Since leaving the WWE in 2009, Shane McMahon had ventured out on his own to become his own man so to speak with his own business ventures. This past year though, Shane had returned home to the WWE to take on the Undertaker at WrestleMania 32, and now is the Commissioner of WWE’s big blue brand, Smackdown Live.
While Shane had tried to forge his own legacy and stepping away from the public eye of WWE television, he once tried to actually seize control of all WWE creative. Vice Sports has reported that Shane set up a meeting with his father back in 2012 and laid out quite the coup: that he take over all of creative, including the writer’s room. Shane had brought in controversial author James Frey, who had penned the “autobiography” A Million Little Pieces (which had turned out to be a falsehood) but was running his own content company by this time.
Now, -around the same time, Paul Levesque, aka Triple H, the real-life EVP of Talent and Creative of WWE was planning to launch this thing called NXT. Before Levesque would build NXT into the brand we know and love today, it was a reality-show based competition. The first series included guys like Wade Barrett, Daniel Bryan, and Darren Young. It seemed that Shane’s appearance had shocked Levesque and his wife, Stephanie McMahon as they found themselves uncertain of their own future.
“When Stephanie found out Shane was going to be there, she went white in the face,” a source told Vice. “And Paul freaked out.” See, Shane had set up the meeting through Kevin Dunn, WWE’s executive vice-president of production and Vince’s right-hand man for nearly three decades. Dunn is also a very political figure in the WWE and has been known to make or break a star’s career simply for personal reasons. There’s been a noted power struggle over the years between Triple H and Dunn, but if Shane had come in alongside Dunn, he would have bigger pull with Vince.
Of course, Vince turned down Shane’s offer and it would be another four long years before his return to the company, but as of this writing, Shane is merely “a character” and on-screen persona and does not have any real world clout within the company.
“Shane is back as a performer on our TV programming,” said Levesque.
It’s difficult to imagine if Shane had succeeded in his bid for creative control on where we would be now. How different would the landscape be and who would be the big stars and marquee names. Triple H has been pushing for the stars who started out in the indies to keep their brand going. Guys like Kevin Owens and Daniel Bryan had all received huge pushes in their career and it seems there’s no slowing down that sort of mentality. Would Triple H have been a title holder this year? Would the likes of Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, or AJ Styles be in the champion circuit? Better still, would CM Punk still be around in the WWE?
Vince McMahon is in his 70’s and there will be a time in the near future where the day-to-day operations will be seen as too much for him so the power play for the company should be very interesting and who has the stronger vision for the future.