25th July 1999, Buffalo NY.
Blood, claret, the red stuff. The entire build up to Fully Loaded 1999 seems to be obsessed with it. Steve Austin has signed up for a First Blood match with The Undertaker tonight. If Austin bleeds first then he’ll never challenge for the WWF Title ever again. If The Undertaker gains crimson first then Vince McMahon will be gone from WWF television. Matters are complicated somewhat during Sunday Night Heat when The Undertaker attacks Austin during his interview with Jim Ross. This beat down makes Austin bleed already and medical crews are shown telling The Texas Rattlesnake that he will need stitches.
Michael Cole is with Vince and Shane McMahon and suggest that, due to him grinning about it so much, Vince might be in on all this. Shane says he has no basis for these allegations whilst Vince ‘guarantees Stone Cold will never be WWF Champion again’.
Edge is Intercontinental Champion as of 24 hours before this show. Last night in Toronto it was supposed to be Jeff Jarrett versus Ken Shamrock but Shamrock had travel problems so Edge stepped in at the last minute and went and won the thing. Tonight Jarrett gets his rematch as he walks to the ring alongside Debra.
Once again Debra is wearing next to nothing, once again Lawler won’t shut up about it and once again it destroys another match in the process. After a little bit of chain wrestling Edge gets two counts with both a Backslide and a Sunset Flip from the top rope. Jarrett takes this as his cue to pick up the belt, shout about how it’s rightfully his and take off down the aisle. Edge manages to catch him though.
“I love beavers and puppies” screams Lawler as Edge gets another two count with a Fisherman Suplex. A few seconds later Edge lands awkwardly a tweaks his knee. Jarrett guns straight for it. Not long after this Edge misjudges a dive and hits his shoulder off the ring post. Jarrett forgets all about the knee and works that instead.
The Brood are apparently done as Jim Ross mentions of commentary that Gangrel wanted to cut the weak link from the group. There was only the both of them and Christian in the Brood so he can’t have been spoiled for choice.
Edge’s Spear attempt in dodged by Jarrett leaving the former Brood member flipping over the ropes to the arena floor. The lights go out and when they go back on a few minutes later Gangrel is on the floor next to a pool of blood with Edge standing tall over him. Edge goes on a whirlwind in the ring getting about three near falls in quick succession. The Spear then connects at last but Debra is up on the apron as soon as Jarrett hits the deck. As Edge faces her Jarrett shoves him, Debra is knocked off the apron and Gangrel comes back out of nowhere to punch Edge. Jarrett then sneaks in a pinfall and becomes the IC champion once again. Jarrett is on the mic saying that he’s the greatest champion ever until Stone Cold flies down the aisle, gets in the ring and Stunners him.
The reason for this unexpected appearance? Austin says he’s going to find Undertaker and make him bleed too.
‘Acolytes Rules’seems to be putting yourself at a disadvantage in a tag team title match. The Hardy Boys are champions will team with Michael Hayes to defend the titles against The Acolytes. When interviewed before the match Hayes says he ‘leads by example’.
Jeff and Matt dump the the belts in the aisle and run down to the ring before all five men clash on the arena floor. Michael Hayes ends up spending a lot of the early going just swinging kicks around. A Jeff Hardy Senton Bomb, soon to be his finisher, only gets a two count on Farooq. Farooq returns the favour with a Powerbomb that nearly has Jeff down if it weren’t for Matt diving in to make the save. Bradshaw gets a Clothesline From Hell in on Matt soon afterwards. Michael Hayes sneaks his cane in to be used as a weapon and Jeff does with enthusiasm yet he only gets a two count out of it.
Last month Jeff was taken out in mid air by an Edge Spear and this time around a very similar thing happens when Jeff leaps into the air only to have Bradshaw welt him square on with another Clothesline. It looks pretty brutal.
With Hayes being added to the match, the titles being on the line and him ‘leading by example’ then it was pretty much signposted that he would be taking the pinfall. In all honesty it’s the best way forward as it’s perfectly plausible, doesn’t damage either Hardy Boy and means they can ditch Hayes and go after another title run without him. The Acolytes get the Spike Powerbomb in on the former Freebird and pin him for the win. Bradshaw and Farooq are the new WWF Tag Team Champions.
D’Lo Brown is back! I’d actually forgotten he’d gone away but he’s challenging Mideon for the European Title tonight. We fallen a bit since The British Bulldog and SHawn Michaels fought over this belt only two years ago. Mideon has apparently found the title in Shane McMahon’s luggage. People give WCW a lot of grief for HAcksaw Jim Duggan finding the WCW Television Title in a skip but here’s the WWF doing it first over a year beforehand.
