Shane McMahon put his body and future with the company on the line at WrestleMania 32 when he stepped into a Hell in a Cell match against The Undertaker. If he won, Shane would assume full control of Monday Night Raw; it would also spell the end of The Undertaker’s legacy at WrestleMania and he would no longer be able to wrestle at the Showcase of the Immortals. If the Dead Man were to win, Shane would have to give up the mysterious leverage (lockbox?) he had on his father Vince and give up his ambitions to take over control of the company he vowed to change.
After a hellacious match that peaked with Shane’s now legendary crash and burn from the top of the cell through the announcer’s table, The Undertaker won the match clean with no outside interference from anyone, much to the surprise of many fans who expected someone (Cena, Sting, anyone?) to interfere regardless of whose side they were on.
With Shane defeated, The Authority still controlled the WWE, much to the dismay of many fans sick of Vince, Stephanie, and Triple H running the show. On the Raw following WrestleMania, Vince came out to gloat about “his” victory over Shane, only to be interrupted by his son. Instead of being a sore loser, Shane thanked the fans for their support during his return and also to say goodbye and once again leave the company.
Shockingly, and without much reason, Vince decided to give Shane control of the show which immediately discounted the results of the night before. With very few exceptions, the crowed poo-pooed much of the show, and Shane didn’t play much of a role throughout the night aside from a couple backstage meet and greets. Ultimately, it did not seem too different from any other Raw we’ve seen over the last few years.
The night culminated with a Fatal Fourway match to determine the #1 contender for the WWE World Heavyweight championship, which was won the night before by Roman Reigns, much to the chagrin of the largely smark crowd at WrestleMania. The show ended on a high note, as AJ Styles won the match and now has a championship date, likely at WWE Payback in May.
Shane running Raw last week, as mind-boggling as it was, could have been easily written off as a one-time event, with The Authority reassuming control of the show thereafter. Triple H and Stephanie could have opened the show (per usual) chastising the crowd and letting them know that playtime is over. The crowd was allowed to have their fun with Shane in control the week before, but it would be back to business with The Authority in charge.
Showing that the WWE seemingly has no long-term plan for this storyline, their official Twitter account tweeted out Monday morning before this week’s Raw that “Due to overwhelming social media support, @shanemcmahon will once again be in control of #RAW TONIGHT!” As much as fans may enjoy this in the short-term, it shows a very concerning lack of long-term storytelling. It seems as if Vince and his team have been making this storyline up on the fly from the very beginning, which is troubling if true.
What was the purpose of the Hell in a Cell match now that Shane will have controlled Raw for two weeks in a row? How does The Undertaker feel about being used as Vince’s puppet, only to have his work undone the very next night? Why waste one of (if not THE) last Undertaker WrestleMania match on a storyline made up in the fly with the consequences seemingly tossed in the trash less than 24 hours later? The Dead Man is already angered at Vince for being called his bitch; this should only infuriate him even further.
The WWE Creative team has long been criticized for their inability to tell coherent and long-term stories, whether it can be attributed to the incompetency of the members of the staff, or if they are ultimately being overridden by an aging Vince, who many see to be out of touch with today’s wrestling fans.
Where the storyline will go remains to be seen, and tonight’s Raw will (hopefully) explain why Shane has been allowed to run Raw two weeks in a row after losing a match that lost him the ability to do just that. Will any of this storyline eventually make sense? Will that mysterious lockbox ever be explained? Will we hear from The Undertaker and get his opinions on the matter? We’ll just have to tune in and find out, more than likely to be disappointed yet again by Vince and his team of writers.