Twitter is ablaze with comments about the latest developments in the Undertaker v. Shane McMahon storyline that is being built for WrestleMania this year. The most vocal portions of the audience are displeased with the overall direction of the angle, and every new development only seems to heap more fuel upon the already blazing IWC (Internet Wrestling Community). I’m just not so sure that this storyline is as bad as everyone wants me to think it is.
Just this last week on Monday Night RAW, another stipulation was added to the match at WrestleMania. Not only is Shane McMahon fighting for control of RAW, but now the career of the Undertaker is on the line.
Well, sort of. It isn’t exactly clear whether the Dead Man’s career is actually at stake. When Vince McMahon made the stipulation, he said that if Taker loses, then this will be his last match at WrestleMania. It is entirely possible based on the exact phrasing used that Undertaker could conceivably continue to work for the WWE if he were to lose his match against Shane. Just never again at a WrestleMania.
The IWC is pretty much at a consensus that this is a completely pointless stipulation. The detractors of the angle say that if Shane were to win the match, then Vince would be out of power and Shane could just refuse to fire the Dead Man. I personally don’t think that this represents a large hole in booking logic. In my mind, there are a number of ways that this could develop that would all ultimately result in good storytelling.
First, why isn’t it possible that Shane would not want to hire back the Undertaker? After all, Shane is nothing if not a fierce competitor, and Shane has given the Undertaker every opportunity to back away from this fight. To some extent, by agreeing to and participating in the match, I could easily see Shane’s viewpoint that the Undertaker is sealing his own fate. Frankly, I think it would be uncharacteristic of Shane, acting as a face or not, to allow Undertaker immunity from Vince’s stipulation.
The other possibility that I see lies in the subtleties of Shane’s own stipulation. If he wins, Shane gets control of RAW. Although it has been said on air that this would essentially put Shane in control of the company, the key word in that statement is essentially. In reality, Shane would run RAW, but not the company. Unless the stipulation changes before WrestleMania, even if Shane wins, Vince McMahon continues to be the Chairman of the Board. That means that contract decisions still ultimately fall to Vince and that Shane would really have no say in whether the stipulation is enforced on the Undertaker.
Honestly, I actually like that latter scenario a great deal. If Shane wins at Mania, I see him coming out on RAW, dismissing Stephanie and Hunter from their roles as the Authority, and then attempting to reconcile with ‘Taker by offering to drop the consequences of the stipulation. This provides an immediate and logical reason for Vince to assert his Chairman authority and cements Shane as a face in front of an extremely pro-Dead Man crowd.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t love the storytelling that has been going on in regards to Shane v. Taker these last couple of weeks. However, I hardly agree that WWE Creative has “booked themselves into a corner” on this one.
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