Shane McMahon just returned to WWE.
This might not seem like a huge deal if you don’t follow the product – Shane is obviously the son of Vince McMahon, and he’s only been away from the company for about six years. However in the years since he left, he’s built a pretty respectable portfolio for himself, becoming the CEO of You on Demand, the first VOD service in China and serving on the board of directors for the International Sports Management agency. It was reasonable to think that Shane-O Mac might never make his way back to a WWE ring, and if he did, it didn’t seem like it’d be anything more than a cursory bit of fan service.
But holy shit here we are at the beginning of Raw and Vince and Stephanie – who rose to power in the years since her brother left the family business – get stampeded over by “Here Comes The Money,” which is still maybe the greatest theme in wrestling history. Out comes a graying Shane rocking Nike Dunks under a charcoal suit and the place goes nuts. It’s one of the loudest pops of the last two years – which can be taken as either an endorsement of Shane’s reputation or an indictment of Roman Reigns (and, by extension, Vince himself).
— WWE (@WWE) February 23, 2016
Shane-O has gathered something of a cult following over the course of his in-ring career. He’s great on the mic and has been involved in some of the most momentous events in the company’s kayfabe history – like when he acquired WCW from under his Vince’s nose. But more importantly, the guy could really wrestle. Shane is an heir to a billion-dollar empire, but like his father, he was absurdly unafraid to take some vicious bumps. Like at Backlash in 2001, where he happily dropped an elbow on the Big Show from the Titantron, or at this Raw from 1999, which features one of the most aesthetically pleasing cage dives ever. It’s often said in wrestling that as long as you’re clearly trying, you will get over. Shane could’ve easily avoided some of the substantial risks he took in WWE, but instead he built himself into a legitimate star on the back of coast-to-coast dropkicks.
So in the storyline Shane is wrestling the freaking Undertaker at WrestleMania, and if he wins he gets control of Raw. This is, naturally, Vince being evil and setting up his son to fail because “Undertaker at WrestleMania” has long been the most immortal character at WWE. This will probably end in a loss so Shane-O can go back to all his important venture capitalist inclinations, but frankly that doesn’t bother me. We’re at least getting one more month of Shane, and I’m sure his baseball jersey at ‘Mania is going to be glorious. You guys, we’re going to see another giant Shane McMahon elbow drop. I can’t wait.
Man, wrestling is really great sometimes isn’t it?