It has been a whirlwind week in the wrestling world with Shane McMahon making his return to Monday night Raw after a six year absence.
After receiving one of the biggest pops in recent history, Shane announced that he wanted control of Monday night Raw from his father, (remember that, he specifically asked for control of Raw) and the two eventually agreed, but Shane only gets his way if he can defeat The Undertaker at WrestleMania inside Hell in a Cell.
Now, this whole thing is about as chaotic and messy as wrestling gets and that can either lead this to being the match that shapes the WWE for the foreseeable future, or it could be a Shockmaster-level catastrophe.
By the end of this article, we will have determined the best booking options for this feud and where it can launch the rest of the WWE’s 2016.
As entertaining and shocking as Shane’s return was, some people aren’t particularly impressed.
People have labelled this as a terrible idea for a few understandable reasons with the main one being that this scenario means we have to cheer against The Undertaker at WrestleMania.
The Undertaker is possibly the greatest superstar of all time and is not only almost exclusively a babyface wrestler when he competes at WrestleMania, but he’s also competing in his home state!
And yet, considering we want Shane to win and take charge of Raw, we have to cheer against The Undertaker? How could that possibly work?
Well that leads us to how this feud should play out, starting with this week’s Raw.
The Undertaker aligns himself with Vince on Raw this week, turning heel.
This one actually makes the most logical sense, but it does bend kayfabe a little bit.
The Undertaker is scheduled to appear on Raw this week and the best thing they can do is have him come out and cut a promo about how much he owes Vince McMahon.
He can talk about how Vince gave him his initial opportunities and turned him into the legend he is today.
On the Legends with JBL episode celebrating The Undertaker’s 25 year anniversary, JBL himself said that The Undertaker was Vince McMahon’s greatest creation and a defining factor in Vince’s legacy.
The Undertaker legitimately owes a lot to Vince McMahon and he can talk about how he will be happy to defend Vince’s legacy and defend Vince’s ownership of Monday night Raw because he owes him that much.
This is a real and legitimate angle that’s believable and doesn’t stray too far out of character.
At some stage on Raw the same night, The League of Nations should attack Shane backstage, with Undertaker fending them off.
Taker should then grab Shane by the throat and chokeslam him, stating that at WrestleMania, he is going to hurt Shane.
But it can’t end there, between that show and WrestleMania, Vince must question The Undertaker’s loyalty and tell him that he wants Taker to prove his loyalty to Vince.
The Undertaker should viciously assault a babyface, preferably someone who won’t play a massive role at WrestleMania, but has been a thorn in The Authority’s side.
The perfect person for that is Dolph Ziggler.
Ziggler was responsible for seeing The Authority out of power in 2014 and he can sell a beating better than anyone.
The Undertaker should put Dolph on the shelf indefinitely, cementing his heel turn and the direction of the match at WrestleMania.
From here we get to WrestleMania with Shane bruised and battered from The Undertaker’s attack and several other attacks on him orchestrated by his father.
No matter which scenario they choose to end the match, Shane and Taker should be allowed to put on a decent match with Undertaker dominating, but not able to put Shane away.
Shane can get the upper hand by using weapons, but he must also be unable to pin The Undertaker – because if Kane, Diesel, The Big Show, Randy Orton, Batista, Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Edge, CM Punk, Ric Flair and so on can’t do it clean, then neither can a 46-year-old Shane McMahon.
From here, there are several different ways this match can end:
Ending One: John Cena costs The Undertaker the match
This is the ending that could potentially be the most influential on WWE programming for the future.
Cena pops out from under the ring, inside the Cell and hits The Undertaker with an AA onto some kind of foreign object.
Shane crawls into the cover and pins Undertaker, winning the match while Cena looks over The Deadman.
In one fell swoop, you’ve got Shane in charge of Raw, Cena versus The Undertaker is set up for WrestleMania 33 and you have a legitimate way for Shane to leave the match victorious.
Cena’s explanation for doing it can be easy – he’s already tried to get rid of The Authority once, of course he would jump at the opportunity to do it again.
He doesn’t even need to be medically cleared, he can get involved and then return to rehab for as long as he needs.
Ending Two: The Rock costs The Undertaker the match
This one would be exactly the same as the above, except with The Rock, who is already advertised for WrestleMania, costing Taker the match and setting up himself versus The Undertaker at WrestleMania 33.
Rock’s storyline with The Authority stretches all the way back to last year’s WrestleMania and this would make just as much sense as having Cena cost Undertaker the match.
Cena would be the better option of the two though.
Ending Three: The Undertaker wins… and that’s it
The WWE are the kings of the big-let-down-status-quo-resumed moment and this could be exactly that.
It could be the biggest anti-climax in WWE history with The Undertaker defeating Shane McMahon while Michael Cole talks about how gallant and brave Shane was in his defeat and JBL says there’s no shame in losing to The Undertaker while the crowd collectively groans.
However, the next night on Raw, things take another twist… read on.
Ending Four: A Draw?
This would be the wildcard ending.
Somehow, someway, The Undertaker and Shane McMahon have some kind of wild spot involving the Cell and both men are pinned or the referee simply stops the match.
What happens? Who gets control of Raw? Well let’s move onto the universal conclusion regardless of the result.
If ending’s one or two transpire, then Shane gains control of Monday night Raw, but The Authority aren’t quite dead yet.
They surrender Raw, but they announce that they’ll be leaving for SmackDown and taking half of the roster with them, leading to a draft at the next pay-per-view.
A good way to do this would be to have Triple H retain the WWE Championship and take that to SmackDown while Raw brings back the World Heavyweight Championship as its title.
Remember, Shane said he wanted control over Raw specifically.
Vince and Stephanie could bring their lawyers out and say that they can still legally take total control of SmackDown.
Of course, it could be far more straightforward with Shane taking full control over WWE programming and The Authority disappearing altogether.
This is more likely as Roman will defeat Triple H at WrestleMania (because of course he will) and that allows The Authority to leave WWE television completely.
As long as Shane wins, the above is probably the betting favourite for how it all plays out.
If ending three happens, then you can do the reverse.
Have Shane come out and say that he doesn’t just have stock and money in that lockbox that he has over Vince’s head, he has a few more tricks up his sleeve.
After all, he wouldn’t bet everything he has on a match with The Undertaker, he’s not stupid.
So he whispers something in Vince’s ear and Vince looks shocked.
Shane demands control over SmackDown and calls for a brand split immediately and Vince reluctantly agrees.
What is it that Shane has over Vince? Who knows, it could be anything and it could possibly be never revealed.
If the result is a draw, you can pretty much just transplant that last one into ending four.
Outside of Shane winning and simply taking control of WWE programming full stop, a brand split is the best way for this feud with The Undertaker to end and will freshen up WWE television like nothing before it.