When word broke last week that the Undertaker’s WrestleMania 32 opponent is not someone on the WWE roster, speculation ran wild. Nobody pegged Shane McMahon for the spot but in hindsight, maybe we should have.
Social media went crazy Monday night after Shane McMahon made his return to the WWE. Shane received a welcome fit for Stone Cold Steve Austin, the Rock, or Hulk Hogan. The irony is that most on social media were practically mocking the booking. Yet in the end it may be the WWE who has the last laugh.
Injuries created a lot of opportunities this year for WrestleMania, especially with the Undertaker. The Undertaker went from a Hell in a Cell match with Brock Lesnar to a legends match with John Cena to a match he is rumored to have turned down with Braun Strowman. However, in the end, the match with Shane McMahon, while not planned, may be the match that saves WrestleMania.
I have to admit that when I saw Shane McMahon come out I groaned. I am sure he’s a nice guy but he never did it for me during the Attitude Era. I’ll certainly give the guy credit. He was one of the best workers of that era. But, he is not someone I think of when I reminisce about the Attitude Era. Apparently I am alone in that regard.
The reaction Shane got was completely mind boggling. This was the same crowd that booed Roman Reigns unmercifully, in part because they feel he doesn’t deserve his position. Yet this same crowd is quick to roll out the red carpet for Shane McMahon. Am I the only one missing the irony in that?
My first thought was desperation, but I understood it. What is the company to do? They didn’t have many options at this point. Injuries and a short turnaround time put them in a real bind. The Undertaker needs to be on WrestleMania but he can’t be wasted. Shane McMahon was the best of the worst…or was I missing the bigger picture?
And then came the RAW ratings…. I completely missed the boat on this one because there was a huge bump in the RAW ratings. Whether it was Shane, the video posted earlier of Brock Lesnar and Dean Ambrose, or just Fastlane fallout, the number was up and up big. The show was up 12% from last week and in the first hour of the show, the rating saw 4.20 million viewers watching RAW.
At the end of the day I can sit here and complain that you are likely going to put a 46-year old non-wrestler over the Undertaker at WrestleMania in a Hell in a Cell match. Yet I have to just come to terms with the fact that this is pro wrestling, it’s entertainment, and it’s a work. I also have to come to terms with that what is best for business may wind up being that result. At least that is what 4.20 million viewers told me on Monday night.