WWE producer Shane McMahon was on a recent episode of WWE After The Bell with Corey Graves where he discussed learning the business from not only his father Vince, but other people like Pat Patterson. Shane also discussed his WrestleMania matches, highlighting his WrestleMania 33 match against AJ Styles.
“Once I came back, I was fortunate enough to be part of multiple WrestleManias because it was a good story both emotionally and physically,” Shane expressed. “I’m very proud of what Taker and I accomplished at Hell in a Cell, very proud of what AJ Styles and I accomplished. I think that surprised a lot of people actually because I’m not really known to wrestle in the normal sense of collar-and-elbow tie-up or whatever. I’m learned, again, from Dr. Tom [Prichard] and also from many other things. Can I do it? Yes, and that was part of the story that we got to showcase.”
Styles has recently spoken about that match, calling it one of his best WrestleMania matches so far. Shane spoke more on the match and talked about how the match was a showcase for Styles as he was on the rise in WWE.
“I was excited. AJ and I spoke about it and it was a good showcase for AJ as he was ascending, and it was a really good spot,” Shane said. “I was just privileged to be in there with him and do that, but what we were talking about is like, ‘hey, let’s do something that no one’s gonna suspect.’ Back to your point, he’s one of the best in-ring performers. So I said, ‘why don’t we showcase that a little?’ He said, ‘oh, that’s great,’ and then we started doing a couple things thinking about it.
“And he’s like, ‘can you do that?’ I was like, ‘yeah, let’s go.’ So that’s part of the story, and if you remember, it was supposed to be outlawed. He’s the one who introduced the toys. The referee went down. It was just like,’ OK.’ So I was really proud to be able to do that and have that match, and AJ’s really proud of that match too, which really means the most to me.
“When whoever you’re in there with is appreciative, and you pull it off and you rock it, you get that adulation from the crowd, and you get, more importantly, the respect from the boys. Collectively, I say boys, but the locker room when you come back through. Those are, as you’re well aware as a performer, there’s no bigger drum than that.”
As a producer, Shane was hands-on working on the most recent WrestleMania that was held over two nights in the Performance Center due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Shane highlighted the cinematic matches, The Firefly Fun House and Boneyard matches, as two matches that were different and outside of the box.
“Because of, obviously, the situation that’s going on with the pandemic, you just have to adapt and it’s all hands on deck. Anything you can do, try something,” Shane noted. “So being involved in helping put together this scene of Bray Wyatt, or I should say ‘The Fiend’, that entire thing, we knew it was going to be different. That’s the one thing, whether you loved it or hated it, it’s just a mind trip. So it set up the potential anytime that The Fiend wants to have a match like this, it could be this trippy, completely different, go anywhere [and] down a wormhole what have you. So, that was the intent of it.
“Kudos to John Cena for thinking outside the box. An immense amount of that was really, really pushed by him, and John wanted Bray to do very well with it and have it be a showcase for him. So very unselfish, and again, whether you liked it or hated it, it was something that we wanted to make different than what we do traditionally in ring.
“Similar to what I thought was AJ and Taker, also. Again, different; that was really cool. It was like a mini-movie showcase. You got to showcase Taker specifically, differently. So, those are lessons we learned. We can get outside the box on things. We’re trying whatever works.”
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit WWE After The Bell with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.