The Shane McMahon bump might be dead in the water.
Since his long-awaited return in 2016, McMahon has mostly been a major staple of WWE programming. It hasn't always been perfect, but the borderline ageless wonder would feud with top names and do one of his patented high-risk spots, entertaining live crowds and presumably moving the ratings needle in the right direction.
But not anymore.
McMahon's latest feud, this time on the road to WrestleMania 37, is with Braun Strowman.
And one doesn't need a deep dive on why it doesn't work. One guy is a dad who shows up in a weird jersey and some Jordans for his matches. The other is a literal monster who towers over the rest of the roster. There's a suspension of disbelief that comes with wrestling, but this one is a step too far and a little too silly.
Maybe that's why WWE has dropped all hint of the feud ahead of Sunday's Fastlane pay-per-view event. It was apparently supposed to go down there, but the lack of a mention suggests it's either never going to happen, or, in the possible worst-case-scenario, it's getting pushed to Mania.
Let's just say that feud is better off not happening at all—less damage happens if it merely disappears and fans forget about it.
It would be incredibly damaging to Strowman, who is already on life support. He's been the top champion of a program recently enough, but he's been in disastrous feuds. The shoo-in as the quick challenger to Goldberg for a dud of a match at WrestleMania 36 was bad enough. There have been up-and-down, forgettable feuds with Bray Wyatt, Sami Zayn and recent fodder for new champion Bobby Lashley, too.
Now Strowman is the latest pick by WWE to feud with McMahon, an honor that once elevated talents. The same can't be said for guys like Kevin Owens in the past anymore.
Much of it is because the formula is so tired. Fans know what's coming: Some potentially average build, a match where Shane goofs around, becomes a big underdog, does the coast-to-coast and eventually leaps off something really tall, which nets WWE a ton of social media impressions and brief blips on news shows beyond the wrestling spectrum.
It's a little groan-inducing at this point, right? Besides the general flop of feuds for Shane lately, there was also that horrid "the best in the world" designation stemming from a Crown Jewel event in Saudi Arabia. Much of what he's touched lately has resulted in a dud.
Remember the odd Raw Underground thing? Where Shane took Superstars from the main roster to a basement and had them fake fight, trying for a grittier UFC-lite product? It seemed like a half-effort the whole way because while they dimmed the lights, much of the production seemed to remain the same and nothing major really came from it before it randomly ended.
Randomly ending is probably the best thing WWE can do with the latest McMahon feud here. That might unfortunately leave Strowman in limbo for Mania barring the company throwing something together quick for him.
But overall? It would probably be for the better. McMahon was at his best when he first returned and the schtick was fresh. Even better, it wasn't always a weekly thing. But we're far removed from that return now and the magic has faded.
If nothing else, WWE needs to pick better potential bouts and mix up the Shane character. Maybe lose the goofiness and jerseys and make him more of an evil-boss type that pays off other talent to hurt his opponent or something. Anything, really.
Because right now, there just isn't anything for this version of Shane. WWE has the most talented roster in the history of the business. If there's no room for a part-timer like a Brock Lesnar, McMahon has no reason to be involved on high-profile cards no matter what audience capacity looks like.
Maybe if WWE yanks Shane off the stage for a little while, another return in a year or two to let the gimmick breathe could work wonders. But right now, it's tired and paired with a poor feud that stumbled out of the gates and doesn't have a chance at getting back up.