Reaction Zone - Another narrative goes wrong

Vince McMahon will never get it.

AJ Styles will embark on his 2nd Wrestlemania is less than three weeks as I write, but it's a step down from last year. How, you might ask, is that possible?

The easy, simple answer is, Vince McMahon is insane, and doesn't have the creative genius he had back in the 80's.

The truth of the matter is, with Shane, the eldest of his two children, back in the fold, he feels he owes it to the former "boy wonder", now pushing 50, to give him a spot at Wrestlemania. Last year, Shane was fed to the Undertaker, but was rewarded three months later by being appointed Smackdown commissioner. This year, after a well-presented angle on this week's Smackdown, McMahon will face Styles, who isn't that much younger, and deserves a better spot on the card.

Consider that last year, Styles was put in with Chris Jericho---and lost. That was just Vince sticking it to Styles' moribound former employers, known now as Impact Wrestling, just because he can. This time, a perfect storyline was right there, and McMahon wimped out on it.

Here's the sitch. Randy Orton won his 2nd Royal Rumble on January 29. Then, he decided that as long as Bray Wyatt was champion, he wouldn't challenge for the title. However, given a chance to be alone at the Wyatt complex, Orton burned the house to the ground. That was after Styles had gotten through a battle royal and a subsequent singles match against a former member of the Wyatt Family, Luke Harper, to be named #1 contender. Then, Orton beat Styles, and AJ goes stir crazy as a result. As we saw, he ambushed Shane in the parking lot, and while Shane juiced, there wasn't enough to satisfy the critics online. Granted, this might've been a rush job, but the blame for this goes to the old man. Again. Because he just won't get it.

The right way to resolve this entire conundrum would've been to make it a triple threat elimination match for the title at Wrestlemania. Wyatt. Orton. Styles. Enough said. But, no. That's too easy for the Smackdown creative team, hailed as being much better than their Raw counterparts. Vince wants artificial drama, convoluting the entire sitch to fit what he wants.

While I'm at it, let me address the issue with Vince's other child, Stephanie, and soon-to-be-ex-Raw GM Mick Foley. Vince would rather have Stephanie be his puppet, fulfilling his warped agenda as opposed to being the rebel she was in 2003 on Smackdown. While Daniel Bryan "fired" Styles in the wake of the Shane-o-Mac ambush, Stephanie hasn't pulled the trigger yet to dump Foley (so he can get hip surgery), and really, she shouldn't have to, but because she is beholden to her nutty dad, she has to do what he wants.

I'd have set things up differently, with Mick appealing to the off-air friendship he & Steph have enjoyed for nearly 2 decades. He'd come clean with the fact that he needs hip surgery, wouldn't be available for the spring European tour at the beginning of May, and, rather than risk further tension, tenders his resignation, effective April 3, the day after Wrestlemania. This gives Steph the chance to find a successor (i.e. Kurt Angle, William Regal) in plenty of time. Angle is not an option, not with the storyline history he has with Stephanie & Triple H, which could be used against him at any time. However, since Regal is also a trainer at NXT, in addition to its GM, it appears that Angle, soon to be minted as a Hall of Famer, would be the guy, for better or worse. Paul Heyman? I'd have him on the creative team in between Brock Lesnar's visits.

If AJ Styles has a problem with the way things are going in WWE, Shane is the wrong McMahon to blame. Period.

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