One thing to point out before this match starts is the guy holding a sign in full view that says he’s here ‘to wip Stone Cold’s ass’. Does he mean ‘Whip’? Or possibly ‘Wipe’?
Mideon takes control in the early going by hurling D’Lo into the steps and hitting him with a Gut Wrench Powerbomb once they’re back in the ring. D’Lo soon gets a Sunset Flip in for a two count though which is quickly followed by a Tornado DDT. Mideon never really gets back into this and falls victim to a Lo Down and a three count. D’Lo is European Champion once again and we can look forward to him announcing he’s from Bruges very soon.
Michael Cole is backstage with Al Snow and Head seems to have had a spike driven through her forehead. “He’s gonna make it stop ain’t he?” asks Snow of a clueless Cole. Jerry Lawler once again shows his compassion for all mental health needs by saying that Al Snow “needs to be decapitated or something”. Tonight it’s Al Snow versus The Big Bossman for the Hardcore Title. If you weren’t sick of seeing Al Snow fighting in a car park now you soon will be.
The match leaves the ring quickly. A catering tray is whacked off Bossman’s head before he’s suplexed through a nearby table. Al Snow plucks a house plant from the pot and smacks Bossman over the skull with it. There’s a bit of unintentional comedy when Al Snow is leaning against a metal door and The Bossman jumps into a nearby electric cart with the obvious intention of driving it forwards to prop him against it. The cart doesn’t start so they have to give up on that spot fairly quickly.
They move out to the street and somebody nearly runs them both over as they cross over the road. Before long Bossman handcuffs Al Snow to a metal fence and holds his boot against his chest on this vertical surface. For whatever reason this seems to count as a pinfall and The Bossman becomes the new Hardcore Champion. There’s been a heck of a lot of title changes tonight so far.
Hardcore Holly, complete with striped ref’s shirt, is with Kevin Kelly backstage. He’s the guest referee for the upcoming Kane versus Big Show match. Upon being asked if either man might take offence to any calls against them Holly says they better not or he’ll ‘beat the hell outta both of them’.
It’s becoming obvious watching these pay per views that the WWF had zero of an idea what to do with Big Show/ Paul Wight/ The Giant/ Son of Andre. He’s helped Stone Cold win during his debut, then he turned on McMahon now he’s back as a heel to face Kane tonight. They seem to be throwing everything at him to see what sticks and at the moment nothing is.
This match is a dirge and is performed at a plodding pace. I wasn’t expecting Moonsaults from the corner to the outside but it’s still a hard watch. Big Show starts with clubbing forearms, headbutts and a couple of Irish Whips into the corner. Kane responds with a DDT and (in the most impressive moment of the match) a Top Rope Clothesline. THe Big Red Machine goes for a Chokeslam only to have Hardcore Holly suddenly chop block his knee. Big Show gets a chokeslam of his own and Holly does the fastest three count ever to give him the win. X-Pac runs down to the ring to help Kane but then Undertaker arrives from out of nowhere to take the side of Big Show. A brawl begins which The Undertaker eventually escapes from. He’s still looking back down the aisle even when he’s about to go through the curtain which is a huge mistake as Stone Cold is hiding behind the curtain. Austin smashes Undertaker into the wall and he bleeds from his forehead. The odds have been evened for the main event.
It’s great that the WWF have deemed it fit to sign two guys with MMA backgrounds and they would always seem to have been destined to fight each other eventually. Maybe it wasn’t going to be in a car park surrounded by people sitting on bonnets though?They call it ‘Iron Circle’ but I’d call it ‘Closing Time At Weatherspoons’. All I can really do is give you a direct copy of my notes taken whilst watching this.
‘Punchy, punchy on cars
Blackman gets a chain
Tyre iron but no waffles
Shamrock chokes Blackman out with chain’.
Terry Taylor is with a heavily bleeding Undertaker. According to The Phenom ‘the most dangerous animal is a wounded one’.
We’ve seen a fair few legal disputes settled in wrestling matches in the last couple of months. Last month saw Stone Cold battle both Shane and Vince McMahon for ownership of the WWF and tonight we see a fight over the rights to the name ‘Degeneration X’ between the team of Mr Ass and Chyna going up against X-Pac and Road Dogg. Mr Ass Billy Gunn seems to have turned up with matching ring gear alongside Chyna complete with thong. Road Dogg, for the first time in a while, has a purpose for his ‘Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls’ speech at the start. He tells the production crew to ‘cut our music’ whilst pointing towards X-Pac. It’s a great touch.
