I never thought I’d see the day when beating up The Miz created a universally despised villain. After all, pretty much everyone’s walked that road. John Cena, Dolph Ziggler, Finn Bálor – just to name a few – have all tossed The Miz around for a bit, except those actions only served to make them even more sympathetic in the audience’s eyes.
Similarly, I never thought I’d be forced to admit to actually liking Shane McMahon. My arch nemesis for so many years now, the humanoid puddle of sweat has long been the most intolerable part of Tuesday nights. From his ham-fisted delivery to his infuriating tendency to go blow-for-blow with some of the greatest wrestlers of our era, the senior McMahon offspring is one of the worst elements of wrestling. Perhaps only outdone by his shrill younger sister.
And yet, for this reason and many others, SmackDown Live never ceases to surprise me.
The blue brand has somehow successfully merged my hatred of Shane O’Mac with the sudden babyface turn of the career heel Miz, and created something truly magical. It’s like mushrooms on pizza – you don’t expect it to work and yet somehow it’s better than you could ever imagine.
So this was the shocking phrase repeatedly running through my head as Shane McMahon ordered Greg Hamilton to announce him as “the Best in the World” for the third time: “God I’m loving this Shane McMahon segment.” All it took to convert the most detestable presence on Tuesday nights into true villainous excellence was for him to embrace his delusion, self-aggrandising, unbearable self. The puddle of sweat has become self-aware.
There’s clearly something magical in being termed the “new” anything. It’s worked for Daniel Bryan, it clearly improved New York (regular York is a bit of a drag), and now Shane appears to be the latest beneficiary. Heading into their WrestleMania encounter, both Miz and Shane appear to be hotter than ever. And – as much as I can’t believe I’m saying this – I’m looking forward to the next three week’s of build to this match.
But this was only the opening segment in what was an excellent night for the McMahon family. With Becky, Kofi, AJ, Orton and Vince taking centre stage, there was a lot to get through this week. So let’s get to the best the blue brand had to offer.