By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Here on WrestleMania Recall, I will be ranking my top 31 favorite matches in WWE WrestleMania history. A new installment will be posted every day in the month of March, culminating with my No. 1 favorite match on Thursday, March 31st, mere days before WrestleMania 32. Each article will offer an in-depth look at each match and an analysis of why it is among my favorites.
I might get some heat from fans for saying this, but of the many WrestleManias I plan on re-watching in the weeks leading up to WrestleMania 32, WrestleMania 17 will not be among them. Yes, I'm well-aware that it is regarded as the most epic installment of all-time and I'm not disputing that claim by any means. It is an extremely entertaining event, even for someone like me who hardly watches Attitude Era content on the WWE Network, but it isn't one of my favorites. That said, if there is any one match from that show that is worth watching again, it's the Street Fight between Mr. McMahon and Shane McMahon.
The McMahon family drama was the focal point of WWE programming for the better part of the Attitude Era. Hell, it still is to this day! And as tiresome as it was at times, they still managed to make magic when it mattered most, i.e. at WrestleMania. Going into WrestleMania 17, Shane was ready to step up to his father and fight him in a one-on-one match, but not in any ordinary match. The stipulation was that there would be no count-outs and no disqualifications, and those were the matches that Shane tended to thrive in. Despite neither of them being technically trained wrestlers, they contested a match worthy of cracking my list of favorite WrestleMania matches simply because it was so damn fun.
This "match," however, was about much more than just the bad blood between Vince and Shane. And I put "match" in quotation marks because it'd be a stretch to call it such when in reality it was a beautifully constructed angle, storytelling at its finest. To some, it may have been an overbooked mess, but to me, it was a masterpiece. Remember, it was only days earlier that Shane bought World Championship Wrestling, but a brand vs. brand rivalry was the last thing on everyone's mind at that time. In fact, that was hardly even a factor in this contest.
Other than Shane attempting to emancipate himself from his father, you had Stephanie backing Vince as well as Trish Stratus, who Vince was cheating on the paralyzed Linda with. She was also present at ringside for this brutal battle. Meanwhile, Mick Foley served as the special guest referee, wanting to be unbiased in his family affair. Got all that? It's important to keep that in mind while watching this match unfold on the grand stage.
Of course, it wouldn't be a Shane McMahon match without Shane O'Mac taking an insane risk. The crowd came to their feet as he ascended to the top turnbuckle and prepared to hit a flying elbow to Vince through a commentary table at ringside, but in what could be described as an almost ironic poetic justice, Stephanie stood in his way. Shane said to hell with it and jumped anyway, but before he could make contact, Stephanie pulled her dad out of harm's way, leaving Shane to crash through the table and take himself out of the equation for the time being.
From there, Trish rolled Linda in her wheelchair down to ringside, but instead of aiding Vince, she slapped him across the face and brawled with Stephanie up the ramp. With them gone, Foley was en route to bringing Linda to the backstage area when Vince clobbered him from behind with a steel chair. It was then that an oh so evil idea popped into his head: why not punish his son while his wife looked on helplessly? He carried Linda's limp body into the ring, propped her in the corner on a chair and got ready to dish out the beating of a lifetime on Shane.
Out of nowhere, Linda rose to her feet, and the Astrodome came unglued. Vince turned around with a shocked look on his face, but before he could react, Linda delivered a well-deserved low blow to her husband, allowing Foley to take advantage with a few punches and kicks of his own. Shane finished him off with an aesthetically appealing Coast to Coast (with a garbage can, might I add) in the corner to secure the victory and vengeance. For a match that really wasn't a match at all, it essentially summed up what made the Attitude Era and its spectacular storytelling such a thrill.
SEE ALSO: "WrestleMania Recall, Match #28: The Rock vs. Hulk Hogan, WrestleMania 18"