Shane McMahon made his triumphant return to WWE this Monday in a segment that concluded with a shocking announcement: Shane O’ Mac would face The Undertaker in a Hell in a Cell match at WrestleMania.
No, I’m not giving you details about my WWE2K16 storyline; that is an actual match that is happening at WrestleMania 32, or Star… or whatever.
Now to make one thing clear: I don’t for one second believe that we’ll get Shane vs. Undertaker in a Hell in a Cell Match. I’m having a hard enough time typing that sentence, let alone thinking I might see that train wreck in person (come say hello if you’re going by the way). Regardless, I’ve decided to go back and have a look at the in-ring career of the prodigal son himself.
Nostalgia has an interesting way of blurring perspective, but there seems to be a general consensus that McMahon was pretty damn entertaining in the ring. Depending on what you want to base the quality of those matches on (i.e McMahon killing himself in a number of different ways) – it’s hard to argue that the boy wonder didn’t sacrifice his body for our entertainment.
McMahon had a lot more matches than I remember. On record, he has had 101 matches, with 23 of them on PPV. Remember Bobby Lashley vs. Vince, Shane, and Umaga? Nope, neither do I. Though I do remember a match with Cody Rhodes that took place on Superstars — and no, I don’t really know why that match took place either, or why I remember it.
In only the second match in his career, McMahon managed to win the European Championship in Russo-riffic fashion. McMahon appears to have a tremendous amount of confidence inside the ring, despite it only being his second match ever. His punches were awful— somewhat a of recurring issue throughout his career —but he never looked lost, and actually was pretty competent in getting from point a to b. Also: this match was only 5 minutes long. Also: Michael Cole was fucking awful. *1/2
Not to knock his abilities, but it speaks volumes when McMahon was apart of arguably the second or third best match at WrestleMania 15.
Let it be said that the video package for this was a work of art, as it would be around this time we’d be introduced to the greatest wrestling trio not called The Shield: The Mean Street Posse. Again, McMahon had excellent timing and ring awareness, and it’s always surprising to see what he could do athletically considering his wrestling gear would just about pass in CZW. The story was based around on Shane running around, X-Pac getting a few hits in, Test interfering. The match ended when HHH (who turned face an hour ago) turned heel by hitting the Pedigree on X-Pac, thus joining the corporation. **1/2
In a match only slight less mental to read than Shane McMahon vs. The Undertaker in Hell in a Cell is this absolute nonsense.
Austin, who’d only won the title a few months earlier, was now title-less, but had control of the WWF – because 1999. McMahon was the punching bag in this affair because Vince is… well, Vince. There was a collection of ladders assembled in the entranceway that I’ve never seen put together before or since. It meant we had the cool visual of Shane climbing on top of this structure, followed by Austin. He hadn’t quite got into the practice of falling from high places, but he did have the joy of being thrown into ladders at high velocity. Can it be said that Shane also sells the stunner just about better than anyone else. The match ends in guess what? Typical Russo fashion: Austin goes for the briefcase but it gets raised out of his reach. Shane would push Austin and Vince off the ladder and grab the briefcase. Overall, the match didn’t have any spots of utter madness or anything particularly memorable in general. **1/2
At WrestleMania 15, Shane had Test. In the ladder match, it was two against one. Here? It’s hard to conceive the idea of Shane taking on Test in a competitive match. He did pull out a corkscrew frontflip that didn’t look far too removed from AJ Styles’ Spiral Tap. We got the debut of the top rope elbow drop through the announcers’ table — a move that wouldn’t be topped until Seth Rollins flew through the air with such grace onto the gigantic chest of Brock Lesnar. We would end up with interference from the Mean Street Posse, and for once, the overbooking actually helped the match. Test looked like a massive star coming out of this, and it’s amazing that they wouldn’t capitalize on the momentum from this match. A wild and fun brawl. ****
Yes, on more than one occasion Shane McMahon would compete for a heavyweight championship. HHH’s arm was in a sling for reasons I don’t remember. JR was kind enough to remind us that Patterson was always bringing up the rear.
The concept of Shane McMahon beating on the WWF’s World Champion at the time, The Rock is dumb – though the ratings would say otherwise, I guess. It was all shenanigans with the McMahon-Helmsley faction on the outside, and Patterson as the referee, but goddamn the crowd was into this. McMahon would end up on the top of the cage before come crashing back down to Earth. **3/4
I don’t really remember how or why McMahon would end up with the WWF Hardcore Championship – but I sure as hell remember this match.
Let’s be honest, this match exists for one spot and one spot only. The spot is a moment of utter madness and totally unnecessary – considering this happened only about a year after the death of Owen Hart.
At the time I wasn’t aware of this fact, as I wouldn’t start watching wrestling after Hart’s death, but in hindsight and with this knowledge, it makes for uncomfortable viewing. Regardless, the stones it takes to fall backwards from 30 feet cannot be denied — crash pad or not—is admirable. This match is arguably the defining moment of Shane McMahon’s career. ***
Shane wouldn’t wrestle between SummerSlam 2000 and WrestleMania X7. This was a total storyline/smoke & mirrors match, but up until the disaster that was the Bret Hart match, Vince hit a homerun at ‘Mania every time. It was the culmination of the best on-screen character work of Linda McMahon’s career. Shane was the glue of the match; flying all over the place and bumping like a madman.
Everything about this is perfect professional wrestling from two non-wrestlers, a broken down man as the special guest referee, and zombie Linda. ****½
A couple of months before McMahon would kill himself at King of the Ring 2001, Shane O’Mac decided to kill himself taking on the Big Show.