The rumour mill has it that Chyna was pushing for main event status backstage at this time. The idea was that she could challenge Stone Cold for the WWF title at Summerslam 99 but this was quickly shot down. Whilst Chyna is indeed athletic and certainly something unique she hasn’t got the ability or the crowd connection to headline a pay per view. Witness here where, everytime she’s tagged in, the crowd fall silent. Most of Chyna’s offence around this time was punches, headlocks and the occasional body slam.
Road Dogg takes the battering at the start of the match as he goes up against his former tag partner in The New Age Outlaws. J.R questions if X-Pac has a concussion after being Chokeslammed by The Undertaker earlier. He does spend a long time on the apron during this match. Road Dogg finally gets a boot up on a Billy Gunn aerial attack which allows X-Pac in who goes crazy until he gets hung up on the ropes. Chyna tries a Handspring Elbow with X-Pac in the corner but she’s about a metre away when she does the final flip so X-Pac Clotheslines her to save her the embarrassment.
Eventually X-Pac gets the Bronco Buster on Chyna and Road Dogg pins Mr Ass after a Pumphandle Slam. The rights to the DX name are with Road Dogg and X-Pac until Shawn Michaels and Triple H want them back in 2006. The crowd seem very into it and J.R reminds everybody at home that if you buy a DX shirt now then you’re supporting the good guys. Get your wallets out folks.
I really hate Strap Matches, the stipulation just seems like a limitation rather than an enhancement as both combatants stumble around the ring. There’s also the rule of having to touch each corner to win which usually just results in a piggyback. The Rock versus Triple H tonight seems to not bother with any of that as it’s pretty much a No DQ match with a bit of leather. The winner will face the WWF champion at Summerslam next month.
The Rock doesn’t even bother with the strap initially as he wails on Triple H in the aisle. Triple H is pulled into the ring post and The Rock grabs a camera from a woman in the front row, takes a picture and tosses it back at her. The fight goes off in to the crowd as The Rock is hurled into the guard railing. “Triple H claims he’s being held down by the office” says J.R in a statement that’s hilarious in retrospect.
There are near falls for both men back in the ring as Chyna walks down the aisle. As she argues with the ref The Rock downs Triple H with a Rock Bottom. The cover isn’t noticed though and Triple H kicks out after about seven seconds. Both men are down and the ref begins the ten count. This confuses J.R greatly as he rightly points out it’s a No DQ match. At this point Triple H ditches the strap from his wrist completely and continues regardless. Mr Ass runs down and clubs The Rock with a large stick but the following cover only gets a two. The Rock gets a pin attempt after a People’s Elbow but Mr Ass hauls him away. The Rock is open to The Pedigree and is pinned for three. Triple H is going to main event Summerslam.
“This match won’t be stopped at a mere trickle” says Vince McMahon as he hobbled down to the commentary desk for the main event. His commentary is a highlight of the evening as is the camera cutting back to his worried face as he considers never being on WWF TV again.
The match itself? Well the strap match was hampered by the stipulation and I’d argue this is too. With both men having wounds already it seems like half an hour of two men thumbing each others foreheads. The wild brawl starts in the aisle before spilling out to the crowd (much like the strap match). Undertaker soon grabs chair but Stine Cold Droptoe Holds him into the ring steps. The Undertaker bumps into the ref knocking him flying but gets caught in the ropes for his troubles. As Vince sweats at ringside Austin goes off to grab a chair and victory looks definite. Shane comes running down but Austin welts him with the chair instead. Undertaker escapes from his tangle and boots Austin in the crotch.
Vince bolts up from the commentary desk and tries to attack Austin with his crutch. X-Pac storms the ring and attacks Undertaker in retribution for earlier. With the ref still out Austin grabs a TV camera and welts Undertaker across the head with it. As Undertaker tries to haul Austin up for a Tombstone the ref wakes up in time to notice him bleeding and calls the match in Austin’s favour. Vince sinks to the mat and begins to cry as Stone Cold and The Undertaker continue to knock lumps out of each other. Eventually Stone Cold bleeds as well but he still has enough in the tank to Stunner Vince twice. Undertaker also punches Shane as McMahon Junior tries to console him. “Austin is WWF champion and Vince is gone” screams J..R as the show goes off air. It’s been a scrappy end to a show that went at one hundred miles per hour and forgot about details. Austin by now has settled into a groove with his main events matches but his various injuries are soon going to catch up with him. The Undertaker meanwhile will spin off to other things, mainly operation ‘Get Big Show over’.
Tune in next time when Jesse Ventura comes back to the WWF for the first time since falling out with Vince over video games.