Pro Wrestling

Top 10 Shane McMahon Career Highlights Source:

The only son of WWE CEO Vince McMahon, Shane McMahon has created his own legacy in professional wrestling, both as a character and as an in-ring competitor. Despite limited training, when he eventually stepped foot in the ring, Shane showed an aptitude for the business in which he’d grown up, and actually became fairly respected for his abilities. Shane also became well-known for his tendency to perform crazy, occasionally death-defying stunts as part of his matches, with some of his most famous living in WWE highlight reels for years. With that in mind, we’ve combed through Shane’s time in WWE and picked out some of the biggest highlights of what has been one of the most unexpectedly successful wrestling careers in history.

10. Shane Screws Austin

In one of the best-written stories of the Attitude Era, Vince McMahon had finally had enough and fired “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, only to see him re-hired by his son Shane, who said it was better for WWE’s bottom line to keep Austin on TV. As part of his new contract, Austin was guaranteed a shot at the WWE Title. An irate Vince busted Shane down to his old job as referee, and that’s where things stood going into Survivor Series 1998 and the “Deadly Game” tournament for the vacant WWE Title. Austin was facing tournament favorite Mankind (who had been “adopted” as Vince’s surrogate son) in the semi-finals of the tournament. As the match progressed, everything was going Austin’s way, until a ref bump occurred. Austin hit a Stunner and went for what looked like the decisive pin, as Shane ran in to replace the downed referee. Shane counted to two, then flipped Austin the bird, revealing that it had all been a set-up to screw Austin over yet again. Austin was eliminated from the tournament and was once again unable to win back the WWE Title that was rightfully his.

9. Undefeated European Champion

Way back before the wrestling world realized that Shane McMahon was a decent wrestler with a tendency towards doing insane, unforgettable stunts that nobody with his net worth should even be considering, he was Vince McMahon’s sidekick, annoying wrestlers without a chance of comeuppance. And through a convoluted series of events (which was par for the course in the Russo-led Attitude Era), Shane won the European Title in a tag match and entered into his very first wrestling feud, with D-Generation X member X-Pac. Shane ducked his opponent as much as possible, but ended up in a title defense at WrestleMania XV, where it was expected that X-Pac would finally reclaim what was rightfully his from the non-wrestling McMahon. Instead, an unexpected heel turn from D-X leader Triple H gave Shane-O-Mac the victory, and he would proceed to retire from wrestling, undefeated, and take the European title with him. The title would re-enter circulation when Shane gifted it to Corporate Ministry member Mideon later that year, and as we know, Shane himself was also far from done with wrestling. Source:

8. Love Her Or Leave Her

When Steve Austin was given 50% stake in WWE due to Stephanie and Linda McMahon growing angered at Vince and Shane’s war with Austin dragging their family through hell, including the kidnapping of Stephanie and the infamous “Black Wedding”, he made a few changes while in power, and gave those who had stood by him against the Corporation any one thing they desired. Probably the oddest request of all came from Test, who asked for a date with Stephanie McMahon. Shockingly, the two of them hit it off and became closer, which enraged Stephanie’s brother, Shane. Determined to keep his sister from hanging out with someone who he felt didn’t deserve her, Shane and his Mean Street Posse began attacking Test, culminating in a “Love Her or Leave Her” match at SummerSlam 1999. This was probably the first match where Shane showed that he actually had a decent amount of wrestling ability, and was a shockingly great match for both men. The end result was a victory for Test, who actually earned Shane’s respect in the process, leading to the two becoming fairly good friends.

7. A Fall From Grace

In mid-2000, Shane McMahon somehow managed to win the Hardcore Title from Steve Blackman, because everyone in WWE won the Hardcore Title at some point during that time period. Upon realizing what he’d just done, Shane tried to get someone to win the title from him, but Commissioner Mick Foley suspended the 24/7 rule in order to allow Blackman his desired revenge, setting up a match between the two at SummerSlam. At this point, Shane was still largely a non-combatant, and the general consensus was that Blackman, who was a legitimate master of martial arts, would pretty much destroy Shane. And that turned out to be the case, as Shane spent most of the match fleeing, eventually scaling the side of the Titantron to try and escape Blackman’s wrath. Blackman pursued, however, and after taking several stiff shots with a kendo stick, Shane fell backwards off the side of the structure and landed on a convenient pile of equipment. It was the first ridiculously dangerous stunt of Shane’s wrestling career, but it definitely would not be the last.

6. Shane Buys WCW

So, in reality, WCW was going under after having their television contract cancelled, and Vince McMahon swooped in to buy up the company’s assets for pennies on the dollar because he’d have been an idiot not to do so. But on TV, they decided to integrate the sale of WCW into the ongoing feud going on between Vince and Shane leading up to WrestleMania X-7. So, in an event that absolutely nobody would have thought possible, the last segment of the final episode of WCW Monday Nitro aired during Monday Night Raw, with Vince McMahon gloating about having bought his competition. Then, in a shocking twist, Shane appeared live on Nitro and announced that he, not Vince, had purchased WCW (eventually it would be revealed that Shane sold his WWE stock in order to buy WCW, to a consortium that was led by Ric Flair). This was actually just supposed to be a one-off thing to let people know that WWE had purchased WCW, then they were going to spend months crafting a careful strategy for an inter-company war that would relaunch WCW as a second brand under the WWE umbrella, but, well…that plan didn’t exactly work out.

