Shane McMahon vs Test – SummerSlam 1999
As the wrestling world prepares to head into SummerSlam weekend, I thought it would be a great time to debut what will likely be a biweekly series in conjunction with #FashbackFriday here at Kayfabe Kenny…
Kenny’s KayFabe Classic or KKFC
In this ongoing series I will highlight various matches and feuds that really epitomize professional wrestling and the magic wand that can sometimes be kayfabe. Most feuds will make the list because of how “real” the story feels, while others will fall somewhere in the middle and may require a little more suspension of disbelief.
The first feud I’d like to highlight features a classic SummerSlam bout and one of Shane McMahon’s finest matches. It’s a feud that was fairly simple in execution and I think that speaks to why it was successful. But, before I get to the match I need to lay in the back-story for this time in the company
Early on in 1999, Stephanie McMahon made her debut as “daddy’s little girl” in one of the most elaborate storylines in WWE history. After being stalked and subsequently kidnapped by The Undertaker, Stephanie was about to marry the Phenom against her will. The ceremony was interrupted by the redneck knight in shining armor, the Texas Rattlesnake, Stone Cold Steve Austin.
All the while, Shane McMahon is battling back and forth with his father over various factions and control of the company. The family is divided and it get’s so bad that eventually Linda and Stephanie give their 50% stock over to Stone Cold in order to give him full control, compared to Vince and Shane’s 25% each. Shane and Vince beat Steve Austin together after some shenanigans in a ladder match to regain 100% ownership of the company.
After her traumatic encounters with The Undertaker come to a close Stephanie McMahon begins to have a relationship with Test. Also around this time, having complete control of the company with his father again, Shane was able to focus is sights elsewhere. Namely, Test, the wrestler who thought he was good enough for his baby sister.
Shane accused Steph of dating “beneath the family’s standards” and, with the help of his Mean Street Posse, would torture Test on a weekly basis. Eventually everything came to a head and the WWE booked a match for SummerSlam. The Stipulation? A “Love Her or Leave Her” match. If Shane beat Test, Test was forbidden from dating his sister. If Test won, Test and Stephanie would be together. Not only were they fighting for the love of Stephanie McMahon, or who she could/couldn’t love, but they were also going to be doing so in a Greenwich Street Fight. Shane’s signature match.
I went back and watched this match on the WWE Network and it’s still really amazing. There was no pre-match video package that went on too long and even though it looked like there would be an interview, the actual interview was over before it ever even started. Test wasn’t there to talk… he was there to fight. This moment really sells you on how personal this match is and what it means for at least one of the competitors.
A theme I think you will notice, I really loved the commentary before, during, and after this match. Jim Ross and Jerry “The King” Lawler do a great job of telling both sides of the story and pushing the agenda. The two of them together really sell me on the gimmick of the match and just how important it really is. From the word go we the audience know that this match is personal. The attacks that Test has suffered at the hands of the Posse and the love he feels for Stephanie McMahon will carry him to victory. He must overcome. For love.
As for the match, coming in at a little over twelve minutes in length the story flows perfectly. There are so many excellent near falls in the last act of this match I thought I was going to legitimately have a heart attack. Traffic signs come out at some point, as well as a ton of other random weapons. With the help of the Mean Street Posse, Shane drops a massive elbow onto Test, who is laid out on the Spanish Announce table. Eventually the Corporate Stooges, aka Patterson and Brisco, come out to the ring to even the odds and help clear out the Posse.
Test hits his own massive elbow and he pins Shane to win the match. Immediately we see Stephanie sprinting down the aisle. She jumps in the ring to celebrate with her man. Love wins. As they have done all night long, JR and King continue to sell this angle brilliantly. JR conveying how happy the two of them are, while King talks about how she’s just made the biggest mistake of her life and look what it did to her brother.
Either way Shane and Test put on one hell of a show and in the end earned each other’s respect. Eventually, Shane gave Test his blessing and he and Stephanie were engaged to be married. Of course in typical WWE wedding fashion there was a huge interruption. Triple H comes out with a very interesting video tape. He shows “homemade” footage of a drugged Stephanie and himself in Las Vegas getting married in one of those drive-thru chapels. And just like we started… we end with Stephanie being married against her will. The only difference here is eventually it was revealed that it was all part of an elaborate revenge plot for Stephanie. And with that, the McMahon-Helmsley Era had officially begun.
Stephanie and Triple H, married and on top of the world… art imitates life imitates art.
This Sunday, live from Brooklyn, NY, WWE unleashes the 29th iteration of its second biggest event of the year. Almost 15 years removed from this match WWE still looks to capture the attention of the world. There isn’t a match on the card for Sunday that has the same personal history this match did, but then again, this is the New Era of WWE, so anything can happen.
I hope you enjoyed the debut of Kenny’s KayFabe Classic. If you did or didn’t be sure and tell me about it below. I’d also love suggestions of other feuds/matches you’d like to see make this list.
What matches are you most looking forward to Sunday? I’ll be watching, live on the WWE Network for only 9.99.
Until next time… It’s still real to me dammit.