A new layer of the story, or is the WrestleMania tag team match in danger?
SmackDown Live Commissioner Shane McMahon has been hospitalized with a bout of diverticulitis, according to WWE.com. From their report:
Shane McMahon is currently recovering from acute diverticulitis and an umbilical hernia in a New York-area medical facility, WWE.com has learned.
Two weeks ago on SmackDown LIVE, McMahon announced he would be taking an indefinite leave of absence from his position as the blue brand’s Commissioner. Following that announcement, McMahon was brutally attacked by Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. WWE medical staff initially diagnosed him with a laryngeal contusion and trapezius and rhomboid strains as a result of the beating.
Following the vicious assault, McMahon went to the Caribbean with his family to rest and recuperate. While there, Shane developed a massive infection due to acute diverticulitis and was hospitalized for several days in Antigua before being flown back to a New York-area hospital, where he is currently being treated with heavy doses of antibiotics. The doctors in New York have also discovered that Shane suffered an umbilical hernia during the attack, which will require surgery once the infection has been eradicated.
Stick with WWE.com for further updates on Shane McMahon’s status as they become available.
Upon first read, this article doesn’t exactly pass the kayfabe sniff test — Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn’s "vicious assault" is mentioned, along with the resulting storyline “injuries” from said assault, in the same breath as the diverticulitis. Kayfabe mainstay phrases such as "local medical facility" are also mentioned. However, Shane randomly coming down with a case of diverticulitis would be a strange direction to intentionally take the story in, since that has nothing to do with KO or Sami’s actions on SmackDown.
If Shane is legitimately ill, however, it would make sense to attach it to the Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn storyline to increase the importance of the beatdown while also providing a kayfabe explanation for the illness.
It is worth noting that Kevin Owens, as Kevin Steen, performed a move known as "deep sea diverticulitis" on the independent scene before coming to WWE. The move was essentially an F5 — the originator of which, Brock Lesnar, is a well-known sufferer of the illness. Kevin recently changed his Twitter name and handle from "Kevin Owens" back to "Kevin Steen" to further the "firing" angle, which could be an interesting connection. That may be grasping at straws however, as that is a pretty inside-baseball type of reference.
If the illness is legitimate, it makes Shane McMahon’s — and, perhaps more importantly, recently cleared Daniel Bryan’s — WrestleMania plans uncertain. The heaviest rumor going into WrestleMania 34 since Daniel Bryan was cleared to compete has been Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan vs. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn, and judging by the events of last week’s episode of SmackDown, that indeed seemed to be the plan.
So, is this a work or a shoot? It’s hard to say right now. If it is legitimate, we hope Shane McMahon makes a full and speedy recovery. If it’s a work, bravo to WWE for further blurring the lines between fact and fiction.
More information on this story as it develops.