To think Shane McMahon resigned from WWE a decade ago today is almost unbelievable considering how overexposed he's been lately, but there was a time when he was an outsider to the company his father took to new heights.
Shane served as an on-air character for the better part of the 2000s and won the Hardcore and European Championships at various points. Whether he was waging war with dad Vince or fighting alongside him, the prodigal son of the McMahon family always found a way to make the most of whatever he was a part of (despite never being formally trained as a wrestler).
His last notable program in WWE came in 2009 when he stepped up to avenge Randy Orton's attacks on his family and fell short. After suffering a brutal beatdown at the hands of The Legacy on the May 4 episode of Raw, Shane was written out of storylines and announced his departure from WWE that October, which went into effect at the end of the year.
It was weird to see Shane leave the company he seemed destined to take over eventually, but he appeared to be more focused on exploring other endeavors. It was weirder for WWE to act as if he had never existed and ignore the impact he had on the company for the near-20 years he was there.
Outside of obvious family drama, Shane has never truly revealed why he felt leaving was the right option for him at the time. It's possible he saw the writing on the wall with Paul "Triple H" Levesque taking the reins and opted not to be a part of that process.
Either way, his unceremonious exit and lengthy absence simply led to fans wanting him back that much more. When he did resurface on Raw in 2016, the reaction he received was nothing short of sensational.
In an age when wrestling fans know about almost everything before it happens thanks to spoilers and social media, Shane's WWE comeback was a genuine surprise, as was the announcement that he would be facing The Undertaker inside Hell in a Cell at WrestleMania 32.
There was no reason to get excited about the match itself, but the prospect of Shane wrestling once more against a fellow icon was something worth looking forward to. Most importantly, he was back in the good graces of WWE and arguably more over than any other babyface on the roster at that point.
Although his WrestleMania matchup with The Phenom ultimately underwhelmed, he remained a regular on Raw coming out of The Show of Shows in 2016 and was appointed the commissioner of SmackDown Live upon the blue brand's move to Tuesday nights.
There, Shane did plenty to offer opportunities to those who weren't getting them previously and was seldom seen on the show. It was a welcome throwback to the days of Jack Tunney as WWF president, who appeared only when necessary.
Unfortunately, the more matches Shane wrestled, the less special they became. He contested an excellent opener with AJ Styles at WrestleMania 33, but you'd be hard-pressed to find an above-average bout he's competed in since then.
Worse still, WWE later attempted to mold him into what his father had been two decades earlier: an evil authority figure who took advantage of the power he had. To his credit, Shane plays a believable bad guy, but it was the last thing the product needed coming into 2019.
The company had countless chances to write him off WWE TV and give someone else a bit of a boost in the process, but they were insistent on keeping him around for many months. His rivalry with The Miz went nowhere, his alliances with Drew McIntyre and Elias did more harm than good, and Kevin Owens has lost a significant amount of steam since his storyline with Shane started.
Speaking of KO, the former NXT champion finally silenced Shane on SmackDown's grand Fox premiere on Oct. 4 in a ladder match before "firing" him in front of a global audience. It's only been two weeks, but it's refreshing that WWE has stuck with a stipulation for once instead of immediately going back on it.
It was the perfect sendoff for Shane from WWE TV, but it's not necessary for him to leave the organization entirely. Until he inevitably returns (which should not be any time soon), he should continue to work with WWE in a behind-the-scenes capacity, specifically as a force on the Creative Team.
Someone with as brilliant a mind as he has for the business can be utilized in other ways that don't involve him lacing up the boots or running Raw or SmackDown as a general manager.
Unless he has more professional goals he wishes to pursue that aren't wrestling-related, it's safe to say he'll have a home at WWE for as long as he wants it. In other words, fans should get used to hearing "Here Comes the Money" on their television screens until the end of time.
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.