Shane McMahon’s and Daniel Bryan’s heated exchange of words during last Tuesday’s SmackDown Live showed a new rivalry between the two executives may be set to happen.
The controversial ending to the two-referee tag team matchup at “Clash of Champions”, which led to Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn being victorious and retaining their place in the WWE, offered the company the best opportunity to create new storylines, ahead of the 2018 Royal Rumble.
More specifically, Bryan’s involvement during the tag team match helped Owens and Zayn secure the victory, which caused the annoyance of both McMahon and Randy Orton.
Consequently, on the Dec.19 edition of SmackDown Live, there was tension between Shane-O-Mac and Bryan, with both men explaining their actions at “Clash of Champions” and the “Blue” brand’s Commissioner taking the night off.
Yet, it’s certain this rivalry will further intensify in the following weeks, starting from this Tuesday’s episode.
However, the question is who will make a heel turn. Will it be McMahon or Bryan?
Regarding SmackDown’s Commissioner, his rivalry with Owens started a few months ago and quickly became personal, due to KO’s assault to WWE Chairman of the Board, and Shane’s father, Vince McMahon.
Moreover, Owens and Shane battled inside Hell in a Cell, with Zayn’s interference saving Owens and leading to McMahon’s injury.
Things deteriorated, though, during the “Survivor Series” pay-per-view, when Owens and Zayn attacked “Team Blue” and cost them the victory.
Consequently, Shane McMahon scheduled a tag team match featuring KO and Zayn (with their careers being on the line) against Orton and Shinsuke Nakamura, with him as the special guest referee.
But, Bryan disagreed with this decision and put himself into the match as the second guest referee to ensure this bout would be a fair one.
However, the match ended in controversy, with McMahon refusing to count to three (causing Bryan’s frustration) and then the former world champion fast-counted to award Owens and Zayn the victory.
That said, I don’t think the WWE will let both men be on the same page, so a heel turn is possible.
For McMahon, this rivalry has become very personal, yet it could only make sense, if the WWE scheduled a handicap match, with Shane-O-Mac facing off against KO and Zayn.
Otherwise, WWE could create a new storyline, with Shane “betraying” Bryan and teaming with Owens and Zayn against Bryan and his partners.
On the other hand, Bryan’s heel turn can be more complex than initially expected. The reason is his willingness to return to action, following his early retirement in 2016.
Although he has been great in his current role as General Manager of Smackdown, he is waiting for the WWE to clear him, so as to make his come-back.
Even though several doctors have reportedly cleared him to compete, the WWE executives are still unwilling to do the same.
However, and with his WWE contract expiring in 2018, what a better way to make his return than facing Shane McMahon at the Royal Rumble or Wrestlemania.
As it’s not likely both men will remain babyfaces, a match between the two is a reasonable solution for the company, unless they decided to proceed with a bout between Bryan and Owens or Zayn.
This storyline allows WWE to follow different angles, so there is nothing certain yet, as to what plans the company has for SmackDown Live’s Commissioner and General Manager.
As the WWE is heading to January’s Royal Rumble, all bets are off regarding how the feud between McMahon and Bryan will unfold.
Yet, if it ends in a match between the two (which would mean Bryan would be medically cleared to compete), this will certainly be a dream match, which the entire WWE Universe would love to see.
Overall, and judging by what happened last week, I believe either Shane McMahon or Daniel Bryan will have a heel turn and their feud will further intensify in the upcoming weeks.