Shane McMahon’s shocking return to the WWE last February was the result of some out-of-the-box thinking from his father, Vince McMahon, and a phone call from his eventual WrestleMania 32 opponent, the Undertaker. Shane’s interruption of the Legacy of Excellence Award presentation was rivaled only by the return of Goldberg for the most memorable moment of 2016 in the WWE.
And at the time, much like with Goldberg’s current situation, Shane McMahon was only originally scheduled to stick around for one program and one match and then ride off into the sunset. But Vince defied his own storyline by retaining Shane beyond WrestleMania, leading to his current role as commissioner of SmackDown Live.
Goldberg was brought in for a one-off match with Brock Lesnar at Survivor Series. He was originally brought back to return the favors from their previous encounter 12 years earlier. Lesnar would win and Goldberg would walk away only to return for an inevitable Hall of Fame induction. Ironically, Vince booked the one and only match for the two at Survivor Series because he was planning for Lesnar to face none other than Shane McMahon at WrestleMania 33.
Seeds for a Shane-Lesnar rivalry were subtlety planted during the Brock-Randy Orton feud this past August, but a future showdown rose to the surface when Lesnar planted Shane McMahon with an F-5 following the controversial main event of SummerSlam.
However, any WrestleMania 33 plans with Brock Lesnar and Shane McMahon were scrapped once the response to Goldberg’s return was far better than Vince ever anticipated. The two sides quickly agreed to an extension of their original deal that included wrestling at the Royal Rumble, Fastlane, and WrestleMania, not to mention sporadic appearances on RAW. There have even been recent reports of Vince trying to further extend their partnership, going as far as WrestleMania 34 in 2018.
So that major rivalry puts Shane McMahon in limbo as far as what direction the company wants to take with him for WrestleMania this coming April. But according to Cageside Seats, Shane is a lock to be on the card in Orlando at Camping World Stadium. Not only that, but he will be wrestling against someone on the SmackDown roster.
In addition, as of right now, the leading contender to face Shane at the company’s biggest event of the year is AJ Styles. At the very least, Styles is being considered for the spot. At present, AJ, like McMahon, is in limbo in terms of what his plans are for WrestleMania. The Inquisitr has noted on several occasions that there are only three matches etched in stone for the show, and neither Styles or Shane are among them.
The WrestleMania card is expected to be finalized by next week at the latest as WWE officials put the finishing touches on all their Royal Rumble decisions. Styles and Shane aren’t the only ones without a definitive direction either. They’re joined by notables like John Cena, Roman Reigns, and the Undertaker, among others. The three matches that haven’t been rewritten yet are Seth Rollins vs. Triple, Goldberg vs. Lesnar, and Shaquille O’Neal vs. The Big Show.
What’s interesting is that while Shane McMahon did compete for Team SmackDown at Survivor Series, he hastily brushed off the idea of entering the Royal Rumble match later this month. He shot it down on last week’s episode of Talking Smack, which has been a platform for shoot-style promos since its inception.
Any interaction between AJ Styles and a SmackDown Live authority figure has primarily involved Daniel Bryan, and he won’t be wrestling in the WWE anytime soon. Therefore, an angle with Styles and Shane would have to start developing rather soon. However, Styles is in the midst of a major program with John Cena over the WWE Championship that will wrap up at the Royal Rumble.
Styles was originally scheduled to drop his WWE title to Cena at the pay-per-view, which then would have set up a marquee match between Cena and the Undertaker at WrestleMania. That’s all been scrapped in the past two weeks. The only thing for certain is that the Undertaker won’t be challenging for a world championship and his WrestleMania opponent resides on RAW. Similarly, Shane McMahon is set to square off with a superstar exclusive to SmackDown Live.
[Featured Image by WWE]