The road to World Wrestling Entertainment's WrestleMania 32 officially has begun.
When the calendar turns, I get really hyped for the annual WrestleMania event.
It's usually scheduled for March or April, with only pay-per-views prior to it: The Royal Rumble and Fastlane.
This year, it was scheduled for April 3 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. However, the build for the show had been poor.
At the conclusion of the Royal Rumble, all I knew was Triple H was going to go up against Roman Reigns, who is Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson's cousin, for the WWE championship at WrestleMania 32.
It likely was going to be the main event, too. I didn’t have any interest in seeing that match. Especially not in the main event slot.
When Fastlane came along on Feb. 21, I thought, 'okay, we finally are going to get hints of what direction WWE goes for WrestleMania.'
The show ended, and still little was being built up. There were five weeks left until WrestleMania 32 and there were no teases of anything happening.
Not only that, but WWE has a lot of their top wrestlers out with injuries and likely to miss the company's biggest show it has to offer. What was it going to do?
I got extremely frustrated with being clueless.
Was WrestleMania 32, which is expected to the highest-attended WWE event ever, really going to be lacklustre?
NXT, WWE's developmental program, is scheduled to have a show on April 1.
It's called NXT TakeOver: Dallas, and it looks to have an outstanding card. I was starting to think that show was going to outdo WrestleMania 32.
Because I was so disappointed after Fastlane, my expectations for Monday Night Raw the following night were low. It was announced a week prior that the WWE was going present someone with the Vincent J. McMahon Legacy of Excellence award.
What was this? I had never heard of this award. Instantly, I figured that it wasn't a serious award, and just a part of a storyline.
For those who don't know, Vincent Kennedy McMahon is the son after whom the award was named. He is the chairman of the company.
I predicted it was either going to Stephanie McMahon, Vince's daughter and principal owner of WWE, or to Triple H, Stephanie's husband.
Once 5 p.m. hit, which is the start time for Monday Night Raw, I tuned in in the hopes that I was all wrong about WrestleMania 32 and some compelling storylines would take place leading to a quality card.
Monday Night Raw started right away with the presentation of the award. It was given to Stephanie, as I predicted.
She came down to the ring, and said she had prepared a speech in case she won. This was met with a shower of boos from the crowd.
As Stephanie was about to start her speech, I heard: “Here comes the money! Here comes the money! Money, money, money, money, money.”
Those are the lyrics to Shane McMahon's theme song. He is Stephanie's brother.
When I heard that song hit, I was so excited I pushed up from my seat.
“OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!” I screamed.
I lost my balance, but luckily something was behind me to catch the fall. Otherwise, I could have been injured.
It really wouldn't have been anything that I wasn't use to if I did, honestly. I'm a piece of glass.
Shane left the WWE in 2009 after reportedly having a difference of opinion with Vince on the direction of the company. So, Shane decided to start a video company in China.
It had been seven years, but he was back.
I starting laughing to myself I was so happy. Was this really happening? Shane? Really?
Yes, I wasn't having a dream.
I wasn't the only one going nuts. Monday Night Raw was in Detroit, and the crowd did, too.
Chants of “Shane O Mac!”
Chants of “Holy shit!”
It was crazy.
I was following right along with the crowd, screaming at my screen even though I wasn't there live.
Shane got into the ring and his father went in for a hug.
Shane pushed Vince away. Vince went for a handshake, but Shane pushed his arm down, rejecting it.
“You had to do it, didn't ya?” Shane said to Vince.
“This,” he said while pointing at the award, “is the straw that broke the camel's back.”
I was stuck on every single word. This got my attention.
“The Vincent J McMahon Legacy of Excellence award,” Shane continued. “Phenomenal idea. Amazing, and should be bestowed to someone who is a worthy recipient.”
He then looked over at Stephanie, and said, “and that's not you.”
Stephanie's facial expressions were hilarious.
“You and your husband, Triple H, have been really running this company into the ground,” Shane stated. “Let's take a few indicators. Let's look at the stock, let's look at ratings, and let's look at the plethora of talent injuries. All under your watch. Down into the ground! Great job.”
All of which are true. I love when bits of real life happenings are put into the storyline.
This was awesome.
“You're saying this in front of a packed house here in Detroit, right?” Stephanie replied. “Because you don't know how it is to be a success, Shane. How would you? You're nothing more than a quitter!”
This was referring to Shane's departure in 2009.
“Now get the hell out of my ring,” Stephanie told her brother.
Shane had a great comeback.
“No. 1, it's your father's ring,” he said. “Let me, since you don't actually understand what's going on here . . .”
Shane stopped, and looked over at Vince.
“Do you want to tell her?” Shane asked Vince. “Or do you want me to?”
“I don't think this is the time or the place,” the chairman said.
“No, no, no,” Shane said. “We don't have to get into the gory details, but this is definitely the time and this is definitely the place.”
“Let's get this out here,” Stephanie said. “What is it?”
