believe that this time is any different? Is Shane McMahon such a convincing heel that fans actually believe he’s going into business for himself on the mic? Is he really stealing the spotlight from everyone else in the company and doing it for purely selfish reasons?
Assuming that the majority of fans do understand that Shane is just playing his part and nothing more, then what is the real answer? Do those same fans blame WWE for Shane’s constant presence on TV? Everyone knows that Vince is still the man in charge and that he most certainly knew about his son’s work on TV from the moment that Shane’s most recent heel turn took place.
Relive CM Punk’s pipe bomb from 2011!
So are the fans blaming Vince and WWE, instead of Shane? If so, then why are they now celebrating Owens’ promo, when they know that the same company sent him out to say those emotional words against Shane?
It’s as if WWE created the mess of Shane McMahon’s storyline, then used Owens to clean it up. So instead of praising WWE for KO’s top notch promo, why not just demand better television from the very beginning? Why does WWE continue to speak down to fans with silly angles, then double back with angles to salvage the situation?
CM Punk’s pipebomb from 2011 was straight to the point and cut deep for every fan that’s ever watched it. He was passionate, he was blunt and more importantly, he was real. Everything he said had an element of truth, which made it even more satisfying. But WWE was no more in the dark about what was going to happen that night than they were on the night that KO spoke his own truth.
This is not about one guy standing up and screaming for change. This is about a company that bombards the audience with one McMahon Family storyline after another and each one is more frustrating than the one before. But the audience is so accustomed to it and so bored with it, that even the slightest complaint from any Superstar is enough to turn it all upside down. That is precisely what’s happened with Kevin Owens and Shane McMahon.
Fans are giving WWE credit for the move, when the fault lay only with the company from day one. But KO’s promo worked and it got Shane over even more as a heel so in that regard, it was a success. The audience is choosing to ignore the past and once again hail WWE as a worldwide brilliant booking machine. As long as that keeps happening, pipe bombs will forever be dropped by one Superstar after another. Whether or not fans will keep buying in, remans to be seen.
Tom Clark can regularly be seen on Wrestling Rumors. His podcast, Tom Clark’s Main Event, is available on iTunes,YouTube, iHeart Radio, boinkstudios.com and live every Friday at 12pm EST on Wrestling Rumors Facebook Live