WWE’s Shane McMahon was a recent guest on the After the Bell podcast with host Corey Graves to talk all things pro-wrestling. Highlights from the interview can be found below.
On growing up in the business and working his way up the ladder to be where he is now:
Well, I’ve been very fortunate to be able to grow up in this business and ever since I was probably five or six was the first time I went to my first show which was the Worcester Auditorium, not the Centrum. It was this tiny, little place in Worcester, Massachusetts. You just gotta get hooked, so I was always from a very early age, I was taking jackets back from ringside. It was kind of my job to hang it back in the locker room where the guys were or as I got a little bigger and stronger I was able to help with the ring. I did ring crew for many, many years and took a lot of pride in that, putting that up and down and making sure that was right, turnbuckles and pads. You know we evolved to the bigger things like working in the truck and eventually was on tour, setting that up, setting the ring up for everybody and that’s when [it] started evolving more. [It] became ring announcing, it became being a referee, had all these different opportunities physically in the business but never thought I would [be in the ring]. I always wanted to be in the ring performing but never thought that would’ve come to fruition, you know because my grandfather had more of a philosophy of, ‘Don’t.’ My dad echoed that for a while, until it was right time, right place and then got involved physically and in storyline and it caught and we ran with it so, but that’s just when you’re talking the pure, call it the superstar, the talent side of the business. Corporately, I’ve been shadowing one of the greatest minds in the business my entire life and absorbing so again, around 11, 12, going to all the production meetings, listening, hearing greats like Pat Patterson talk about the psychology of the business and I really learned the business backwards where I wasn’t a performer but I understood the psychology and why men and women should do things and when they should do them and Pat was obviously so far ahead of his time and so literally learned from some of the best between Vince and Pat, so many others that would come around that table. Sometimes you would hear stuff from Harley Race and you just listen. So being around it, you learn so much of the storytelling and the physical storytelling of the business of why and why not, then knowing the product, that just grew into production and I was a production brat so pulling cables, on the tour buses and setting up everything and setting up stuff with the camera guys and I used to do a lot. I was Go-For. Go for this, go for that, get a coffee. So I grew up from a production assistant now to an associate producer to a producer, went through the ranks like everybody else, really had to earn stripes to do that from a production — editing, putting stuff together, putting pieces together. Some of the interesting things going on was producing Vince voiceovers and his inflection would be wrong where he’d flump or something and you’d like [deep sigh]. Hit stop, you gotta go read back. We gotta go back and redo it, rerack it, and everybody in the edit seat would be like [deep sigh] because you know what’s coming… I can’t tell you how many conversations my dad and I have had privately outside the back of Edit One where it was just he and I about — he’s trying to produce me while I’m producing him. I was like, ‘No, you’re the talent right now.’ By the way, Vince is always right. So, once he thought he was wrong, he was mistaken.
On his return in 2016 and facing Undertaker at WrestleMania 32:
Taker needed an opponent at WrestleMania and needed it to be special and there was talks, even back then that in Texas where, now that the cat’s out of the bag and stuff where Undertaker is from and stuff, WrestleMania, that magnitude of 100,000 people setting the indoor attendance record I believe. That was gonna be an awesome way out and again… and I thought it was gonna be one and done so I [just wanted] to do it but coming back, so I got the call from Taker saying, ‘Hey, would ever consider this?’ I was like, ‘Hmm…’ I was like, ‘Well, let me think about it.’ Ten minutes later I got a call from my dad. He was like, ‘Well, congratulations. This is what we’re doing, what do you think?’ I was like, ‘Well it doesn’t sound like I’m thinking much.’ In typical Vince fashion he was like, ‘No seriously, I want you to think about this’ and I was like, ‘Oh, alright’ and then really started coming up with the creative. I said, ‘Well if it’s gonna be what I think it’s gonna be then it should be. Can we do Hell In A Cell? Can we do this? And we have to make sure the storyline more than anything is right, otherwise it’s just a match.’ So [where] are you emotionally — this is one thing, again, going back through what I’ve learned throughout the years, in any match I’ve ever done, I’ve always had kind of some crazy stuff that happens from time to time, but it’s [a] really emotional story of why and what you do telling the physical story once you’re in the match.
On Raw Underground:
Quite a bit, quite a bit. I mean this goes way back. This is an original concept. This is more even going back to roman gladiator times when they used to have short matches to determine who was gonna be [the successor]. So the iterations, there’s been lots of stuff or similar things I should say — got ‘em in Japan for quite some time and I’ve been traveling to Japan since the late 80s, so when I was a teenager and I saw some of this so, it always resonated with me and again, you mentioned MMA and a lot of my friends do that sport. I also practice multiple forms of it and I really enjoy it so, if you can blend that with WWE entertainment and what we can compact together and again, it’s a work in progress. That’s what we’re trying to accomplish.
On his WrestleMania 33 match with AJ Styles:
Very proud of what Taker and I accomplished in 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 elbow tie-up or whatever. [Again], I learned from Dr. Tom [Prichard], Al Snow and many others. Can I do it? Yes. That was cool I was a part of a story we got to showcase that a little bit.
(Thanks to Post Wrestling for the transcriptions)