Ever since the concept of the brand split was reintroduced earlier this year, the significance of its impact has been analyzed ad nauseam, with every detail of Vince McMahon’s latest vision inspected with a fine tooth comb. It was revealed that the main catalyst behind the entire idea stemmed from unsatisfactory SmackDown ratings in the eyes of USA Network executives.
The blue brand show will go live and switch to Tuesday nights beginning this week. Shane McMahon was originally brought in to provide a boost to a WrestleMania card that was heavily impacted by injuries to many of the company’s top stars. He’s stuck around because of his positive impact on an Authority storyline that had gotten stale. At first, Vince McMahon decreed that both Shane and Stephanie would run RAW together, but the brand split forced him to call another audible.
Shane and Stephanie will now act as commissioners of their respective brands and bosses to the general managers they will appoint Monday on RAW, the night before the big Draft on SmackDown. On the surface, it would appear that Vince will maintain a huge McMahon family presence on WWE programming, but that might not entirely be the case for one of his children.
According to Ringside News, although Shane McMahon continues to be positioned as a major on-screen player, his role behind the scenes remains negligible. He has contributed several creative ideas to talent, which has gone over well with the superstars, but his executive days are over, with no signs that that will change anytime soon. In fact, Shane has told several people close to him that he isn’t even sure how much longer he’ll continue his role on television.
That may come as a surprise considering how successful his run has been since January, but it was never the intention for him to get his job back or be back with the WWE full-time. The McMahon family empire continues to maintain a succession plan that would see Stephanie and her husband, Triple H, take over the reigns when Vince finally decides to hand it over. The feeling is that the lone major angle left amid the current McMahon family drama would culminate in a match between Shane and a returning Triple H, possibly as early as SummerSlam.
If the Brock Lesnar and Randy Orton match is, in fact, in jeopardy, as suggested by the Inquisitr this weekend, a Shane McMahon vs. Triple H showdown would certainly help soften the blow with another marquee match. But if Shane disappears again soon, the majority of SmackDown’s on-screen onus would then fall on the GM, assuming that individual could handle that responsibility.
As far as the brand split itself, it was noted that SmackDown’s poor viewership led us to this point. Stephanie McMahon was a recent guest on The Wrestling Compadres Slamcast, where she reiterated how the larger talent pool allows the WWE to execute such an undertaking. But she also revealed how long her father had been tossing the idea around (thanks to Wrestling Inc for the transcription).
“It’s something that Vince [McMahon] had planned on for quite some time, but we hadn’t fully developed it until it got closer to SmackDown going live. It [has] been in the works for a little while now. But the Shane [McMahon] storyline certainly gives us a great storyline platform to promote it… It just expands the breadth and depth of our characters and our storylines and I hope that our audience engages and has fun.”
It had become apparent that SmackDown was no longer appointment television because it wasn’t live and nothing of major significance was happening on the show. But it’s interesting that it appears Vince was leaning towards the brand extension even before USA laid down the law. It then became an obvious choice to change the complexion of both shows, all coming to a head at this Tuesday’s draft. Many fans, however, certainly wish that Shane McMahon could stick around to see the hopeful success play out.
[Image via WWE]