The Spotlight On Raw 

Last night’s episode of WWE Monday Night Raw is in the books and I honestly found that there was a lot to like on the show. Due to how packed of a show that it was, I’m not going to waste any time and instead will jump right in.  Highlights:

Shane O Mac is Back- I’m not too sure what’s going on with Shane McMahon but what I can tell you is that he’s been a real breath of fresh air to the show. It’s been roughly five years since we had a babyface authority figure (Teddy Long) and it really changes up the dynamic on the show. The one thing I loved about Shane last night was when he came out to kick off the show and really laid out the whole night of matches. This is something that WWE hasn’t really done in quite some time and I’m glad they’re getting back to it. By Shane coming out and announcing the tag title tournament, the women’s title match and the number one contender match (later he also added the unique tag match of Bray and Roman vs the League of Nations), this to me gave the viewers multiple reasons to tune in and to remain tuned in for the remainder of the night.  
Shots Fired- Last night Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows, former members of New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Bullet Club made their long awaited debuts on Monday Night Raw when they attacked the Usos following there tag tournament victory over the Social Outcasts. I thought this was fantastic and really made Gallows and Anderson (who won’t be going by the Bullet Club, NJPW owns that name) look like two big time stars. The crowd went nuts for them and JBL was great here in immediately putting the guys over as legit players. For me this reminded me of the debut of The Outsiders in WCW as Scott Hall and Kevin Nash looked like two badasses and you knew that they were working with someone, who eventually turned out to be Hulk Hogan and the NWO was formed. The question now remains as to who, if anyone, Anderson and Gallows are working with. Regardless, i thought this was a great debut for these guys and I couldn’t be happier for the two of them. Karl Anderson is one helluva wrestler and if you aren’t familiar, I think you’ll be very impressed with what he brings to the table. As for Gallows, who looks like he’ll again be going by Luke Gallows, he actually had a run in WWE back in the late 2000s as Festus (teammates with Jesse who was actually Ray Gordy who made an appearance honoring his father, Terry Gordy, at last week’s WWE Hall of Fame) and then later as a member of CM Punk’s Straight Edge Society. Gallows has really reinvented himself since his departure from WWE, establishing one of the best personalities in the business. I’m really excited to see where these guys go from here.  

What’s Going On With The Wyatts?- I actually really enjoyed the main event last night and have been enjoying the continued progression of the Wyatt Family as they seem to potentially be turning face. It was a really interesting dynamic to have Bray team with Roman Reigns, the guy that he once claimed he prefer anyone other than him to be the top guy in the WWE. For years now, I thought there was money to be made with the Wyatt Family embracing the fans as fans have been behind the Wyatts really since Bray’s program with John Cena back in early 20014. I think that perhaps it was the 101,000 fans at AT&T Stadium pulling out there phones in unison in support of Bray Wyatt that convinced WWE management that it may be time for that switch. If nothing else it’s different and I like it. It was such a unique atmosphere to see the LA crowd getting solidly behind Alberto Del Rio (who is always a huge favorite of the people of LA) and Bray Wyatt but solidly booing both Roman Reigns and Rusev. Go back and watch this if you have the time.  

 Closing Thoughts

 I may have hit on the big highlights to come out of Raw but I din’t even get a chance to touch on the matches. AJ Styles and Sami Zayn had a terrific 16+ minute match that was so much fun. The finish made sense as Styles is the guy who they need to build up for his match with Roman Reigns and so it made sense for him to get the win. Charlotte and Natalya had another really strong match in which I didn’t mind the DQ finish because it will now set up a rematch for the Payback pay per view. Lastly, I thought that Kevin Owens and Cesaro had another great match, as they always do, and I loved seeing both men lay it all out there for a shot at The Miz’s Intercontinental Title, as it made that title seem that much more important. Thus, with these three matches coupled with the really unique main event, you had four strong matches on Raw that i feel you should go out of your way to see.  

It was overall a really good episode of Raw and I’m liking the direction they’re heading in with Shane being the guy to run the show. They seem to be really making an effort to put together fresh matches and introduce new talent and the idea of having a babyface authority figure allows for cleaner finishes and less nonsense. For example, I loved Shane having Kevin Owens escorted from the building to make sure that Sami Zayn would finally be able to get his shot. There is definitely a place in WWE for the heel authority figure but we’ve been seeing that now for nearly 3 years and so this is a welcome change.  

