The professional wrestling world was shocked when Shane McMahon, the son of World Wrestling Entertainment Vince McMahon, appeared on the February 22, 2016 edition of Raw after Shane had been away from the company for over six years. According to journalists Dave Meltzer and Bryan Alvarez of The Wrestling Observer/Figure Four Online, even some of the performers watching the opening segment of what became a historic Raw from behind the curtain were not even aware that Shane McMahon was in the building let alone about to return to the WWE. All watching eventually learned that Shane McMahon and the Undertaker will be facing off at a match at WrestleMania 32; or at least that is the plan as of the posting of this piece.
There are, as Meltzer and Alvarez have explained in the days following McMahon's surprising return, little that is known for sure about what lasting impacts Shane will have on the WWE up through and then past WrestleMania 32. Plenty has been speculated, and fans posting on social media websites and in online forums have thrown out their theories and wishes for what they hope will be a monumental year for the WWE and for the wrestling business. Will Shane-O-Mac be nothing more than a television character, or are real changes coming behind the scenes to the WWE? Whatever the answers to that and other questions, business in the WWE seems to have picked up.
10 Edgier Product
9 Undertaker Retires?
8 End of Vince McMahon Character
7 End of “The Authority”
6 Backstage Politics?
5 New Media
4 No More Triple H?
3 End of Roman Reigns Push?
2 NXT Call-Ups
1 Brand Split
A topic that continues to be brought up by fans, on radio shows such as Wrestling Observer Live and in publications such as the Wrestling Observer is that the return of Shane McMahon could lead to the WWE exploring a return to the “brand split” that occurred last decade. It could be possible that Shane would, in storyline, be in charge of a show such as Raw, and Triple H and Stephanie McMahon could, in turn, run SmackDown. Concerns about the WWE lacking depth for such a brand split could be remedied with multiple NXT call-ups and with the company signing further talent for the NXT brand. It will be something to keep an eye on throughout 2016.
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