April 25th 1999, Providence, Rhode Island
“Nothing of any consequence is ever black and white” says the intro video to this PPV. It’s talking about the current feud between Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock but I couldn’t help but feel it’s a little dig at the NWO over in WCW who, by now, were very much starting to wain.
As part of this project I’ve only been watching the PPV shows and not the episodes of Raw in between. On occasion this means I’ve missed some important details, none more so than Backlash 1999’s set up. Firstly Shane seems to be in charge of everything, he’s also made sure he’s the guest referee for the Rock and Austin main event tonight, The Ministry seem to be the biggest heel faction in the WWF right now and The Brood seem to have annoyed the Undertaker and got kicked out of aforementioned evil faction.
With all that out of the way…
The Brood’s music hit and all Edge, Christian and Gangrel walk down the aisle to kick off the show. A video package is shown of Christian blabbing to the Corporation on the whereabouts of Stephanie McMahon (I wonder if she’ll have anything to do on TV going forward) to put him in Undertaker’s bad books and Edge and Gangrel saving him from the beating that followed. To be honest, apart from a brief shot of the three of them attending an Undertaker led sermon at Valentine’s Day Massacre, there wasn’t much evidence on PPV that The Brood were ever really in the Ministry to begin with. To enact some kind of revenge they go up against Mideon and The Acolytes in this opening six man tag.
Christian and Mideon start out as the former manages to get a really good looking Spinning Heel Kick in. Gangrel follows but so does Bradshaw who wallops the vampiric one with a huge Big Boot. Edge and Christian get a Double Suplex in on Bradshaw not long afterwards. Then however it all goes downhill for Edge as he falls victim to a Delayed Suplex from Mideon and a Spinebuster/Diving Headbutt combo from Farooq. On commentary Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler talk about how The Undertaker promised there would be a significant event later on tonight.
Edge seems to have been the legal man for his team for about two years now as he absorbs even more punishment. Eventually Christian manages to get in and gets a good looking Tornado DDT on Bradshaw. The match then breaks out into chaos and whilst Christian is on the outside he’s blindsided by Viscera who splashed him against the apron. After being rolled back in the ring Christian falls victim to a Clothesline From Hell from Bradshaw and The Ministry pick up the victory. It’s a fair opener that seems intent on setting up future events rather than settling scores tonight.
The Rock has arrived and he’s dragging ‘The Smoking Skull’ title belt along the floor. I had to Google what a Smoking Skull title was.
Before all that though here are Hardcore (Bob) Holly and Al Snow to once again do battle over the Hardcore Title. Strange thing in the opener here is that Lawler suggested Al Snow is crazy for even wanting the Hardcore belt as if it’s some kind of sexually transmitted disease or something. Essentially it seems like the Hardcore title is for idiots who can’t get anywhere else. Thanks for that one Jerry!
A couple of months ago these two ended up in a river as part of their match and we almost get the same thing here as they leave the ring fairly quickly. Al Snow is rammed into a barricade and bleeds heavily. Snow does get an impressive moonsault off the barrier onto a prone Holly at ringside though. There are then the traditional hockey sticks and cookie trays. “Why do people leave cooking utensils under a wrestling ring?” asks Lawler to which J.\R can only reply with ‘I have no godly idea”‘.
Both men fight backstage as Holly brings a literal kitchen sink but doesn’t get to use it was Al Snow fires a water jet at him. They then decide to start belting each other off car bonnets. This match, I would imagine, is where they got the idea for the backstage sections of Smackdown on the Playstation 1.
They fight in the production truck outside, on the bins and around the car park before going back into the arena. After clocking Holly with a frying pan Snow motions that he won’t pin him. Instead he wants to use the table that they set up before they left. Not long after this both men crash through the table after a Superplex from the top rope. The referee starts to count both men but J.R points out it’s a hardcore match and this therefore shouldn’t apply. Al Snow grabs Head who has been patiently waiting in the corner all match, welts it over Holly’s skull and pins him for three. This match felt like it went on that little bit too long and the ending maybe should have been the Superflex though the table.
The Undertaker is backstage talking to members of his Ministry. They seem a lot less in number than even last month.
The Godfather is the Intercontinental Champion on this night and he’s up next to defend the title against Goldust. Godfather is actually booed because he doesn’t have his female friends with him initially. Blue Meanie is once again with Goldust and manages to distract Godfather so Goldust can attack straight away. Godfather just about manages to fight and Goldust takes a walk down the aisle only to be reminded by Meanie that this is for the title.
Not long into this match Goldust reaches for a pack of powder and, with the referee distracted, tries to throw it in Godfather’s face. Sadly for him Godfather kicks him and the powder goes in his own eyes. Goldust spends the rest of the match blind resulting in him attacking Meanie. In this confusion Godfather gets the Death Valley Driver in for the winning three count.
