Shane McMahon made his massive return to WWE earlier this year, but interestingly he almost made his return years before when he tried to take over a role that would have changed WWE in a major way. Yes, the son of WWE Chairman Vince McMahon did return earlier this year. He would go on to face The Undertaker inside Hell in a Cell at WrestleMania 32 in the biggest WrestleMania of all time at AT&T Stadium.
He would go on to have a management role on television where he would eventually end up at the Commissioner of WWE SmackDown Live after the WWE Brand Split took place. Meanwhile, his sister Stephanie McMahon would take over WWE RAW. Interestingly while Stephanie and Shane interacted a lot in the ring, never once did Triple H cross paths with his brother-in-law.
Bret Hart would mention in passing during an interview that both Shane and Stephanie were on separate sides of an arena when he was backstage at a PPV. He thought it was odd that they never interacted. Many fans also find it odd that WWE has not led to a Shane McMahon/Triple H match considering how easy of a storyline it would be. Now we may have an idea about what actually happened between the siblings that caused friction in the entire family.
Vice Sports published a HUGE article on the WWE recently. The report was very informative and gave us a ton of information on how WWE worked, inside and out. However, one of the biggest stories coming out of the report was that Shane McMahon almost took over creative back in 2012.
“Shane McMahon had made an attempt to take over creative in 2012. It also speaks about the tension between Shane and his sister Stephanie and Triple H. This had been known for a while, but now there’s official information from a close source giving insider information.
“A few years ago, as Levesque was gearing up to launch NXT, ratings were down and Vince was on edge. The writing room became a battlefield, and even people outside of the company took notice, including Shane McMahon. In March 2012, Vince, according to a source familiar with the exchange, called a surprise meeting at the WWE production office, a separate facility from the main headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut. Shane had returned with a friend: James Frey, the author of the critically acclaimed and, later, highly controversial A Million Little Pieces and by that time the CEO of Full Fathom Five, a content creation company he founded in 2010.”
The report would claim that a spokesperson for WWE originally denied that Shane McMahon had approached WWE at all from the time he left until the time he came back : 2009-2016. They would then later confirm that a meeting did in fact take place when they were directly asked about this exchange specifically. With this confirmed meeting taking place, how did everyone interact and what went down that would have led to tension between the family members? Vice goes on to tell more about this…
“‘When Stephanie found out Shane was going to be there, she went white in the face,’ the source told me. ‘And Paul freaked out.’ Shane had set up the meeting through Kevin Dunn, WWE’s executive vice-president of production and Vince’s right-hand man for nearly three decades; he is the second-highest-paid employee at the company behind Vince (according to SEC documents, Dunn’s 2016 base salary is $909,560). Shane had a simple proposal: that he take over all of creative, including the writer’s room, with Frey and his team at Full Fathom Five as consultants.”
Now of course this did not occur, as we know by now. Shane nor Frey made a jump to help WWE creative. Was it for the best though? Ratings have continued to slide since 2012 with drops every single year since. While there have been some major highs since that point as well, the overall show ratings have dropped. Since Shane McMahon returned however, a lot of things have changed around creatively. While he may have no role in this, it does make one wonder.
Also, with the brand split being brought back officially, SmackDown Live ratings have improved since the split due to being more wrestling centered. Meanwhile RAW ratings continue to have problems. If Shane McMahon did take over creative back in 2012, would the company be better off for it? It is uncertain, but one can look at the ratings of today and say that the decision to not go another way did not work out well for WWE. Could his return now be more than just an innocent reunion?
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