Many sites have a match of the week but ours is a little different. These matches are the ones that are fun to watch… in the non-traditional way.
This week, we’ve chosen Shane McMahon vs. Mankind from the early days of Smackdown, though the segments surrounding it were too great not to talk about, so we’ve split our comments up into parts to cover all of it. Members of the site @TimWelcomed, @typicalROHfan and @TomBlackett give their (lack of) expertise on the greatness, with @TJHawke joining in the fun for a crossover with his site Free Pro Wrestling which, unsurprisingly, features some great (and FREE!) pro wrestling matches for you to watch!
Shane McMahon vs. Mankind (Smackdown, 8/26/99)
Part 1: Smackdown Is Finkel
Not many things in wrestling are as great as The Fink proclaiming “I am a warrior!” and then running out to perform The Ultimate Warrior’s entrance. I really start to dislike Fink’s unprofessionalism here. You’re interrupting a show, man. When Tony Chimel got the upper hand I could not have been happier.
Jericho quickly spitting on Shamrock and then running off after hitting him with a chair was perfection. Wrestling being the serious business that it is left Shamrock only one course of action. He must chase these bullies.
Howard Finkel doing the Ultimate Warrior run and ring rope shaking is a work of art. He shouts at Tony Chimel about being the best at what he does. A young, long haired Chris Jericho looks on from a backstage monitor studying what his middle aged gimmick would turn out to be. Chimel and Fink fighting gets a huge pop that many of today’s talent like Jack Swagger and Wade Barrett would dream of.
Ken Shamrock comes to the ring and is harassed by Howard Finkel. I’m working on a theory to prove future Kurt Angle turns into the smoke monster from Lost and takes the form of Howard Finkel to hunt down wrestlers of Ankle Locks and Angle Slams past.
I used to wonder why picking on Howard Finkel was such an established tradition in WWE, but this segment with Jericho goes a long way to explain it, where he comes off like the most frustrating person in the world. SHUT UP HOWARD. YOU DON’T NEED TO KEEP FILLING IN ALL THE PAUSES WITH ‘ABSOLUTELY’. Seeing Y2J get increasingly annoyed by him is fun though.
Anyway, as Fink angles go, it’s not quite as good as the one in Summerslam ’98 but it’s still excellent. Shamrock runs like a lunatic. I also like that Jericho spits on Shamrock. WE WANT SPITTING. SPITTING IS WRESTLING. FIND SPITTING.
We get a replay of Chris Jericho powerbombing Road Dogg through a table. To the back! Jericho pumps up Howard Finkel and convinces him to go attack Tony Chimel in the ring! Finkel charges into the ring and acts like the Ultimate Warrior. Finkel runs Chimel down and then a BRAWL BREAKS OUT! Chimel gets the advantage, which received a HUGE pop. Jericho comes out and chews out Finkel for failing. KEN SHAMROCK makes his way to the ring. What is going on!?!??!?!
Jericho convinces Finkel to start a fight with Shamrock! Jericho saves Finkel by using a steel chair. Jericho and Finkel run away. Shamrock tears after them!
I can only assume the Chris Jericho/Howard Finkel vs. Ken Shamrock/Tony Chimel PPV tag match that they were building up here was off the charts. This was quite possibly the greatest four minutes and forty-three seconds in the history of the WWWF/WWF/WWE.
Part 2: Stephanie <3 Test
Out comes Stephanie McMahon wearing VERY plain clothes. We are talking generic cartoon character attire here. At least Test comes out to save the fashion with a black shirt tucked into some gnarly leather pants. I like to imagine that he had the same leather pants experience as Ross from Friends. It was very sweet of Mankind to stick up for true love by delivering chair shots to a lot of heads.
Mean Street Posse attacking Test makes for enjoyable television. The WWE name generator hit the lottery with Pete Gas, Joey Abs and Rodney. I can’t stress how much I miss these guys. Fun fact: The Mean Street Posse vs. Pat Patterson and Gerald Brisco is one of the three most watched wrestling matches of all time.
Mankind saves Test. This is hilarious considering years later, Foley would go on to TRASH Test in his “Hardcore Diaries” book. At one point, he replaced the word shit with “Test.” Example: The match you’re about to watch is a piece of Test.