5. A Family Affair

Shane buying Vince’s competition was actually part of a larger revenge plot, as Shane had initially returned seeking vengeance for his mother, Linda, who had been suffered a nervous breakdown and was being kept in a medically induced coma while Vince openly cheated on her with Trish Stratus. Thanks to some legally binding contracts signed by Linda prior to her hospitalization which gave former Commissioner Mick Foley special emergency powers, Vince was forced to face Shane in a Street Fight at WrestleMania X-7, which was refereed by Foley himself. The match was a glorious display of chaos, with Vince (and Stephanie) getting all sorts of comeuppance in the process. During the match, Trish Stratus, tired of being treated poorly by both Vince and Stephanie, attacked “Daddy’s Little Girl” to the cheers of the crowd. Then, when Vince gained the upper hand and brought his drugged wife Linda into the ring to watch him finish of Shane, she revealed that she was no longer medicated, and kicked him in the crotch, followed by Mick Foley applying Mr. Socko to Vince. The climax of this ridiculously incredible match was Shane debuting the Van Terminator in WWE, a move borrowed from Rob Van Dam which saw Shane leap from the top rope, fly across the length of the ring, and dropkick a garbage can in his father’s face. Shane would emerge victorious as result, leaving Vince at one of his lowest points.

4. Leap of Faith

You might have noticed that Shane pretty much hit peak insanity in 2001, the absolute height of which would probably be this incredibly ridiculous leap off the top of the Titantron and onto a prone Big Show as part of a Last Man Standing match. Shane even crosses himself before jumping, and we’re pretty sure that wasn’t part of the script, because that was legitimately scary to watch, let alone perform, and you have to believe that 90% of actual wrestlers wouldn’t have even considered it. Even in the story of the match, Shane was so wiped out by the leap that he only stood up to win the match thanks to a convenient camera boom. The downside, of course, is that by this point, Shane himself had raised the bar for death-defying leaps so high that it was becoming problematic for the rest of the roster to keep up. So, with that in mind, Shane would start transitioning away from jumping off of high places to taking brutal bumps closer to ground level. And that led straight into our next example, when Shane decided to try and out-wrestler an Olympic Hero.

3. The Glass That Wouldn’t Break

This match, and one moment in particular, would end up on a lot of WWE’s “Don’t Try This At Home” videos for a long time, and for a very good reason. As part of Shane annoying people about his purchase of WCW, he ran afoul of Kurt Angle. And since we’ve already established that Shane McMahon is insane, he ended up challenging Angle (who was possibly the greatest wrestler on the planet at that point) to a match at King of the Ring. What happened there has lived forever in infamy, as Shane and Kurt absolutely brutalized each other, ending up covered in blood in the process (and it should be noted that Angle was also involved in the King of the Ring tournament and wrestled twice more on the same show). The climax of the match involved a sequence where Angle attempted to suplex Shane through some glass mirrors which made up part of the set. One problem: the glass didn’t break, so Shane bounced off, then fell to the ground like a sack of potatoes. And then they tried it again, with the glass thankfully shattering on a second attempt, but not before the audience was treated to one of the most sickening examples of a human body hitting a solid object seen in wrestling.

2. A Shock To The System

This whole thing was far too silly not to be included. So, Kane had been unmasked and gone slightly insane as a result. Well, slightly more insane, anyway. He doused JR in gasoline and set him on fire, threatened to do the same to Rob Van Dam, and also dared to put his hands on Linda McMahon, who is basically untouchable. As a result of this attack on his mother, Shane McMahon returned full of righteous fervor and looking for vengeance against the Big Red Machine. This led to an escalating series of attacks, including Shane trapping Kane in a limo and sending it crashing into a truck trailer, and throwing Kane into a flaming dumpster. In response, on an episode of Raw, Kane beat up Shane McMahon, tied him to a ring post, and then proceeded to hook Shane’s testicles up to a car battery and attempt to electrocute him. We only wish that we were kidding. The entire scene, though clearly ridiculous, was played entirely seriously, and eventually both men would settle their differences inside the ring, presumably because things had escalated to the point where somebody was actually going to have to die to make it somewhat believable.

1. The Montreal Screwjob, Part 5,367

In 2006, Vince McMahon was in a nonsensical feud with Shawn Michaels, which was vaguely about Shawn wanting forgiveness for his role in the infamous Montreal Screwjob (years before Bret Hart himself would even think about returning to WWE and burying the hatchet) and mostly about Vince tormenting both Shawn and Triple H so much that they re-formed D-Generation X to annoy him right back. At any rate, around the same time, WWE had tried to revive the Saturday Night’s Main Event show on NBC, an experiment which was pretty much doomed from the start and got worse, but it did lead to an event that nobody probably expected to ever see, as Shane McMahon faced Shawn Michaels one-on-one and came away with the victory. Of course, it was a complete re-enactment of Montreal, with Shane holding Shawn in a Sharpshooter while Vince McMahon ordered the bell rung, but it still counts! What actually gets lost in the complaints over WWE re-using an old, tired angle that had been done to death since 1997 is that Shane and Shawn had a decent little Street Fight before the shenanigans kicked in, including Shane getting suplexed off a ladder and through a stack of tables. The fact that this is considered one of Shane’s less memorable spots should tell you a little bit about the crazy lengths he’s gone to over his career.

Stephen Randle

Stephen Randle

Stephen Randle is an avid wrestling and film fan. He's been writing about WWE, movies, and video games for Goliath since 2015.