Weeks before WrestleMania, WWE revealed that Shane McMahon suffered an infection due to acute diverticulitis and was hospitalized for several days while on a family vacation in Antigua. McMahon also had an umbilical hernia which would require surgery. McMahon was scheduled to team with Daniel Bryan to face Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn at the big event, however his health issues put his participation in the match at risk. During an interview with Daniel Bryan on his Talk Is Jericho podcast, Chris Jericho revealed that he was contacted by Vince McMahon to possibly replace Shane in the match.
"A few weeks before WrestleMania, maybe 2-3 weeks, I get a call from Vince [McMahon]," Jericho said. "He's talking about Shane McMahon and his diverticulitis, and he had an infection in his hand, and he had staph infection, a hernia, and he told me that he doesn't know that I can do WrestleMania, and he had somehow got someone to look at my schedule. We had a Fozzy show [in New Hampshire] that day, and originally the idea was to combine it and have an earlier show and let the venue buy WrestleMania and I can watch WrestleMania with all the fans. So, he's like, I know you are doing a WrestleMania show and afterwards you are going to watch WrestleMania with all of the fans. He goes, what do you think about coming to New Orleans if Shane McMahon won't be able to do it?"
Bryan assumed Shane wouldn't be able to do the match. He noted that he was told that there was a "pretty good backup plan," however wasn't told what it was.
"It's weird, because we are in this stage now where they don't tell the boys anything," Bryan stated. "They keep all the secrets from the boys because they are afraid that the boys are talking to the dirt sheets and all of that kind of stuff. I asked, because Shane called me and told me that he was in the hospital now, 'I got diverticulitis when I was in Antigua, and when they put me on IV's I got a staph infection from the IV's and then I have this hernia that is coming out of my stomach,' but he's like, 'don't worry, I will be ready for WrestleMania.' What? How? That doesn't make any sense.
"So, I was on my way to TV and was going through security when he told me to call him. We started talking and he said that, and when I got to TV the next day, I thought, 'what are we going to do? Certainly he's not going to be wrestling?' They said, 'well, he says he is wrestling, but we have a backup, and we think it's a pretty good backup.' I asked who it was, and they said that they couldn't tell me. I thought, 'wait, you can't tell me? I'm in the match! Shouldn't I know?' I had assumed, I had kind of assumed that you [Jericho] that makes the most sense with your history with Kevin [Owens] and stuff. Shane McMahon is just fearless, and it's weird because he had that helicopter crash, and the pilot was more shaken than he was. He was keeping the pilot calm. It's like, what? You're going down in a helicopter!"
Jericho said that he would have done the match if needed, and he would have been rushed out of New Hampshire to New Orleans just in time to make the match. Vince called him the following week and told him that Shane would be working the match. Shane and Daniel Bryan ended up defeating Owens and Zayn at the show.
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Talk Is Jericho with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Peter Bahi contributed to this article.