Pros and Cons of Shane McMahon Joining SmackDown's WWE Survivor Series 2016 Team

Ryan Dilbert@@ryandilbertWWE Lead WriterNovember 9, 2016

Credit: WWE.com

SmackDown's WWE Survivor Series 2016 team got a massive shakeup on Tuesday night when Shane McMahon joined the squad.

The reverberations of McMahon's presence will reshape the brand's elimination match against Team Raw at Survivor Series. Everything from the squad's star power to the narrative that will unfold in the ring is now set to change.

The SmackDown commissioner was a surprise late addition. Baron Corbin was supposed to be the fifth member of Team Blue but was pulled due to injury on Tuesday night. Daniel Bryan, the show's general manager, enlisted McMahon as his replacement.

The blue brand will now go into battle at the pay-per-view on Nov. 20 with AJ Styles, Bray Wyatt, Randy Orton, Dean Ambrose and Shane-O-Mac.

McMahon's presence is the kind of double-edged sword WWE has handled time and again in recent years. A reliance on the past is both a safe way to add buzz and a counterproductive move.


Con: Not Exactly New Era

SmackDown has billed itself as a show charging toward the New Era, but adding McMahon to its Survivor Series team makes a much different statement.

Styles, the brand's top champion, has been in WWE for less than a year. NXT transplants Corbin, Alexa Bliss and American Alpha have had major roles on the show since the draft in July. It doesn't match that sense of building for the future if McMahon pushes aside younger talent and steps in the ring himself.

The 46-year-old Shane-O-Mac will wrestle on a marquee PPV, while emerging talents Luke Harper, Apollo Crews and Curt Hawkins are all likely to miss the card.

That's a missed opportunity to script a memorable moment for a struggling rookie like Crews. Harper fighting alongside his Wyatt Family brethren would be a big boost for a guy too often made a background player. 

And should McMahon take out any members of Raw, that brand's young stars will look weak. A graying dad and executive toppling his on-the-rise foes would be a bad visual.

Jake Barnett of ProWrestling.net wrote, "I swear if we see Super Shane be the first guy to knock Braun Strowman off his feet, I will laugh myself into a coma."

None of that would be an issue if McMahon remained an authority figure and not an active participant in the brand-against-brand battle. 


Pro: Star Power and Nostalgia

The casual, lapsed fan doesn't know who Crews or Hawkins is but remembers McMahon's contributions to the Attitude Era. McMahon isn't an attraction in the way that Goldberg is but will create more buzz around the event.

He did just that ahead of WrestleMania 32 when WWE brought him back in a desperate response to its rash of injuries.

McMahon is an established name. Crews, Hawkins and Harper aren't. Had one of them been added to the team, there wouldn't be nearly as much conversation about the move.

Instead, more people will be talking about Survivor Series. McMahon will bring a few added eyes to the event, too.


Will @ShaneMcmahon take the 5th spot on Team #SDLive at #SurvivorSeries? #YES! #YES! #YES! https://t.co/sePlHeiEfu

And the fans' reaction in Glasgow, Scotland, to Bryan selecting McMahon was an indication of just how powerful a love of the past is. The audience welcomed Shane-O-Mac onto Team SmackDown with a rousing "Yes!" chant.


Con: 1-Trick Pony

McMahon won't be able to hang in a back-and-forth exchange with Rollins. He won't thrive in a slugfest with Owens.

He has never been a top-flight performer. He was and remains a non-wrestler whose greatest asset is his fearlessness. McMahon's history suggests that his contribution to the match will be a single moment of daredevil antics.

Vaughn Johnson of Philly.com pointed out what Shane-O-Mac will bring to the table: 

Vaughn Johnson @VaughnMJohnson

Team Smackdown has someone ho can jump off high things. I guess that's worth something.

Crews is an athletic marvel. Harper is a hard-hitting hoss. Adding one of those men to Team Blue instead of McMahon would have made for better in-ring work during the course of the bout. 

Before his crazy dive off Hell in a Cell at this year's WrestleMania, he was putting on a stinker of a bout with Undertaker. He looked out of place, as he will at Survivor Series. 

But the five-on-five format means WWE will have to lean on him less. A moment or two will be all the company asks of him.


Pro: Added Importance of Winning

The idea of Superstars fighting for brand pride is a hard one to sell, but the better WWE can do that, the more suspenseful all of Survivor Series' elimination matches will be.

McMahon entering the fray himself elevates that aspect of the bout. When a spot opened up, Bryan didn't choose a midcarder or a low-rung star; he opted for someone who just went toe-to-toe with Undertaker at WrestleMania, someone who has wins over Big Show and Shawn Michaels on his resume.

It's Shane-O-Mac's brand. And he will now be battling to prove its superiority over Raw by putting his own body on the line. He has more at stake, more skin in the game.

Shane McMahon rallies the SmackDown troops.
Shane McMahon rallies the SmackDown troops.Credit: WWE.com

That will help create a sense of urgency and importance surrounding the contest. 

In Team SmackDown's corner, he can also play the team's leader. There's potential for a dramatic, symbolic image should WWE play up that aspect. The brand's commissioner could be the one to take the final fall to Team Raw, the general falling to the rival army.

WWE has plenty to play with now that McMahon is aboard, even if it means keeping another SmackDown star on the bench so the coach can play.


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