Absurdly Strong Shane McMahon Booking Is Damaging Rest of WWE SmackDown Roster

Graham GSM Matthews@@WrestleRantFeatured ColumnistNovember 24, 2018

Shane McMahon winning the WWE World Cup was nothing short of a travesty.
Shane McMahon winning the WWE World Cup was nothing short of a travesty.Credit: WWE.com

Few Superstars looked stronger at Survivor Series than Shane McMahon, who was the last man standing for Team SmackDown before being beaten by Braun Strowman. There was no reason for him to last so long in the match when any other member of his squad surviving would have made much more sense.

This is far from the first time this has been the case with Shane at Survivor Series, however. He has been a part of Team SmackDown for the past three years, outlasting almost everyone else in the matchup each time.

In the process, WWE has sent the message that Shane is superior to the rest of the roster, despite his not being an active competitor. He is nowhere near the level of part-timers such as Triple H, The Undertaker and Brock Lesnar, but because his booking suggests otherwise, the rest of the roster is paying the price for it.

Shane's shocking WWE return in February 2016 was met with universal praise from fans. It shook up that year's road to WrestleMania and led to a highly anticipated encounter with The Undertaker, which ultimately fell well below expectations.

It was clear from the get-go that anything in the ring wouldn't be Shane's strong suit, but that didn't stop the company from putting him in a handful of matches in the years that followed. From AJ Styles to Kevin Owens, he competed against a variety of opponents and proved on every occasion that he didn't belong inside the squared circle.

His immense popularity and infrequent appearances made him the perfect candidate for commissioner of SmackDown Live, a role that would allow him to show up whenever it mattered most. After taking time off following WrestleMania 34, he resurfaced at SmackDown 1000 in October and has done more to hinder the overall quality of the show than help it.

WWE's usage of Shane officially jumped the shark at Crown Jewel when he inserted himself into the tournament to determine "the best in the world" on behalf of The Miz and beat Dolph Ziggler to win the whole thing.

Needless to say, a majority of the WWE Universe was outraged by this turn of events considering Shane's status as the SmackDown commissioner. The decision could have been acceptable if it were designed to be the catalyst for a Shane heel turn, but after coming across like a babyface on the subsequent SmackDown, he confused fans even more with his actions.

Shane recently teased waging war with both Miz and Daniel Bryan, meaning WWE must have important plans in mind for the prodigal son come WrestleMania 35 next April. Stars such as Jeff Hardy, Samoa Joe and especially Andrade "Cien" Almas, who have been directionless for months, feel like afterthoughts in comparison.

At 48 years old, Shane McMahon is well past his prime and should not be going toe-to-toe with the likes of Bryan, Miz and Ziggler. The amount of focus he receives from week to week on SmackDown is concerning when you consider how many others are fighting for television time, including Rusev, who hasn't been seen since splitting from Aiden English.

Samoa Joe, in particular, should be involved in a meaningful program of some sort at the moment following his solid series of matches with AJ Styles. Sadly, he is seldom seen on SmackDown, whereas Shane has a recurring role and doesn't serve much of a purpose.

Meanwhile, Miz has nothing to gain from a feud with Shane. He would be better off turning face and filling the void Bryan left behind when he turned heel, instead of wasting his time working with someone who has zero credibility as an in-ring performer.

That isn't to say Shane doesn't have value to WWE. He is a fine fit as SmackDown commissioner with a reduced presence on the show, but WWE has always had a problem with the overexposure of its authority figures, and Shane is the latest example of that.

Raw squashing SmackDown at Survivor Series was distressing, to say the least, but Shane's strong booking plays a significant factor in that. As uninteresting as Raw has been for many months, most of their roster matters more than SmackDown's, which has been the backdrop for Shane's shenanigans as of late.

The blue brand will have its work cut out for it going forward, but in order for the locker room to be built back up to where it should be, Shane's aggressive push must be curtailed.


Graham Mirmina, aka Graham "GSM" Matthews, is an Endicott College alumnus and aspiring journalist. Visit his website, Next Era Wrestling, and "like" his official Facebook page to continue the conversation on all things wrestling.