“Several years ago, your father messed up big time,” Shane explained. “Huge. Who was there to save the day? Me. So, this is what happened, because you don't know.
“Your father and I, we cut ourselves a little deal. In that deal, I was able to do lots of things that I wanted to do. I was able to take some time off, I was able to build some businesses. But one thing's for sure, Stephanie, I never lost my place in line.”
“This is absolutely ridiculous,” Stephanie said. “Nothing happens in WWE's business that I don't know.”
“Oh, well actually, I understand that this is a tough pill for you to swallow,” Shane replied. “Believe me, it's a tough spot. But you don't know what you don't know. But know this: the reason you've been able to climb so high thus far is because I let it happen.”
“Is this true, Dad?” Stephanie asked Vince.
“We're going to have a conversation later,” Vince said.
It was apparent that he had more to say, but was interrupted.
“Is this true!?” Stephanie repeated.
“We'll have a conversation later,” Vince said again. “The award will be presented to you backstage.”
“Is it true?” Shane said, pressuring his father to admit that it was.
“There's some truth to it,” Vince said.
Shane jumped in and claimed, “It's all true.”
“You know what it was, Stephanie?” Shane said. “At the time, it was best for business.”
Stephanie was angry, and went to leave to the ring.
“Let me hold the ropes for you,” Shane said. “Bye bye.”
“I will never forgive you for this,” Stephanie said.
Shane just nodded as if to say, “I don't care.”
The crowd starting singing one of Steam's greatest hits, 'Na Na Na Hey Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye.'
I almost died laughing at that.
“Alright, so what's this all about?” Vince asked Shane as Stephanie left. “Okay, come on. What's this all about? I've got my chequebook. I'll take out my chequebook. I'll write another cheque to you, okay!? Just another one! It's what you want. You want your cash? You got it. Name your price.”
Any price, huh?” Shane asked.
“You got it,” Vince said.
“This isn't about money,” Shane stated. “It was never about money. I left a lot of money on the table just to get out from underneath you. Sometimes I wake up in the morning and I say, 'boy, what a doofus.'
“But actually, when I look in the mirror, I quickly come to a very calming sense that I'm not beholden to you anymore. I have freedom.”
Shane wanted control of Monday Night Raw.
Vince agreed, but only if Shane agreed to have one match, on one night.
“If you win your match,” Vince said, “you get your wish.”
“One match?” Shane said, thinking about it. “One night?”
The fans in attendance started chanting, “You still got it! You still got it!”
“They're saying you still got it,” Vince said. “We got a deal or do we don't have a deal?”
“Well, this certainly won't be my first deal with the devil,” Shane said. “You got a deal.”
Vince announced that that place was going to be at WrestleMania 32.
The opponent? I really didn't expect this one.
It's going to be The Undertaker.
“HOLY SHIT!” I yelled.
It didn't end there.
“Oh, by the way,” Vince said, “just so you can't take your ball and go home like you have before, this match will in Hell in a Cell!”
I went nuts.
To the point where if anyone saw me and didn't have any idea what was going on, I don't know what they would have thought.
The whole segment went for 30 minutes. I loved, and I mean loved, every single second of it.
The rest of the show was great, too.
Dean Ambrose will go against Brock Lesnar in a street fight at WrestleMania. That announcement was a highlight for me, too.
All of the sudden, WrestleMania 32 looked to have been saved in one week.
Here is the card so far:
Shane McMahon vs. The Undertaker inside the Hell in a Cell
Brock Lesnar vs. Dean Ambrose in a street fight
Roman Reigns vs. Triple H for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
Of course, more matches will be announced and more stories will be told in the coming weeks.
For whatever reason, many people I talked to weren't the biggest fans of the match involving Shane McMahon and The Undertaker.
“Listen,” I'd say to them. “This is the first chapter of the story. There's still five more chapters left and you don't know. Don't jump to any conclusions just yet.”
I'm critical of the product at times, and that's because I'm extremely passionate about it and want the best for the business.
WWE took a risk with having Shane return, and I respect that. I don't think it expected the type of reaction he got.
The possibilities for this match are endless.
Plus, people who follow wrestling know that Shane will put his heart and soul into that match. He's done things in his matches that have left me thinking that he was dead.
Will Shane win? Will Undertaker win? What happens next? What does Undertaker have to say about this? Does Shane have a backup plan?
The Undertaker and Shane are scheduled to make appearances on the Feb. 29 edition of Monday Night Raw.
Oh, I almost forgot. For those who are wondering which is my favourite match involving Shane? He and Kurt Angle in a street fight at King of the Ring in 2001.
I went on the WWE Network and re-watched it, and loved it even more than I did before.
Business in the WWE has just picked up.
I found a video of Shane McMahon and Kurt Angle talking about the scripting of their street fight match at King of the Ring 2001. It's seven minutes.
Wrestling fan or not, it's worth a watch.
Here it is: