TSN’s Michael Landsberg hit a stand-up triple Tuesday night with his interview with Shane and Stephanie McMahon. It was exclusive, insightful, interesting and fun. That said, though, there is no doubt of two things.
One, both Shane and Stephanie are McMahons, and have their parents’s skills at avoiding questions. At one point, Landsberg jokingly said to Stephanie “you’re truly a McMahon because I don’t think there was an answer there” after she didn’t answer a question full-on.
Second, if it had been a live show, Landsberg could have asked about the WWF stock offering that was announced today. As it was, his question to the McMahon children about taking over the company is now outdated, as the shareholders will have a say in the direction of the WWF.
Both Shane and Stephanie were relaxed and seemed to enjoy being in the spotlight without their father. They joked back and forth, having fun with almost mock politeness to each other.
When asked if she would want to wrestle one day, Stephanie joked that Shane wouldn’t let her. “I wouldn’t mind but it’s not currently in the storylines.” She also said that she wanted to be a part of her family’s company ever since she could remember but that “unfortunately, I didn’t get to experience the same things Shane did. It wasn’t the right forum for a little girl. But I always wanted to be a part of this company.”
From the sounds of it, Shane got taken to a lot more dressing rooms and shows than his sister did. He said that he wanted to work for the WWF from the time he was two years old and first went to an event. Shane said that he always wanted to be a tag team wrestler with Andre the Giant, which came as a surprise to his sister.
Both McMahon siblings went to the University of Boston. Behind the scenes, Stephanie is an account executive in their New York office, selling advertising time. Shane is the President of WWF New Media, and runs the web site, something he considers Media “a natural extension of what where the World Wrestling Federation should go.” He is also involved in the creative direction of the company.
Landsberg asked how the Internet had changed the business for the WWF. Shane said that it was for the better. “The fans have an insatiable appetite for what we do,” he said. “We take a lot of [the fans’] ideas and input through the message boards, through chats and things like that. We totally interact with our fans, take their ideas and make them feel a part of our stories. That’s one of the keys to our success — we’re good listeners.” He also didn’t think that a fan can know too much about what is going on behind the scenes.
Stephanie was asked a relationship question, alluding to her on-camera romance with Test. (Perhaps Landsberg should have prefaced the question by saying that Stephanie is single, whereas Shane is married.) “If you’re asking if I would ever date a wrestler, certainly I would,” Stephanie said. “However it wouldn’t be good business for me to get romantically involved with anyone in any aspect of our business.”
Both Shane and Stephanie were very good at towing the company line and praising their father. They talked about what a strong family they have. “People don’t get it,” Shane said. “They’re never going to know the inner workings of our family. And that’s what we are – we’re solid. As long as we’re all together, we can handle anything.”
Stephanie complained about the media being more sensationalist today and that the media should do more research before writing their stories. “We’re incredibly proud of our family. It doesn’t matter what anybody writes,” she said.
As for their storylines, both said that they were not totally comfortable on camera. Shane joked about his matches. “I don’t think what I do is called wrestling anyway.”
He also said that there’s not much that he can do about his role in the company and it having been handed to him to some degree. “It’s a fact of life. It is true,” said Shane. “I have been given unbelievable opportunities. I have lived a charmed life. So I make no mistake about that, no bones about that. I’ve been given every advantage probably that everybody wishes they could give their children.”
At the end of the show, Landsberg tried some name association.
Hulk Hogan: Shane said “old”.
Test: Stephanie said “Canadian”.
Stone Cold: Shane said “the bomb.”
Undertaker: Shane said “the phenom”
Mark Calloway (Undertaker’s real name): Shane said “the phenom” without missing a beat.
Vince McMahon: Both Stephanie and Shane called him “the King” before talking about how passionate and brutally honest he can be.