There are few performers like Shane McMahon.
The son of billionaire wrestling promoter Vince, he took tremendous risks while entertaining fans, and in the process, he became of the of the most over workers in the industry. This, despite having no formal wrestling training.
Over the course of his WWE career, McMahon threw his body off of countless structures for the sake of a big pop and a memorable moment. He bled for his craft, went through an unknown number of tables and was even thrown through a glass set at the 2001 King of the Ring.
He did all of this despite not having to. He could have easily stayed off of television and become a high-ranking official within the company or elsewhere if he so chose. Instead, he took plenty for the team and was part of several outstanding matches.
The Last Man Standing match at Backlash 2001 was one of them.
On March 26, 2001, Shane McMahon appeared on the final telecast of Monday Nitro and revealed that he had purchased World Championship Wrestling out from underneath his father. It was a landmark moment in the history of professional wrestling and one that is looked back upon with great fondness in any list of great Raw moments.
At WrestleMania X-Seven, Shane and Vince paid off a heated, personal, month-long feud between them with a Street Fight that ranks among the best displays of sports-entertainment booking ever. Shane won the match, thanks to interference from mother Linda, Mick Foley and Trish Stratus, something that would only further infuriate his father and intensify their vendetta against one another.
In the weeks that followed the event, a frustrated and angered Big Show threatened to leave World Wrestling Entertainment, becoming the first Superstar to jump ship to Shane's WCW. Vince, however, saw an opportunity to talk the giant out of it and did just that. Show, seeing an opportunity to impress the boss, delivered a massive chokeslam to the WCW owner.
Shane got his revenge, blasting Big Show with a steel chair during a match with Test. Unfortunately, that only further enraged the giant, who took his frustration out on the Canadian Superstar in the backstage area.
On the final Raw before Backlash, Shane read his own version of the "Jack and the Beanstalk" fable, ending his story by stating, "The story ended with a mighty crash landing and when it was all said and done, Shane O’Mac was the last man standing."
It was against that background that the Superstars took the ring for one of the most anticipated matches on the Backlash card.
There are matches that are good, matches that are bad and there are matches that are fun. The Last Man Standing match between Shane McMahon and Big Show at Backlash was a match that was pure fun. It also happened to be a well-booked one that played up every element of the story and was capped with a breathtaking stunt that stunned the audience and elevated the notoriety of the bout.
Shane's attempts to defeat Show by outsmarting him, resorting to using chloroform, were all things someone at his disadvantage in the match may do. The interference from Vince and Test played upon the groundwork that was laid and really enhanced both the match quality and the response from the white-hot Chicago audience.
The 30-plus-foot elbow drop from Shane to Show was outstanding and the type of stunt full-time Superstars were not willing to take. It really created a memorable moment on a show that, while solid enough, was largely unspectacular. It also added to Shane's reputation as a big-match performer.
Historical Significance and Fallout
The match was the latest chapter in the war between Vince and Shane that would ultimately intensify with the introduction of WCW, ECW and the Invasion storyline.
Big Show became largely irrelevant in the weeks and months that followed, wallowing away in the midcard and facing C- and D-level members of the Alliance on shows like Heat, Jakked and Metal. He rebounded by November and was part of the huge Team WWE vs. Team Alliance match at Survivor Series. Still, he stuck out like a sore thumb in that match and was eliminated early.
Shane would compete against Kurt Angle at June's King of the Ring, delivering a near five-star classic performance. From there, he would be one of two heel authority figures of the Alliance and primarily feuded with The Rock. It was against the Great One that McMahon received a WCW Championship match in September of 2001.
Ultimately, WWE would win the war, and Shane and his sister Stephanie would be driven from the company. As is the case every time, they would return and Shane would prove valuable in either the heel or babyface role. He would feud with Kane in 2003, D-Generation X in 2006 and Randy Orton in 2009 before departing his family's empire shortly thereafter.