It’s another week with another Monday Night Raw that fans seemed to reject up and down the card. The show just is not good right now with the show feeling like it’s all over the place on any given week. At the same time though, there is one constant which is almost constantly being presented as a major star no matter what happens. To the shock of no one who is paying attention, that would be Shane McMahon.
I understand why McMahon is getting this kind of a push. It makes sense to push someone who is part of the most important wrestling family in the world and when you factor in McMahon being able to survive a match, the logic is certainly there. Throw in the success that he had in 2016 at WrestleMania 32 with the ticket sales for his match against Undertaker and how can you argue against having McMahon on the show as a special attraction?
Except that isn’t what happens. McMahon has become one of the most frequently presented talents on WWE TV, regularly appearing on both Monday Night Raw and SmackDown Live and feuding with both the Miz and Roman Reigns at the same time. He even has lackeys in the forms of Elias and Drew McIntyre. These accomplishments and level of a push have more or less made McMahon the top heel in the company, even though he doesn’t fit either description of a special attraction or the kind of heel that he is.
This guy needs to be punched in the face:
I don’t think it’s any secret that McMahon isn’t the in-ring performer that he used to be. He is still an athletic freak and can do all kinds of things that blow fans’ minds, but at the same time he seems to be ready to keel over due to a lack of oxygen after five minutes. Then there’s the punches and the less said about them the better. They’ve never been good but somehow they’re getting even worse.
The problem comes down to the fact that McMahon isn’t being treated as a special attraction. He’s being treated as the star of the show, which goes against every bit of logic you could have with him. Why would I want to see McMahon come out and do his thing every week? Think back to the match against Undertaker. How much of the interest was because we hadn’t seen McMahon in a good many years? Did he still have it? Could he win? How high of a thing was he going to jump off of?
Those are questions that fans wanted to see answered so they watched the show to find out. Well now it’s three years later and we know the answer to those questions. We also know what happens when McMahon gets in the ring because he’s wrestled seven times this year. Yeah some of those matches have been nothing, but his record is 5-2, with the two losses coming in tag matches against the Usos for the Tag Team Titles (because McMahon had a title in 2019) when Miz took the fall. So no, McMahon has not lost a fall this year, with his last fall coming at Survivor Series when he was the last man standing for his team.
So what exactly am I supposed to want to see with McMahon? In something that will probably never be said again, he’s turned into some weird hybrid of Andre the Giant and Bobby Heenan. That might be a strange comparison but the more you think about it, the more it makes sense. Both of those two were incredible performers, but it wouldn’t work as well if you used them the wrong way.
This is how you do a monster:
First up you have Andre the Giant, whose appeal speaks for itself. He almost never lost a match, but he also rarely appeared for most of his career. You can’t have an attraction like that show up every single week. It would be like going to the circus every Monday night. Sure the first two times are impressive, but how long does it take before the magic is gone and you can even see how some of the things are done because you see them so often? Andre being around so infrequently made seeing him feel special. If he’s on TV every week (like say, Big Show), how impressive would he stay?
How true is this of McMahon? At the end of the day, Andre was an incredible performer and one of the best giants (and wrestlers in general) of all time. If you watched him over and over the charm might go away, but he could still go with just about anyone until his body wore out. When is the last time you were impressed by a McMahon match? The smoke and mirrors are all over the place when he’s out there because he’s pushing 50 years old and while he’s still athletic, he’s not a fully trained wrestler and relies on big spots (When is the last time he didn’t at least try Coast To Coast?) to try to hide his lack of skills.
On the other hand though, you have Heenan, probably the greatest manager of all time. Heenan could run his mouth as well as anyone in history and almost never shut up. He could get away with this thanks to the Heenan Family, who were almost always there to protect him from whomever wanted to take his head off (usually Hulk Hogan or later the Big Boss Man).
Imagine McMahon doing this:
I say usually because every so often, the big star would get their hands on Heenan and beat him up a little bit, though never too much that he couldn’t come back from it. The key to it though was that the fans loved to see Heenan FINALLY get what was coming to him after all those months of him tormenting their heroes, who had had enough of Heenan’s antics.
It’s such a simple technique that it has been used by countless managers over the years. In the NWA (primarily), there was an old gimmick where if a face won a match against the regular wrestler, he got five minutes with the manager, which was exactly what the fans wanted to see. That’s the kind of thing that it seems to be building to with McMahon. If Miz or Reigns can beat McIntyre or Elias, they can finally have their shot at McMahon.
But what if Heenan then fought Hogan to a stalemate and rolled him up for a fluke win? Can you even imagine that happening? Of course not, because THAT WOULD BE A REALLY BAD IDEA! McMahon has beaten the Miz twice in a row and has one of the better win/loss records in WWE this year without actually getting pinned. He isn’t a wrestler yet he hides behind his henchmen and acts as a manager a lot of the time. Why in the world is he getting this kind of treatment when he gets in the ring?
McMahon isn’t good enough to be a full time wrestler but is too good of a villain to not have around a lot of the time. The problem is that as annoying as he can be, he’s treated as someone who might as well be World Champion. Seriously, would it surprise you if he won the title at some point this year, or at least came close to it? That’s how overly pushed he is, and how many people can’t even get on TV while the 49 year old McMahon can?
There is a fine balance to presenting non-wrestlers and WWE has completely missed the mark in this case. McMahon can perform very well in certain rolls, but WWE seems to think of him as the greatest thing around. The value that he has is as someone who doesn’t get in the ring very often but is around enough to drive you crazy. You can’t have him be unstoppable in the ring and around all the time, or vice versa. It doesn’t work that way, and the longer WWE tries to make it work, the bigger a case it will be of there goes the money.
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 2000 Monday Nitro and Thunder Reviews Part 1.
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