The most unexpected WrestleMania XXX storyline so far has to be the brewing feud between Kane, the Director of Operations for The Authority, and The Shield. For the second consecutive TV broadcast, The Shield triple-powerbombed the Big Red Corporate Machine in an apparent face turn that should result in a WrestleMania match of some sort.
How does WWE book a match out of this conflict? Kane has appeared to be alone in the feud, desperately trying to hold onto a semblance of power as Triple H and Stephanie have increasingly been preoccupied with the WWE World Heavyweight title scene.
Though he has been known to dispatch a number of challengers at once, the monster Kane has been no match for one of the most dominant trios in the WWE. He's been beaten both physically and strategically in recent weeks. Here are three ways I could see the storyline advancing towards Wrestlemania XXX.
Goliath vs. Goliath
This is probably the weakest match they could produce as far as match quality is concerned, but it would accomplish WWE's goal of showcasing Roman Reigns. The idea I have in mind is a Reigns vs. Kane one-on-one match with Kane's authority on the line.
To set up the match, Kane offers The Shield a deal. The Shield can select one member of the group to face him in a match at WrestleMania. If The Shield wins, Kane will step down from his position as Director of Operations. If Kane wins, The Shield must disband. The Shield immediately accepts but bickers when choosing its representative. Ultimately, Reigns is selected.
In one scenario, Reigns successfully defeats Kane in a decent (yet likely short) singles match with a big Superman punch and Spear, hitting his signature moves and proving himself on the biggest stage. It ends Kane's current character, allowing him to return to his monstrous roots.
In another scenario, Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose turn on Reigns at Mania, aligning themselves once again with The Authority. They are bitter that Reigns has received all of the attention as the two of them were the glue holding The Shield together.
This could go either way, and I'd be perfectly happy.
Abuse of Power
Rather than facing the team himself, Kane uses his power to book a match between the three members of The Shield and puts Ambrose's belt on the line. Kane, borrowing from CM Punk's promos earlier this year, drives a wedge between the three men.
Kane claims this isn't punishment. He refuses to be bitter about their actions. Instead, he invokes the claim that his actions are just what's best for business, and he knows the three men would have a great match at WrestleMania. He's doing it for the fans.
This would create instant division among the members of The Shield. Ambrose would be the first to exhibit paranoia because all he's really had is the U.S. title; Reigns has risen as the muscle, and Rollins has been defined as the "architect." While Ambrose was originally the mastermind of The Shield, his power has waned.
The three would claim that they are stronger than any attempt by Kane to break them apart. They can have a competitive match and keep it from being personal. This breaks down, though, the week before WrestleMania when the three men come to blows, brawling in the middle of the ring during an interview with Jerry Lawler about their match.
Reigns would win the match, leading to the trio spending a few weeks trying to get along in this new environment before formally breaking up.
The New ArRIVALS
Kane is one man. The Shield consists of three men. If Kane takes on The Shield at WrestleMania, he'll need to find himself two partners.
Following The Shield's attack on Kane this week on Raw, the Director of Operations disappears. He doesn't appear on Smackdown. On Raw, we get a pre-recorded message from Kane threatening The Shield, one done in the fiery style that used to characterize Kane's promos.
The following week, the last Raw before WrestleMania, Kane returns in his full red suit and mask alongside The Ascension from NXT. The goth, not-quite-vampire tag team The Ascension, currently the NXT tag team champions, are big, brutish guys that rarely speak and punish their opponents with power moves.
Personally, I'm not a big fan of Konnor and Viktor. I don't think they are very good wrestlers, and their success is based entirely on their gimmick. That said, WWE is high on the team. Konnor and Viktor have carried the NXT titles for some time, have been showcased on NXT since the Network launched and have worked the house show circuit with the main roster.
If WWE is insistent on using The Ascension as part of the main roster's tag team division, pairing the duo with Kane would be the best way to debut the team.
It may seem rushed to bring the two up and have their first match at WrestleMania, but didn't we do that last year with Fandango? Chris Jericho, a legendary superstar, lost to Fandango at WrestleMania last year.
This approach would keep The Shield together as a unit, keep its members babyface and give the three a team to defeat at WrestleMania before heading into some type of summer program.