Editor’s Note: In a brand new Tales From The Turnbuckle column titled TALES RETOLD, our writers explore some of the biggest, most impactful storylines in professional wrestling history and rework them as they see fit in an effort to make them better in some way. Sure, the history books may tell us something different, but wouldn’t it be fun to consider what if once in a while?
For our first installment, Sean Howard tackles the main event of Wrestlemania 32 that has the most impact on WWE moving forward. Will the prodigal son Shane McMahon take the throne away from his father, sister, and brother-in-law or will the legendary Undertaker rack up another victory on the grandest stage of them all? We’ll find out soon on April 3rd, but the build up has been less than spectacular. Check out what improvements Sean would have made to arguably the most important match at this year’s Showcase of the Immortals.
The hottest storyline in WWE today, Shane McMahon returning to the company with the intent to take over Raw and save his family’s legacy, fell flat about 15 minutes after Shane’s music hit.
After Vince assigned Undertaker as Shane’s opponent at Wrestlemania 32, many fans were certain that Undertaker’s appearance on the following Raw would clear up any unanswered questions, such as whether or not Shane would choose a wrestler in his spot, or if the Undertaker would refuse to do Vince’s bidding. The Undertaker’s reaction to Vince, warning him that his own son’s blood would be on the chairman’s hands, was closure that the match will indeed be on and also sealed the fate of this once promising storyline.
Although Shane’s return is both a welcome refreshment to the roster, it makes no sense for our hero to wrestle the most respected man in the business in his home state. Both characters are beloved at this point. On one hand, Shane symbolizes the hopes of many wrestling fans who want a change and who are constantly at odds with WWE creative for ignoring what they want. If Shane loses, nothing changes, and this storyline is pointless. On the other hand, the Undertaker’s impressive Wrestlemania history and his genuine respect from the fans makes it impossible to root against him. The problem with this storyline is there is too much to lose. What is the point of Shane’s return if he loses, besides a boost in ratings and giving fans false hope? Does it really make sense for the Undertaker, who went undefeated at Wrestlemania until he met Brock Lesnar, to lose to Shane who isn’t even an actual wrestler?
One piece of information we don’t know is if Shane McMahon is here for the long haul, which would help us indicate which direction WWE is headed. If he is going to return for a while and take over Raw, it would probably indicate a victory over the Deadman. Some have even suggested that the Undertaker destroy Shane O’ Mac throughout their Hell in a Cell match, only to let the Shane win in the end. Even though the Undertaker’s undefeated streak is over, would this booking decision be satisfying? For me, it would be up there with ‘The Finger Poke of Doom’ angle. Quite simply, it would be a cheap route to take. Shane McMahon, under no circumstances, should be defeating the Undertaker at a Wrestlemania.
Besides Vince himself – which would most likely be a terrible match- the most ideal opponent for Shane would be Triple H. The son, the heir, the true legacy versus the son in law, the man who weaseled his way into the family business by marrying the boss’s daughter and now is in line to take over that legacy. It’s a built in storyline.
To do this, obviously some of the other storylines would have to be changed. Clearly WWE is gung-ho about Roman Reigns. Reigns needs work, but nonetheless, WWE is going in the right direction by pushing new talent. Roman Reigns should have turned heel at least by the Royal Rumble. He should’ve turned on Dean Ambrose and their feud should come to a climax at Wrestlemania 32 with Ambrose challenging Reigns for the WWE World Heavyweight Title. This would leave Triple H free to do the storyline with Shane. Instead of announcing Undertaker as his representative, Vince could choose Triple H, which would make sense because they are related. The rivalry between father and son would deepen as Vince praises Triple H as his true son and then antagonize Shane by comparing him to Triple H. After hearing his own father belittle him and compare him to the man who has taken his place, Shane would have an organic reason to put the dirt he has on his father on the line in a match. As the story is now, Shane really doesn’t have much to gain by agreeing to this match. This storyline would intrigue many fans because of the realism incorporated in the story.
Even if Triple H wasn’t a possibility, WWE should have chosen another opponent for Shane so that everyone could wholeheartedly root for the hero who returned to fight for them. Instead, the Shane vs. Undertaker match has backed fans into a corner, and will take from them the hopes of an exciting future for RAW, or will tarnish and further disrespect the Undertaker’s legacy.
What would you have done differently with the build up to Undertaker vs. Shane McMahon at Wrestlemania 32? Do you have any ideas for a future installment of Tales Retold? Let us know in the comments below.