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WWE: Dropping The Other Shoe by Marc Madison

When things appear too good that the fear is that, as the old saying goes, the other shoe will drop, and that’s when the bad will happen. Bad things coming isn’t necessarily the intent of this column, but rather a relationship that appears to be too good onscreen and therefore ready to implode. The Shane McMahon and Stephanie McMahon on-screen relationship appears, for lack of a better word, odd. The weird nature of their relationship isn’t necessarily creepy, but weird because it went from working against one another to working with one another. Thus, we are waiting on this relationship to come to an end, but we aren’t exactly sure when that will be. In recent weeks, fans have seen signs of cracks in what appears to be the sound foundation of the Shane and Stephanie regime. Whether it was Stephanie questioning why Shane made a decision without her, to her completely going off the rails and taking credit for other ideas that came her way, Stephanie appears to be the one that is the least sincere. Shane has yet to seem spiteful in his role, but we often wonder if his character will take on a bigger on-screen role outside match maker.

The person that has appeared conspicuous by his absence is Triple H, who has been absent since he lost the title to Roman Reigns at Wrestlemania. When will he return? One of the more refreshing changes fans had enjoyed about the supposed ‘new era’ was the on-screen presence of Shane. It’s a welcome change because his promos and monologues related to match making have been less about him and more about making the show more engaging. Plus, fans were clearly tired of The Authority.

Everything we are seeing is called into question. What if the tell all interview Shane gave was in some way intended to be an extension of this on-screen relationship? If fans will recall, Shane was very coy when he was asked what he thought about Triple H. Whether there is legitimate animosity and tension between them or not, it was certainly evident in Shane’s body language that things weren’t as cut and dried as we’d been led to believe. He went on to say that as long as he (Triple H) made his sister happy, then he was fine with it. As a brother, I wish my sister well too and want her to be happy with her husband. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean I have to like him, and will remain skeptical. It hits closer to home because WWE is the McMahon family business. Wrestling has been a part of both Shane and Stephanie’s lives as long as they can remember. The idea that someone not named McMahon could take over could eat at Shane. It could very well be this leads to animosity that Shane personally feels for Triple H, and that could become more of a focal point on-screen.

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What if the other shoe does drop, does that mean everything that we’ve seen goes up in smoke? The on-air matchmaker character is effective, whether it’s Dario Cuerto on Lucha Underground, Nigel McGuinness in Ring of Honor, or William Regal in NXT. What appears to have been effective, as many have said via social media, is that those on-air leaders have been used in smaller doses. Fans don’t necessarily want to hear promo after promo from an authority figure. The other shoe falling may indeed be a good thing though. Maybe all these pleasantries will eventually spill over and a line drawn in the sand. However, it wouldn’t be the first time fans are led to believe a split is going to happen only to be left wondering, what happened to the direction of this storyline? We look no farther than the number of fans that called for a Dean Ambrose/Roman Reigns split only to be left underwhelmed when nothing happened.

This isn’t the first time the McMahon siblings have worked together. In fact, after WCW was bought out and ECW closed its doors, they came together and, rather than battle for their father’s approval, they battled against their father. Another time when there was a divide among the McMahons, Vince and Shane faced each other and Stephanie was clearly on her dad’s side while Shane stood by his mom. That was when Stephanie was dressed rather provocatively, unlike now, and would receive rather scathing chants from fans, as that wast her character at the time. Shane, on the other hand, was supposed to be a Greenwich snob that acted tough, but got tossed around by whomever wanted to do so. What has remained consistent, though, was that the public appeal of both Shane and Stephanie have remained the same. Fans more often than not gravitate to Shane and cheer him on, and jeer at Stephanie and boo her.

Some fans of wrestling today may not recall that for all the chances we saw Shane take in the ring recently, it worked just as well for him years ago. For instance, the Wrestlemania match up between both Vince and Shane were as extreme as it could get. With neither man being active wrestlers the hardcore/anything goes match-up showed how much they would be willing to put the other through in order to come out on top. We alluded to the invasion angle, when Shane and Stephanie ‘worked together’ to create a rival group, Stephanie representing ECW and Shane leading WCW, in opposition to WWE. Today, the entire roster is at their disposal and, if anything, the closest they could come to opposing each other would be fighting over control over the entire product.

One of the criticisms WWE was faced with during the Invasion angle is that the most prominent names in WCW weren’t a part of this storyline. However, with the current depth in talent in the company, a brand split with a dash of the invasion angle may be exactly what makes this storyline work. Many question whether or not Shane’s on-screen character will remain, which is fine. The other shoe could be that Shane doesn’t remain, and instead introduces another onscreen character to act as the Raw general manager. Fans clamour for Paul Heyman to appear regularly on-screen, but in doing that does it take away from his character’s role as the advocate of Brock Lesnar? The answer is yes.

There is some speculation that a company divided would result in an anticlimactic confrontation between Triple H and Shane that many fans won’t want to see. To their credit, their bodies are in great condition, despite being in their mid to late 40s, which suggests that if they were to have some type of blow off match it would mean something. This could simply lead us through the summer months, and the talent that is tied to the promotion could help to solidify the brand split and rival rulers. They run the risk, though, of involving characters on-screen that fans have grown tired of, such as Kane. Having the former Director of Operations apply for a job, or having Teddy Long lobby for a role, could mean they are doing one of a couple different things. They could be toying with the idea of having these old characters reappear, or maybe, just maybe, they are making fun of them in the midst of moving forward. To some this may be considered a bit of a stretch, but stranger things could happen.

On the June 13th edition of Raw, Stephanie and Shane began to argue like a couple of petulant kids. This could the first sign of the other shoe dropping, and it may not necessarily be all bad. The tension between both of them was bound to happen at some point, as any working relationship that involves family is capable of being strained. As mentioned earlier, their entire lives have been surrounded by this particular type of business. When we consider their ages, you would expect this will be more of a professional sibling rivalry, and spewed venom doesn’t seem like something that would work now like it did back during the end of the Attitude era. Could Stephanie become the bitter and jealous younger sibling, with Shane receiving all the accolades? No doubt.

The company could go in a completely different direction altogether. We could ideally see one character threatened by the other. Will it be Stephanie, or at the last minute could Shane turn, with a double switch happening in the process? Let the games begin so we can find out.

Check out Jon Curry and I on TheMemNetwork. Check out our regular Wednesday podcast @ 8pm ET. This week we have a special interview with former two-time TNA Wrestling champion, Ethan Carter III as well we welcome TJRWrestling.net writer Kurt Zamora to discuss this past week’s events and a very special interview! Also check me out this weekend on Periscope with Main Event Weekend Madness.

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