Shaquille O'Neal has been causing quite a stir in the WWE universe lately. Will or will he not wrestle at WrestleMania 28?
Shaq has said as recent as December that he would be wrestling the Big Show on the PPV card. But that's not possible since the Big Show is set to face Cody Rhodes for the Intercontinental Title at the "grandest stage of them all."
In late February, the WWE issued a statement on WWE.com that said:
Despite Shaquille O’Neal’s claim that he will compete at WrestleMania XXVIII in Miami, WWE officials have informed WWE.com that the 15-time NBA All-Star is not scheduled to appear on the card.
This could be the WWE's way of trying to manipulate its fans to not expect a Shaq match, only to have him make a surprise appearance at the PPV. But that doesn't necessarily seem to be the case.
The Wrestling Observer is reporting that despite claims by Shaquille O'Neal that he will indeed be at WrestleMania this year, there is still no definitive word on whether or not WWE intends for him to be a part of the big event.
Shaq has noted several times that he will be appearing at the show and even said back in December that he would be wrestling Big Show on the PPV card. However, WWE announced other plans for Big Show at the Smackdown tapings this week and it appears as if the rumored Show vs. Shaq singles match will not be taking place.The original plan was to have the Shaq/Show feud kick off at this Monday night's Raw at the TD Garden in Boston, so you can expect that if Shaq does not show up on Raw or is not mentioned in anyway on the show, then negotiations between him and WWE likely fell through.
So what is Shaq talking about? Why would he say he that he is going to make an appearance at WrestleMania if it's not true? I think there are four possibilities.
1. He could just be blowing smoke. Remember, Shaq is a known prankster. Back in his playing days with the Phoenix Suns, him and Lou Amundson got in a prank war that sparked some publicity. This could all just be a big joke.
2. Shaq could be trust trying to get attention. Ever since he's retired, Shaq has been showing up everywhere. In February, he hosted something called "The Hall of Game Awards" on Cartoon Network. That's not something retired future Hall of Fame basketball players usually do. Shaq has also been constantly calling out Dwight Howard since his retirement. Maybe Shaq just misses the spotlight. By talking about a possible WrestleMania match, Shaq could be just trying to insert himself into the PPV to get some publicity.
3. A Shaq vs. Big Show match could have been the original plan for WrestleMania. But the WWE always tries to surprise its fans. When Shaq mentioned in December that he would be facing the Big Show, he probably gave away the WWE's plans. The writers could have scrapped the match as a whole because it would have been too predictable.
4. Shaq could be telling the truth and the WWE is just doing their best to keep things mum. The WWE is best when it's unexpected. Even though the WWE said that Shaq will not be at WrestleMania, a surprise appearance is always a possibility.
March 5 will be a telling Monday Night Raw. If Shaq doesn't show, he most likely will not be part of any WrestleMania storylines.
But don't completely rule him out for the big event. That may just be what the WWE wants you to do.