I think this is the exact outfit Stephanie had in WWF Wrestlemania 2000 for the N64. She’s about as charismatic as her digital version too.
But yeah, watching young Steph is weird and I don’t like it. I’ve never been so happy to see the Mean Street Posse show up.
Stephanie McMahon comes out and calls “Andrew” to the ring. It’s a shoot, brother! Stephanie looks sixteen years old. Test comes out, looking like one of the stoner villains from The Three Ninjas. Only in a fancy clothes. Test proposes (again), and Stephanie says yes. Shane McMahon and The Mean Street Posse run in to ruin the day! But of all people… MANKIND makes the save. This has all happened within three minutes Shamrock chasing Jericho and Finkel to the back. Mankind challenges Shane-O-Mac to a match…
The Test/Shane McMahon feud over Stephanie really brings back memories for me. This was definitely the period where I first started watching the WWF. In retrospect, it’s surprising that Vince McMahon didn’t do the incest angle here; a concept he’s apparently always had a boner for.
Part 3: Battle of the Kings of Hardcore
My favorite part of the whole match is probably how good the suplex over the guardrail from Mankind to Shane McMahon looked. Test was still laying outside but got back up for some Leather Pants Powered Revenge. The best kind of revenge.
There are so many moving parts here… and it was only a matter of time until Triple H had to be a part of it.
OH MY GOD. The Stooges ARE here attacking the Mean Street Posse! This is probably what set up that legendary match. A wacky brawl ensues outside the ring. We get it, Test! You can do a big boot.
The match ends with Triple H helping Shane score the victory. I imagine Triple H telling Shane he now owes Triple H one. Little did Shane know, that favor would be handing his position eventually running WWE over to Hunter.
SIDE NOTE: Chikara (RIP) never booking the Mean Street Posse to compete in King of Trios is a huge botch and poor missed opportunity by a true Quack.
‘Mr. Sucko’ isn’t one of Shane’s best parody shirts, but it’s still okay. Is this the first time we heard ‘testicular fortitude’ on WWF TV? Also, the proximity of Shamrock, Test and Foley make me wonder if this is from around the time when The Union was a deal. Remember The Union? No, me either.
I miss Shane! I don’t know if I’d want to see him on TV now he’s older, but he couldn’t be any worse than Vince and Steph (AND AT LEAST HE OWNS HIS GREY HAIR, VINCE).
Mankind gives Shane a free chair-shot. Mankind goes down, and Shane starts calling himself the king of hardcore. Awesome. Mankind gets to his feet and sends Shane to the floor. They brawl all around the ringside area. They get back into the ring, but the Posse pull Mankind out and attack him. Test makes the save. GERALD BRISCO and PAT PATTERSON MAKE THE SAVE! Stephanie gets involved. Mankind gives Shane a double arm DDT and Mr. Socko. Chyna runs out and distracts the referee. Triple H hits Mankind with a steel chair, and Shane makes the cover: 1…2…3~!
Let the record show that Shane McMahon scored a pinfall victory over Mankind. Not quite as impressive as him beating up Randy Orton, Ted DiBiase and Cody Rhodes by himself, of course.
Part 4: The Chase!
Nothing screams Ayatollah of Rock N’ Rolla like a white Ford Taurus. I’d bet thirty bucks that Ralphus would’ve been able to get in the car with Jericho, but then again, it’s not fair to compare Finkel to such a legend.
Shamrock finally gets his hands on Finkel and what happens? Well, if Brock Lesnar makes people piss themselves then we know (through science) that Shamrock makes people crap themselves.
Ex-TNA champ Ken Shamrock yells at Howard Finkel until Fink poops his pants. #AttitudeEra
And so we end with a middle-aged man shitting himself. Thanks, Attitude Era!
Jericho jumps into a car. Finkel is carrying their bags. Jericho won’t wait for Finkel to get into the car, as Shamrock is hot on their tail! Shamrock grabs Finkel, but the future WWE Hall of Famer soils his pants. End scene.
If this isn’t the great fourteen minutes and nine seconds of wrestling television, I have no idea what is. I think Howard Finkel’s pants would agree with me.