As you can tell from the title I’m not mincing my words with this one. There will be no attempt to make an ambiguous click bait title that encourages you to wonder “Hmmm, I wonder what this article could possibly be about.” No, I’m just laying it all out there. Simply put, this story has been dreadful from the moment Shane’s music stopped and the whole McMahon clan (sans Linda) began to make sounds that formed words and sentences.
If we are to believe the reports, we know this wasn’t the original plan for Undertaker. The Dead Man was supposed to take on John Cena in a match that has been rumored for years. Unfortunately Big Match John went down with an injury and no amount of Super Cena rehab was going to be able to get him back in time for Wrestlemania. An audible was called and, apparently, a call was made to the long departed Shane McMahon and the match we have was created.
I’ll spare you the full recap on what happened word for word in the promos up to this point. If you really want to know just watch the next Raw, they certainly have enough recaps during your typical episode now. So we have Shane McMahon vs The Undertaker at Wrestlemania in a Hell in a Cell. If Shane wins he gets control of Monday Night Raw. After my initial shock of “What the hell is going on?” wore off I honestly thought that this was going to be a bait and switch. I mean how are we supposed to take Shane McMahon seriously as threat to Taker in his theoretical “yard?” Even a couple weeks ago when Shane “beat down” security guards that tried to eject him from the building I would dare anyone to come forward and say they didn’t cringe at the thought of seeing those punches and kicks used on Taker. Oh yeah, then that actually happened last week.
At no point have we been given any sort of explanation as to why Undertaker is actually going through with this match when Vince just volunteered him for the job. Sure Vince is the boss and can make matches but wrestlers typically give some complaining or explanation when things don’t go how they want. Yes, Taker has played it up a bit like he doesn’t want to be in this match but really he hasn’t done much to show his distaste for the situation. Hell, I’d be fine if he just grabbed a mic and told everyone that he’s doing it out of loyalty to Vince for his 25 years service while Vince’s son “bought out” WCW from under his nose and tried to take him out. That at least make some sense. But we haven’t gotten any of this.
While a lot of times I feel like a contrarian to many wrestling fans there does seem to be a good bit of people out there that actually are with me when I say “What is going on here?” For that I say thank you. For those that are actually digging this I can only assume Ryback is one of your favorite wrestlers. But I have a reason why I think you are enjoying this recycled hot garbage and it’s called nostalgia.
I’ve ranted about nostalgia on our podcast before (subscribe on iTunes won’t you). Whenever there is an old face that we haven’t seen in awhile popping up on TV we can’t help but jump out of our chairs, throw our arms in the air and yell “WOW!” as our significant others try to figure out why you are more excited for a dude on TV than for their new haircut (absolutely hasn’t happened to me). This figure brings us back to point in our pasts that we remember fondly, a time when all was great. So how could this be bad when so many people that were a part of great things are on TV? Right? ECW reboot anyone?
We are quick to forgive bad writing by having these old, reliable names strut out and tell you that everything is alright. Ratings are low? Let’s throw out Austin! Someone can’t get over? Call HBK! And so on and so on. We need to look through that smoke screen and see it for what it is, just bad entertainment. Look I’m not saying that you have to forget all the great memories of these superstars of old (unless those memories are the Godwinns, please forget them) but they shouldn’t be treated like a sure bet for success.
Sometimes we do see through this like when The Rock came out at Royal Rumble 2015 to help Roman Reigns and Philadelphia booed him. They booed the fucking Rock! Even though nearly every ticket paying fan in attendance that night loves Rocky they couldn’t get behind him for something that made no sense. And trust me, Philly does not just boo people for the sake of booing them. Ok, that’s not the point.
Shane was never a full time wrestler, even in his prime, yet Vince came out on Raw this past Monday claiming that he will be the Undertaker’s most formidable challenger yet. Miz, care to help me with a reaction on this one? Thanks Miz. Hell, if I were Brock Lesnar I would be perplexed and a perplexed Brock can’t be a good thing. I’m now scared. I know Undertaker hasn’t been a spring chicken for at least 5 equinoxes but he at least has wrestled over the past number of years after almost 2 decades of full time status. Why am I, a long time fan, supposed to believe this? Does a casual fan even believe this?
I know that WWE probably has something up their sleeves for this match and it will likely not be a clean finish, Balor Club interference for Shane maybe? And maybe a good match with a surprise ending will make me pop but that still doesn’t discount that the E has just made us expect to like this built simply because Shane, Vince and Undertaker.
Update: After writing all this and getting an image for the article I’m reminded to question why the WWE continues to use old pictures of Undertaker in their promo images. He hasn’t had long hair since 2011!