Michael Cole interviews Al Snow who is sitting on the men’s toilet floor. Al Snow calls him ‘Todd’ which is either a fantastic joke or a bizarre mistake.
Next up is a Number One Contender match for the WWF Tag Team Championship between The New Age Outlaws and Jeff Jarrett alongside Owen Hart. As usual Jeff is accompanied to the ring by Debra who, judging by her mode of dress this evening, we can only assume waxes very carefully.
Managers, in my book, are supposed to add to a match not detract from it. From the opening bell this entire match is underlined by the fact that Jerry Lawler is droning on about ‘Puppies’ and the crowd seem to be chanting for them as well. There’s a match going on but it’s Debra’s chest everybody seems concerned about.
Owen and Gunn start with Mr Ass getting a fine looking Dropkick in. Not long after Jeff Jarrett crowns Road Dogg with a Swinging Neckbreaker. The crowd chant “Show Your Puppies”.Jeff and Road Dogg collide in mid air as they both go for Crossbody. Billy Gunn gets a Running Powerslam on Jeff later but Jeff breaks up the pinfall attempt. With Debra up on the apron Road Dogg does the Pump Handle Slam to Owen but this time Jeff breaks the pinfall. Owen later has Road Dogg in the Sharpshooter but it gives Billy Gunn the chance to leap with the Fameasser and pin Owen for three. The New Age Outlaws will go on to face X-Pac and Kane for the titles. Jeff argues with Debra on the outside so for the second time in a row on PPV a team has lost because of those pesky women.
Michael Cole is backstage with Shane McMahon. After being compared to Vince, Shane belts out the line “Do I look like Vince McMahon?”. Well you do Shane, that’s how genetics work.
Kevin Kelly is with Vince and Stephanie as Vince proclaims that Shane ‘made a big mistake on Monday Night Raw and might be making another tonight”.
The Big Show is two months into his WWF career and he’s already being put in a Boiler Room Brawl with Mankind. It’s mentioned how Mankind has never lost this type of match but I’m pretty sure Summerslam 1996 was the only other one prior to this. Also, this room is bloody huge for a boiler room. As opposed to Summerslam when the winner was the first to make it back down the aisle and into the ring this competition ends with somebody just escaping the room.
The entire thing is organised chaos as Mankind firstly tires to shut Big Show in an electrical cupboard. Mankind then starts hurling boards over Big Show’s head which shatter in a rather satisfactory manner. Big Show slings Mankind into a nearby shopping trolley and wheels him into a pile of tables. Mankind climbs up a ladder only to be dumped through sheets of glass. Both men bleed as Big Show is firstly showered in hot steam and then buried under piles of pipes. Mankind reaches the exit first but it attacked by The Big Bossman and Test. Whilst Big Show chases off Bossman a recovering Mankind introduces Test to Mr Socko.
Michael Cole is backstage with Chyna and Triple H. Hunter says made X-Pac’s ass so tonight he’s going to break it.
Big Show is shown getting medical treatment which includes a doctor poking a dislocated finger as hard as he possibly can.
Mankind is seen wandering around the Boiler Room area lamenting the violence he’s just been a part of. “I don’t want to fight The Big Show any more, I’ve got kids” he says preempting Heath Slater by at least 15 years.
X-Pac walks down the aisle for his match against the newly turned Triple H. Despite being tag team champions alongside Kane it would seem X-Pac is on his own initially. Triple H arrives with Chyna to theme music we can only really file under ‘Before Lemmy Said Yes’.
Both men go straight to it and the action spills outside the ring. Triple H is thrown into the ring steps but manages to take control back in the ring a few moments later. Eventually Triple H starts to work on X-Pac’s neck and a lot is made on commentary about how X-Pac had to come back from a serious neck injury before. Triple H drops knees into a prone X-Pac’s head. Chyna also gets as many sneak attacks in as she can. “I have a mind to ring the bell myself” says J.R putting across how much punishment X-Pac is absorbing
The match slows right down when Triple H applies a Sleeperhold. X-Pac manages to reverse it and mounts a small comeback but it ends when Triple H drags the referee in the way of a Baseball Slide. X-Pac gets an X-Factor in but there’s nobody to count. Chyna enters the ring and Low Blows X-Pac. Only now does Kane deem it fit to enter the arena as he stomps down, delivers chokeslams to both former DX members and leaves them both prone in positions for the Bronco Buster. The Big Read Machine then leaves which makes the ending all the more baffling.
A Bronco to Triple H and then another to Chyna but in those seconds Triple H recovers and goes straight to a Pedigree to X-Pac for a winning three count. Why did Kane leave? We may never know.
