As most wrestling fans know by now, former WWE Superstar and Executive Shane McMahon made his shocking return to WWE this past Monday on WWE RAW. It was a massive surprise that sent shockwaves throughout the wrestling world. For those who know about the behind-the-scenes issues with Shane and his family, which ultimately led to his departure from WWE, his appearance was even more of a shock.
The story goes that Shane and Stephanie McMahon were both being groomed for top roles in WWE. Shane was the son, and Vince clearly wanted to leave WWE in his hands. However, he did not want to step away from WWE at the time and felt that he should stay as WWE Chairman and ultimately CEO. Meanwhile, Shane felt differently about the situation. He was ready for the role but, moreover, ready to build something on his own.
Shane wanted to run WWE, but it was taken from him and he ultimately left. He and Vince McMahon agreed to terms on this and it is said that a good bit of what Shane said on Monday was mostly true.
It was said by the Wrestling Observer that Stephanie McMahon was reportedly better at understanding the creative side of WWE. Of course, she would be as she was part of the creative team for years at this point. We also don’t know if this meant she saw creative like her father or not. Shane’s main job for WWE was “Global Media.” He helped to get WWE in the homes of many across the world and did a good job of it. He also helped the website’s material. If it concerned media, Shane was the guy. Meanwhile, Vince and Stephanie did more in creative. Some say this was for a reason, as Shane had terrible creative ideas.
Others say that Shane was simply put in one area of WWE that needed a McMahon and Stephanie was put in the other. Vince Russo claimed to Wrestling Inc that Shane was always liked “by the boys,” and when it was announced that Shane was leaving in 2009, Vince McMahon brought all top guys in and told them that he was not ready to step down. Shane was always liked more than Stephanie by most in WWE. Vince McMahon wanted people to fear him, whereas Shane was seen as another one of the guys. That was a big deal for most.
All of this is being said to bring us to one thing, WWE is changing. Whether Shane McMahon is back to take his rightful spot at the top of WWE or not, he is bringing a change with his return that WWE has needed for some time. It also benefits Stephanie McMahon and Triple H. According to Breaking Wrestling News, there is a WWE RAW event happening in Baltimore, Maryland, after WrestleMania 32. The event, set for May 23, is major for one reason. It is listed as “Monday Night Raw vs. WWE.”
This leads many to wonder if WWE will be having Shane control RAW but an alliance of sorts will be made with other the talent who would be under Triple H and Stephanie McMahon.
This future RAW reference is a big deal, as it sort of gives us the outcome of Shane’s match at WrestleMania. He is set to face The Undertaker inside Hell in a Cell at the event. If Shane wins, he gets control of WWE RAW. If Undertaker wins, Vince gets whatever it is that Shane has in his “lockbox.” Shane is supposed to be with WWE as a character through and after WrestleMania. That means he could be part of programming for a while.
This has also led to speculation of a brand split, which is potentially where WWE is headed. The idea being rumored is that Shane would, of course, control WWE RAW, while Stephanie controlled WWE SmackDown. Triple H would most likely be part of Stephanie’s staff. This would allow for Steph and The Game to show what they can do with a brand on their own, which would most likely make SmackDown and RAW both important. While Shane will still have to deal with Vince on RAW, it is speculated that this won’t be the case for Stephanie and Triple H on SmackDown.
USA Network has pretty much demanded that WWE make SmackDown just as big as RAW, and this would do just that. With the lower ratings, it makes sense to think that a brand split would be better for WWE long-term. It is better for the talent, and the fans have been very big on it. They very well could have one World Title for a while, but it would make both shows mean more again, so the World Title isn’t as important here.
The highest ratings for WWE when it came to both shows was during the brand split, this is, of course, post-Attitude Era. It started to get bad toward the end in 2011, but this could have been due to WWE taking a lot of the SmackDown guys worth anything off of the show in favor of RAW. Some like Edge got to go back, but it still wasn’t enough.
They then meshed the rosters together, which fans liked at first but then it ultimately led to a terrible product in the end. The brand split very well could work today with all of the stars WWE has now. Plus, they have WWE NXT, which ultimately could continue to feed guys to the main roster faster than they have been. There are probably about 10 guys and four girls WWE could bring up now and have a lot of success with. This could be WWE truly making a brand split work as they would have literally two different mindsets creatively for each show. The return of Shane McMahon truly “shook things up a bit.”
[Image via WWE]