That’s going to do it for me here but we are in the midst of our live perspective Wrestlemania week featuring a different event from Wrestlemania broken down with photos each day. I currently have a fun photo gallery up of our time spent at the Wrestlemania store and tonight will have some photos and a breakdown of NXT Takeover:Dallas. Keep your eyes open for that! A reminder that we are also now on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/thedailyspotlight so give us a like and tell all of your friends! Thanks for all of the support!  

The Spotlight On Shane McMahon on The Michael Kay Show

Shane McMahon just wrapped up an appearance on ESPN’s “The Michael Kay Show” with Michael Kay and Don La Greca.  Here are some highlights from the interview..

– Michael Kay said it best when he noted in the beginning of the piece how big of a deal it was for them to discuss wrestling but that this was such a big deal that he felt like they had to have Shane on.  I now that Peter Rosenberg is a big wrestling fan and that Don La Greca’s brother, Dave is a host of the Busted Open Wrestling radio show on sirius but this was reallly cool to hear Michael Kay talk about wrestling.

– The interview started off with Shane mentioning how humbling it was to get the ovation that he got when he appeared on Monday.  He mentioned how Monday was a night he will never forget and that when he thanked the crowd in Detroit during the commercial break, he didn’t know it was going to air (Referring to the footage WWE put up on youtube with him stating that “he had goosebumps on top of goosebumps and his nipples were hard).  He said that he was hoping the reaction would be good but wasn’t 100% sure and said the reaction blew him away.  He compared the feeling to that of a close sports game when the crowd goes nuts and it was surreal that the reaction was all directed towards him.

– From there Shane was asked about whether he feels added pressure because he is the boss’ son and if that played a part in why he took so many risks.  Shane mentioned that he had to pay a lot of dues growing up by helping to set up the ring and being a referee.  Shane  explained that he continued to take risks because he always assumed each match would be his last so he figured why not leave it all out there.  He told a funny story from when he was 8 years old, Mr. Fuji told him to try a dropkick off the top rope.  He went up to the top with a ton of enthusiasm and when he hit the mat, he grew an appreciation for how hard the mat was and an appreciation for the punishment the superstars take. Shane mentioned that he loved growing up in the business mentioning how impressive Wrestlemania 3 was and that during that show he walked to the top of the arena just to take it all in and hoped that this year they can top the crowd that Wrestlemania 3 did.

–  He explained how the primary driving force for  him to return was so that his sons would be able to see him perform.  He explained how he did not tell his kids that he would be returning and his wife recorded a private video of his sons reaction, which was also off the charts.

– Don La Greca than asked if there was any real tension between he and Vince McMahon to which mentioned that at times there has been animosity between the two but said that it’s to be expected when you’re in any family business.

– Shane explained that kayfabe is still important to him and so he wanted to keep his return a surprise so he kept it very close to the vest.  He did explain how hard it is this day in age where security cameras can pick up your appearance and the next thing you know the story breaks everyone.  Rosenberg made a good point about how he loves the Rock but that every time he returns he puts a picture of himself on instagram arriving in the city so it gives it away.

– In regards to Wrestlemania, Shane mentioned that he’s currently doing 3 a days and really improving his cardio.  He explained that he’s currently working with two different personal trainers which he started originally training for surfing with his kids.  Shane then confirmed that he is working out with MMA trainer Phil Nurse (Trainer of GSP, Rashaad Evans and Frankie Edgar), and learning more mui tai kickboxing to improve his overall conditioning.

– In regards to his future in WWE and whether this is a one time deal, Shane said that, as of right now, he’s just focusing on Wrestlemania and will see where the future takes him after.  He said that he’s excited to have a match with The Undertaker because they’ve been good friends for 25 years and used to travel together.  He said that he’s ready to give it his all and be in the best shape of his life so that the fans will get the match they expect and knows that the Undertaker will do the same

Overall, I felt that Shane came across really well on the show.  He also spoke a bit about his love of the Yankees and how he expects them to do pretty well with the best bulpen in the game.  It was surreal to see Shane on an ESPN radio show and seeing this getting the attention that it does deserve.  It was cool to see the footage replayed of Shane’s comeback on the yes network and the footage of Shane training hard.  Overall a good piece for a Friday evening.

As for Shane, he is now on twitter @ShaneMcMahon.  I’ll have a lot more about my thoughts on Shane and how I felt about his big return this past week over the weekend.