These two faced off at Judgement Day 2000 in a largely forgettable match. This was also an entirely forgettable match – except for the most insane bump of McMahons career. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves… before that iconic spot we had 10 minutes of no psychology, no selling, and plenty of headshots. Mercifully, McMahon decided to climb a frame not unlike the one he fell off of last year. With Big Show lying on some part of the stage set up, McMahon flings himself off from 30-plus feet up in the air, and comes hurtling down onto the prone body of the Big Show. Each consecutive replay of the fall looks more insane than the last, as we see the platform holding the Big Show explode as Shane makes contact. A nothing match and not even the most memorable big spot of Shane’s career. *
Utter, utter chaos from an office employee and an Olympic gold medalist.
Angle, by the way, was in his third match on this particular evening, and had suffered a concussion in his first match of the evening, and had come off THAT steel cage match with THAT moonsault one-week prior.
This was a notably violent affair, that was structured and paced to perfection – because goddamn if Kurt Angle isn’t one of the greatest wrestlers of all time. It helped that, again, McMahon was willing to be dropped literally on his head – several times. He also pulled off a shooting star press that would have made Billy Kidman blush. He also – eventually – locked on a sharpshooter that looked far more effective than any The Rock ever applied. The match is most famous for Angle belly-to-belly suplexing McMahon through the glass panels in the stage setup.
Even before that, Angle gets suplexed on the entranceway – which is simply a carpet covering concrete – and you can see an expression, not of a wrestler selling a move, but of a man who can barely breathe from cracking his tailbone. As for the glass panel spots: I’d forgotten just how loudly the thud of McMahon’s head hitting the floor was. We ended with the image of an Olympic gold medalist bleeding from the shoulders. This match in hindsight is twice as uncomfortable to watch knowing the state Angle would end up in, but holy hell this was more violent and compelling than any Street Fight you’ll see in 2016 in WWE – for better or worse. ****1/2
The lesser-known street fight that took place during the botched Invasion angle. Partly because y’kno… the other one took place at the biggest PPV of all time, but it also had to do with Vince playing face here, and not exactly the kind of athlete you need to make a fiery comeback. Also it’s here we start to see the greatest hits of Shane, as he pulls out the shooting star press into the trash can, the elbow drop through the announce table, and the coast-to-coast. We were treated to Kane and Test hitting the big boot on each other, which is my favourite spot in all of wrestling. The match was just a storyline setup for the Angle heel turn and perhaps the worst stunner Vince ever took. *3/4
This is garbage. Though Bischoff takes a hell of a stunner.
Ah yes, unmasked Kane, car batteries attached to male genitals, and the proverbial jumping of the shark of young Shane O’ Mac. McMahon would actually hit the road through the fall of 2003, facing off with Kane in street fights and steel cage matches at a number of house shows. There was one simple problem: the whole feud was straight from 1999 and no one cared — a problem Vince still can’t comprehend in 2016. I digress.
I’m presuming Shane ends up in ring-shape before the Survivor Series match, because he is blown up to hell here. It’s hard to find anything to say about this match, because there’s nothing of note to mention. The definition of a one-spot match, as Shane comes hurtling down from the stage again, except this time his intended target moves – probably because Test was not there to hold him down. *1/4
We had Shane back an SUV into Kane through a glass panel, which was a first.
Kane gets an ambulance door to the side of the face, which looked no fun at all. He pulls a trashcan out of an equipment box – I didn’t realise that’s what they came to the arenas in. McMahon’s big spot for this match was to set up a giant cardboard box several feet away from the ambulance, with Kane sitting an upright position plus trashcan. McMahon came flying off the ambulance in a spot that was met with a resounding ‘meh’ by the audience. The match finishes anti-climactically with a tombstone on the floor, which was probably worse Kane’s knees, followed by Kane throwing Shane into the back of the ambulance. Match Rating: **
It would be three years before McMahon would get back in the ring. This would come during the madness that was the Vince McMahon/Shawn Michaels feud. He appeared a week prior to face Shane in a match that went nowhere. This time though, we’d get a full on street fight between the two.
The match would take place on a historic edition of Saturday Night’s Main Event, some 14 years after the last SNME. As such, we had an old school intro package with wrestlers discussing their matches for the evening, presumably to inform the folks of NBC who wondered what the hell was on their televisions at that current moment in time. The big bump of this match involved Shawn superplexing McMahon off a ladder to the outside through two tables. Vince’s expression for this carnage was priceless. Shane took control of this match by caving Michaels’ face in with a ladder, followed up with an extended rest hold. *1/2
The feud that Randy Orton may have never fully recovered from. Orton punts Vince, gets massive heat, Shane throws the most laughably absurd worked punches in the history of everything ever, and Orton loses heat.
As for the match? Shane decks Orton with a monitor and presumably cuts Orton hard way with the corner of it. Shane clears Ted DiBiase and Cody Rhodes who came to save Orton and your top three heels look like total goobers. Coast-to-coast, elbow drop through the announce table… spotting a pattern here? Couple of chair shots; missed punt to the head; RKO; yes, it’s fair to say the decline in the work of McMahon happened quickly. **
There have it – 10 years of Shane McMahon. It’s fair to say that his match routine is solely based around his big spots. Unless he’s with a worker the caliber of Kurt Angle or Shawn Michaels, the matches drag.
If (big if) this announced match with The Undertaker happens, lord knows they will need every trick under the bed to pull it off. The announce tables will be out of the question if they stay confined to the cage, but with this being McMahon, I’d be stunned if he doesn’t fall off the entire thing at some point.
Also, McMahon gets blown up severely in some of the later matches; some of these took place nearly 10 years ago — it’s hard to imagine him being in fighting shape come WrestleMania 32.