WWE Rumors on Shane McMahon's Future, Drew McIntyre's Return and Backstage Morale

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 31, 2022

ST LOUIS, MO - FEBRUARY 23: Shane McMahon looks on from the sidelines during the first half of an XFL game between the St. Louis Battlehawks and the New York Guardians at The Dome at America Center on February 23, 2020 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Jeff Curry/Getty Images)
Jeff Curry/Getty Images

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Shane McMahon Booked Through WrestleMania

So...this is a thing.

Shane McMahon made his return to WWE in Monday's Royal Rumble and was one of the last three participants before being eliminated by Brock Lesnar.

Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer reported McMahon's return wasn't just a one-off surprise, either. He's set for next month's event in Saudi Arabia and WrestleMania 38 in April.

There's no word on who McMahon will feud with in the lead to WrestleMania. His only elimination in the Rumble was longtime rival Kevin Owens, and there's not any meat left on that bone after the two feuded for several months in 2019 and 2020.

The most logical option would be Austin Theory, who has gotten a ton of in-storyline attention from Mr. McMahon since stealing his precious Red Notice egg. (Yes, that is a thing that happened. No, you are not allowed to bury it deep down and forget it ever happened.)

There could be a decent story told over Shane's potential jealousy that Theory is getting attention that Vince never paid his only sonโ€”or Vince could look at Shane as a "marquee" opponent for Theory in kayfabe.

The reality? It's hard to get very excited about a 52-year-old part-timer whose in-ring work was never a strength 20 years ago. Shane McMahon making death-defying leaps was cool during the Attitude Era in large part because it made in-storyline sense and because fans knew the son of a billionaire didn't have to be putting his body on the line. 

Now McMahon is a father of high school-aged children who struggles to make it through five minutes in the ring without being blown up. Watching him jump off high platforms comes with more hope he's going to leave the ring in one piece than appreciation of the spots. 

McIntyre Makes Rumble Return

On the other hand, there was nothing but good vibes regarding the return of Drew McIntyre. The status of the Scottish Warrior had been in doubt since he left earlier this month to rehab a legitimate neck injury.

Neither WWE nor the dirt sheets seemed to have any real feel on when he'd be back in the ring. The notoriously finicky nature of neck injuries, particularly with wrestlers, also caused some concern.

In the end, McIntyre missed less than a month of action. He returned looking no worse for wear and was in the final two of the Rumble before being eliminated by Lesnar.

Mike Johnson of PW Insider reported McIntyre arrived late to the event to keep his return a secret, and some within the company didn't even know he was returning until he was in gorilla position.

Morale Low After Disappointing Royal Rumble

Suffice it to say there weren't many happy faces in the crowd after Saturday's Royal Rumble event. Cagematch's fan ratings of the event are the lowest in history for a Royal Rumble by a significant margin, and the ratings for the individual Rumbles are also among the worst in history.

The disappointment with the show was also apparent in the locker room, with Johnson reporting the constant status of flux leading into the event led to low morale.

"We were all in a whirlwind. Just as you had your role and spots down, everything started over and over, and now most of us were back to square one. It changed again and again and again. It wasn't an easy night even before we hit the ring," one talent told Johnson.

The men's Rumble was reportedly changed "20 times" in the days leading up to the event, causing a disjointed feeling to the show overall. 

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