It’s officially December and that means one thing. Well ok it means several things, but for the sake of this we’re going to say that it means the cold weather is upon us. I mean, it is if you live in certain parts of the world but if I keep putting in caveats we’ll be here all day. The cold weather brings with it the snow, and that brings bits of white covering up something that is otherwise a variety of colors. That sounds like Shane McMahon’s hair, and that’s who we’re talking about today (and yes, I really went that far around to find a way to start talking about him).
Back in 2016, McMahon returned in one of the most genuine surprise moments I’ve seen in a very long time. He hadn’t been around in several years and that music hitting (as annoying as he can be, his theme song is one of the best ways to hype up a crowd in a short amount of time) made my head snap around. My wife actually ran around to the TV and started screaming because she couldn’t believe he was back. It was a great moment…and it’s pretty much been all downhill from there.
After a downright confusing story that saw McMahon be put in charge of Monday Night Raw despite losing the match that would have given him control of the show, he got into a groove as an authority figure, eventually being put in charge of SmackDown Live. That’s all well and good because, after twenty plus years, I’ve pretty much grown numb to the idea of a McMahon running the shows. There’s no way around it and there’s no reason to complain about it, because those people are going to be in charge of the show until it’s bags containing their dust with their promos in word balloons.
It started off so well. Check out McMahon’s amazing return to the company in 2016:
Then there’s the other side, where McMahon wrestles occasionally as well. This is where everything starts to fall apart as McMahon is treated like someone that Steve Austin would be afraid of running into in a dark alley. McMahon is presented as one of the biggest and most talented stars in the world, which was one thing when he was about thirty years old and an athletic freak. Now he’s still athletic, but he turns forty nine years old in January and isn’t quite as much of a marvel as he used to be. The bigger problem though is how McMahon’s matches are put together, which is a whole different issue.
Ignoring the Greatest Royal Rumble and the tag match with Miz from November when McMahon never tagged in, McMahon has wrestled eight significant matches since returning to the company in 2016. That may not sound like much, but consider how big of a stage most of these matches have been on. Here are his matches, in chronological order and with match times:
• WrestleMania XXXII – Undertaker, Hell in a Cell (co-main event, 30:02)
• Survivor Series 2016 – Team Raw vs. Team SmackDown, eliminated by referee stoppage after a spear from Roman Reigns (main event, McMahon lasted 40:00)
• WrestleMania XXXIII – AJ Styles (opener, 20:18)
• Hell in a Cell 2017 – Kevin Owens (main event, in the Cell, 39:00)
• Survivor Series 2017 – Team Raw vs. Team SmackDown, eliminated by Triple H (main event, McMahon lasted 33:20 and was the last to be eliminated)
• WrestleMania XXXIV – Teamed with Daniel Bryan vs. Kevin Owens/Sami Zayn (McMahon worked most of the match, 15:22)
• Crown Jewel – Dolph Ziggler, World Cup Final (McMahon wins a tournament he’s not in, 2:28)
• Survivor Series 2018 – Team Raw vs. Team Smackdown, eliminated by Braun Strowman (McMahon lasted 23:58 and was the last to be eliminated)
Look at those matches. He’s been in three main events (you could make a case that he was in the real main event of WrestleMania XXXII), wrestled a number of Hall of Famers, and wrestled at least fifteen minutes in all but one match (where he won a tournament that he wasn’t entered). Look at the people to beat him: Undertaker, Reigns (close enough), Styles, Owens, Triple H and Strowman. Those are mostly former World Champions and it took Sami Zayn interfering for Owens to beat him. Most of these matches included him surviving several finishers, including a Last Ride, a chokeslam and Hell’s Gate against Undertaker.
You don’t think anyone else could take this spot? Check out McMahon vs. Undertaker inside the Cell:
Who in the world would get to do something like this? Triple H? Shawn Michaels maybe? These kinds of things would be impressive for the best of all time and McMahon pulls them off almost every time he gets in the ring. I know his nickname used to be the Boy Wonder but Superman himself would think that McMahon is going a little far with who he’s facing and what he can survive from them.
At the end of the day, McMahon isn’t a wrestler. He’s someone who wrestled a handful of times a year and it does feel like a big deal, but his matches have turned more into a game of wondering what he’s going to do next. Which finishers is he going to survive this time? Who is he going to pin? Or maybe he’s now a submission master and can make a World Champion tap out.
WWE has gone WAY too far with the McMahon push and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better. At the moment, he’s in what seems to be a feud with the Miz. You know, another former World Champion who will be in the Hall of Fame one day and has main evented a WrestleMania. Odds are we’re gearing up for a Royal Rumble or even WrestleMania match between the two of them, which brings up the other big problem.
Who else could be in these spots instead of McMahon? It’s not like he’s giving anyone an important rub by beating him (again: consider the names he’s lost to) and that means he’s just taking up a spot for the sake of taking up a spot. Sure McMahon can draw in some attention, but instead of living off his reputation, why not use it to help build someone up? Or better yet, stop using the McMahons to build people up so much. It can work, but this hasn’t exactly been a rousing success.
That’s just hard to do. Remember that time when McMahon won the tournament he wasn’t in:
That’s where this whole thing becomes a problem: McMahon is the only person benefiting from this. Yeah he has big matches, but when people beat him, they’re beating up a part time, middle aged wrestler who rarely wins any of his big matches anyway. If you do nothing but job to people, beating you doesn’t mean that much. His matches can be exciting, but it’s more based on McMahon doing some crazy stunt and not the fact that the matches are actually of a high quality. Just look at McMahon’s horrible punches and you can see that he doesn’t exactly belong in a ring most of the time, especially not on the biggest stages.
There is a place for McMahon in WWE. He’s incredibly charismatic and the fans react to him, but there’s a big difference between being a big deal and taking up a big spot as often as he does. It’s long since been a problem and it doesn’t seem to be going away. There are a lot of other things that McMahon could do based on his name and reputation alone, but instead he’s getting these long matches (Who else gets that long almost every time they’re out there?) against top level opponents and hanging with them. I know the song says here comes the money, but this much McMahon seems to be coming at a big price.
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 5,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his Amazon author page with 28 wrestling books. His latest book is the the Complete 1997 Monday Night Raw Reviews.
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