Ken Shamrock appears to be intent on breaking Undertaker’s leg as he stomps down to the ring representing Vince’s side of the Corporation. The Undertaker has Paul Bearer by his side. This match is…a difficult watch. It’s not because it’s a bad match but more the fact that The Undertaker has proven in the past that he’s much more than a lumbering zombie wrestler. His match against Bret Hart at Summerslam 97 is a brilliant example of this. When he wrestles Ken Shamrock, a man who spends the entire match trying to apply submission holds, it means he has to slow everything right down. The result is a bout that never truly catches fire.
The Undertaker gets Old School really early. It’s followed up by a Flying Clothesline that rocks Shamrock. Control switches once Undertaker crotches himself on the ropes and Shamrock uses this to twist the knee and ankle. Shamrock applies a Grapevine which seems to last about fifteen minutes. The crowd entertain themselves by chanting “We want Ryan” in reference to Shamrock’s on screen sister. She does not play any part in tonight’s show. Later it goes down to “Boring” chants.
Undertaker seems to make the referee cack himself just by staring at him. Shamrock has spent so long working Undertaker’s leg that he goes for…an Arm Bar. Shamrock then manages to roll through a Leg Drop attempt into a Knee Bar. Undertaker flips it round into a Half Crab. After a Running Shoulder Barge to Undertaker’s legs the moment is ripe for the Ankle Lock. It’s not long applied when Bradshaw appears with a baseball bat. Shamrock does reverse a Chokeslam into another Arm Bar but quickly falls victim to a Tombstone and a pinfall. After the match The Undertaker nods to Bradshaw as if to give him permission to batter Shamrock and he does so with a crunchy Powerbomb.
There’s a video package shown now that clears up my earlier confusion regarding the Smoking Skull Belt. Austin is the Champion and has the usual, WWF title belt but the Corporation have the Smoking Skull title Austin had made around a year before. Austin is so angered by this that it’s become the actual prize. The rest of the video is essentially Austin in a nutshell. There’s finger salutes, throwing title belts into rivers and driving over The Rock’s car in a monster truck.
Vince is seen making sure Stephanie is safe in the limo so that they can make an exit after the show. The car is surrounded by police officers who tell Vince that she’ll be watched at all times.
Shane walks down the aisle with his ref shirt on, The Rock calmly walks down wearing The Smoking Skull belt and Austin has that Rattkesnake glare on again. This is another Austin brawl but they’re usually the best kind.
We’re straight off to the races as both men go for punches right away. After an Austin Lou Thesz Press and a Rock Neckbreaker the match goes off down the aisle. The Rock smacks Austin with a fire extinguisher and then flings him into the wire fence that makes up part of the walkway. Austin suplexes The Rock onto the concrete floor and fires him into the other half of the fence. “The Walls of Jericho are tumbling down” screams J.R in a stunning moment of foresight.
Shane shoves Austin in an attempt to goad him into an act that would lose him the match and the title. The Rattlesnake doesn’t bite on this occasion. After a Rock Bottom through the announce table The Rock grabs a headset and starts to do his own commentary. Before long he has a camera and films a prone Austin, turns it towards the crowd and goes back to see Austin giving him two fingers in the lens. The Rock manages to sell a Stunner through a table whilst having hundreds of dollars worth of camera equipment on his shoulder. That man will go far.
This act also, mercifully, knocks out Jerry Lawler’s audio for a while.
The Rock dives under an Austin lunge meaning Stone Cold bumps into Shane. There is a moment when the younger McMahon obviously considers ending it there. There’s another Rock Bottom and Shane drags The Rock’s limp arm over Austin and begins his count. He only gets a two. Shane gets the title belt from the timekeeper and goes to clock Austin, he misses and hits The Rock instead. Austin covers him, Shane gets ready to hit the mat.
There’s a one.
There’s a two.
But then Shane gives two fingers to Austin and leaves the ring. Whilst Shane jaws with Austin from the aisle Vince walks past him carrying the Smoking Skull belt. As Shane takes out his anger verbally at his Dad, Vince hits him in the head with the belt. “That’s his own son god dammit!” bellows J.R. Austin gives The Rock another Stunner and the replacement referee counts the three. Vince then throws The Smoking Skull Belt in the ring for Austin to pick up after all his beer cans.
Meanwhile though The Ministry gather around the limo that Stephanie is in. The police officers instruct the driver to move off. The camera moves to the inside of the car where a worried Stephanie asks the driver to stop as her Dad has yet to make it back. The divider comes down to reveal The Undertaker in the front seat. Vince is too busy in the arena to notice his daughter is being kidnapped.
Backlash 99 suffers a little from having three matches that go outside the ring and beyond as it does feel a bit overkill. The tag team number one contender’s match is also completely overshadowed by Debra and the I.C title match seems a bit if a waste but the main event and the continued Ministry storyline make up for it.
Next time around we’ll be off to a show I had no real desire to go through as soon as I thought about doing this project.