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Without a shadow of a doubt, the most compelling story for months on Smackdown Live has been the intermingled struggle between commissioner Shane McMahon and General Manager Daniel Bryan. Their mixed views are wrapped around McMahon’s hatred of Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. This hasn’t been exactly black and white in terms of clear-cut roles, so I ask, who is the heel in this one?

If you recall, this all started with Kevin Owen’s feeling he was wronged by Shane McMahon, who was a special guest referee in a match with A.J. Styles. This lead to a match between Shane and KO at Hell in a Cell, where Sami Zayn got involved pulling Owens off the table as Shane jumped from the top of the cell.

Since then, Sami and Kevin have been running amock of Smackdown, while McMahon chases to get revenge and cause harm to them. This included KO and Sami intentionally trying to screw over team Smackdown at Survivor Series. In return Shane has done things such as handcuff Owens to the ring, force both men into matches that would put them in rough situations, and of course, pitting the team in a tag match where if they lost, they would be fired.

This is where Bryan took his role. While not necessarily choosing to take sides with Owens and Zayn, Bryan made some moves to help them along the way despite Bryan being a face and the other two being a heel. This included inserting himself as the 2nd referee in their match against Shinsuke Nakamura and Randy Orton, providing a quick 3 count to get the victory.

Just last week Bryan awarded the two a WWE Championship handicap match against Styles at the Royal Rumble. Bryan has not liked how Shane has blatantly shown his hatred of KO and Sami, comparing Shane to acting like his father Vince McMahon.

Can you blame Shane though? I mean this feud started when Owens beat the hell out of his own father, and then suffered a serious injury jumping from that cell, only to lose because of Zayn’s actions.

Though when you look at it, Daniel Bryan has only tried to be fair and just during this ordeal. He doesn’t believe it’s fair that Shane is making them jump through hoops every week. Bryan has mentioned personal beefs with The Miz amongst others as examples for how to work through problems and be professional, not just getting revenge for personal vendettas that won’t benefit the best interest of the company.

Shane’s actions though are clearly just to hurt Owens and Zayn in any way he can. He’s made rules and stipulations for every match, banning people from ringside and causing serious anarchy as the weeks go by.

Thanks to Owens and Zayn, they brought over the “YEP” movement in support of Bryan, even though he doesn’t want their praises. It’s all going full steam ahead in the meantime. How can Bryan be the good guy though when he’s paired with the bad guys?

So who is the heel?

Gun to my head, Shane McMahon has to be the heel. At the end of the day, he is a McMahon at heart. They are all vindictive, maniacal, blood stricken aggressors who will ruin anyone and everyone to get their way. It’s been the McMahon motive for years, they stack the cards in their favor to accomplish what they want.

Daniel Bryan has been forced to play into KO and Sami’s hands to stop Shane from burning Smackdown Live to the ground.

And there is one last factor that brings it all home…

This eventual ending has to see Daniel Bryan return to the ring as a wrestler. He is so incredible with the crowd that even if he were to become the heel, the crowd would cheer for him. He’s so over that I don’t think it can be reversed, at least not like this.

We all love Shane McMahon, I love Shane O’Mac, everyone was so happy when he returned. But because he is a McMahon, there is always a chance for him to be the bad guy. It’s what the WWE was built on. I’d rather Daniel Bryan face an actual real wrestler upon his return back, but that’s a story for another day. If he were to return against Shane, it has to be Bryan as the over the top babyface, and Shane as the heel.

Sports Al Dente 2019

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