Shane McMahon’s WWE Return Should Lead to Brand Split


Shane McMahon’s unexpected WWE return could have major implications post-WrestleMania.

On Monday Night Raw, Shane McMahon returned to WWE for the first time in nearly six years. After interrupting Vince McMahon’s presentation of the Vincent J. McMahon Legacy of Excellence Award to Stephanie McMahon (jeez, couldn’t Stephanie have taken Triple H’s last name so I don’t have to write ‘McMahon’ so many times?), Shane revealed that he had made a secret deal with Vince years ago, and was back because he wanted control of Monday Night Raw.

Vince surprisingly agreed, with one condition – Shane had to win one match against an opponent of Vince’s choosing, at a time and place of Vince’s choosing. Then came the bombshell: At WrestleMania, Shane would be facing the Undertaker inside Hell in a Cell.

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There are several different ways this could all go down, of course, but the wording in the promo seemed to hint at something that could be a huge development following WrestleMania.

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In the video above, take note that Shane was very careful to say he wanted control of “Monday Night Raw.” He didn’t ask for full control of the company, which is intriguing (though it was heavily implied that controlling Raw was akin to controlling the entire company; that part was interestingly edited out of the video WWE uploaded to YouTube). While purely speculation, it’s possible that this is a way for WWE to reestablish a brand split, with Shane emerging victorious at WrestleMania and taking control of Raw and Stephanie retaining control of SmackDown. We noted a report that this may be happening later this spring, so it may not be speculation after all.

The timing is prime for something like this, in light of the numerous injuries to various performers over the past several months. Shane even alluded to the injury bug during his confrontation with Vince. Perhaps a brand split would be successful in reducing the workload on the majority of the superstars and divas, and help to avoid future issues with several top stars being out at the same time.

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The roster is filled with performers who are generally under-utilized, even at a time when so many performers are on the injured reserve list. And with NXT becoming a big deal, more and more wrestlers will eventually be called up to Raw and SmackDown, making the roster even larger – not to mention the relationships WWE has forged with independent promotions like EVOLVE.

If programming time becomes an issue (which it really shouldn’t), there’s always the WWE Network – with the Global Cruiserweight Series being announced for the summer, perhaps other limited-run series like it could be a possibility in the future, giving more “television” time to performers already on the active roster.

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WWE may be pulling the trigger on a brand split again. Time will tell as we get closer to WrestleMania, but for now, let’s just continue rejoicing in the return of Shane-O-Mac, and have fun fantasy booking our brand splits.