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The Top 5 Most Brutal Last Man Standing Matches in WWE History

The Last Man Standing match is a litmus test for countless WWE Superstars; here are the matches that stand the test of time!

By Chris Phelan
Seth Rollins walking to the ring with his arms extended and a smile on his face

It's official: Seth Rollins and Shinsuke Nakamura will clash in a Last Man Standing match at Fastlane 2023 for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.

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It's been a while since the WWE Universe has witnessed a Last Man Standing match, so naturally, it got us thinking: What have been the most brutal matches of this type in WWE history – and which Superstars have been part of them? Amazingly enough, Seth Rollins has never competed in a Last Man Standing match at any point in his WWE career. This is an astonishing bit of trivia considering he has been a member of the WWE locker room for more than 13 years and counting. Fortunately, Rollins will have a Last Man Standing match under his belt come October 7 at Fastlane. 

But until then, here are our five favorite Last Man Standing matches in WWE history!

John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt – Payback 2014

We're kicking off this list of best Last Man Standing matches with a classic: John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt at Payback 2014. Although Cena has had countless experiences with the Last Man Standing match type, his unforgettable clash against Bray Wyatt will always stand out.

It must be said that ever since his death, Bray Wyatt's influence and lasting legacy have been acknowledged more and more throughout the WWE Universe – looking back, nearly all of Wyatt's contributions to the pro wrestling industry have been positive and long-lasting.

This chaotic bout nearly started as a full-out brawl between two warring factions. In the leadup to this match, John Cena called upon the Usos to have his back, knowing full well that the Wyatt Family would be at ringside. It resulted in a Last Man Standing match that went off the rails almost immediately – from the nonstop action to the relentless interference by Erick Rowan and Luke Harper, it was clear that Cena had an uphill battle against him. However, in true Cena fashion, he overcame the odds, defeating Bray Wyatt thanks to an unbelievable Attitude Adjustment through a storage container at ringside!

Shane McMahon vs. The Big Show – Backlash 2001

For fans of jaw-dropping, dangerous moments, Backlash 2001 had all you could want – and more. Shane McMahon took the Last Man Standing concept to new heights – literally – in his victory over The Big Show. While the majority of the match itself was somewhat typical David vs. Goliath fare (Shane McMahon was overmatched nearly to a helpless degree throughout the first half of the bout), it's the ending that will live on as one of the craziest moments in the history of professional wrestling.

After being chased up the entranceway scaffolding by The Big Show, Shane McMahon realized there was only one way down: the hard way. Shane did what he made a career out of doing – jumping off remarkably tall things. Estimated at 35-40 feet in the air, Shane launched himself off the scaffolding to a prone Big Show, and with the help of his ally, Test, he emerged as the surprising victor in this grudge match. 

Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair – Evolution 2018

At Evolution 2018, Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair proved that women can take the Last Man Standing match and put their own unique spin on it. WWE Evolution 2018 was the first all-female pay-per-view in WWE history, and both Superstars proved women can easily steal the show as well as men can!

By the match's end, some wrestling historians and prominent fans had already declared it the greatest Last Man Standing match ever – regardless of the gender of the participants. It had everything the WWE Universe could want: Brutality, athleticism, storytelling, and undeniable drama from beginning to end. Becky Lynch stood tall in the end, winning after a particularly devastating powerbomb from the ring apron through a table on the outside. Many in the WWE Universe consider this match to be the ultimate coronation of Becky Lynch – her performance cemented her as "The Man" and proved to fans worldwide that she deserved to be mentioned in the same breath as Superstars like Charlotte Flair. 

Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar – SummerSlam 2022

You can't mention iconic Last Man Standing matches without including perhaps the wildest spectacle in WWE history – Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar's unforgettable clash at SummerSlam 2022. Both Superstars took the match concept to new heights by sheer force of will. Lesnar set the stage early by driving a tractor to the ring, and both competitors utilized the farm equipment in ways the WWE Universe had never seen before, even going as far as using the tractor to physically lift the ring off the ground!

Before SummerSlam 2022, the WWE Universe had a pretty good idea of what to expect during Last Man Standing matches – until Reigns and Lesnar took their expectations and threw them out the window (and ran them over with a tractor for good measure). As a result, every Last Man Standing match since has had an extra layer of unpredictability attached to it. 

AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura – Money in the Bank 2018

Throughout this 30-minute war, AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura pulled out every move in their arsenal – it took a never-before-seen Phenomenal Forearm through a ringside table to ultimately secure victory for Styles and keep the WWE Championship around his waist. However, re-watching this match has the benefit of hindsight – we're seriously re-evaluating Seth Rollins' chances of winning at Fastlane because we're sure Nakamura won't make the same mistakes twice.

Nakamura has an undeniable edge ahead of their October 7 showdown – he's competed in a Last Man Standing match before, and Seth Rollins has not. You can't fake experience, and Rollins will be competing in a match entirely foreign to him. On the other hand, Nakamura has been battle-tested in this type of contest before. When you factor in the champion's chronically injured back, you'd have to consider Rollins as the underdog at Fastlane!

You can tune in to Peacock to watch WWE's Fastlane on October 7. In the meantime, catch up on all things WWE Universe on Peacock.

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