August 22nd 1999. Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The Triple H rise begins here. For the first time in his WWF career the former Degeneration X frontman will main event a PPV tonight. The years of him viciously defending his top spot officially begin at 1999’s Summerslam but, for all the black marks against his record after this, the WWF really needed new main event stars around this time. Both Undertaker and Austin are about to take extended time off to resolve niggling injuries. Signing The Giant from WCW hasn’t really worked out, both Kurt Angle and Chris Jericho have yet to get up to speed and The Radicals haven’t quite packed their cases in Atlanta. To get the WWF through the last few months of the millennium and onwards to a 2000 that would truly put WCW to bed they had to promote The Rock and Triple H.
After an opening promo package detailing the Vince versus Austin rivalry to date we see Jesse ‘The Body’ Ventura arguing with Chyna and Triple H. The Governor of Minnesota is the enforcer for the main event tonight. He tells Triple H that any rule breaking will result ‘in you not walking away with that Championship’.
As a contrast the next segment is Chris Jericho who arrives with Howard Finkel carrying the bags. Y2J calls him ‘Harold’ through the whole thing. The delusional goofball version of Jericho has landed and we’ll get more of him later.
You start to see patterns when watching all these shows in sequence. Here’s Jeff Jarrett again, with Debra again, with Lawler shouting about ‘Puppies’ again. It’s a match versus D’Lo Brown for both the European and Intercontinental belts. Jarrett tells Debra to go to the back which draws some heat from the crowd. Upon getting past the curtain she finds D’Lo and walks down the aisle with him instead.
“They’re not cheering D’Lo, they’re cheering puppies” squeals Lawler which underlines my problem with this match. Jarrett jumps D’Lo from the off but D’Lo fights back with a Flying Forearm and a Running Powerbomb. Jarrett Irish Whips D’Lo to the outside and Baseball Slides him under the bottom rope. Later D’Lo gets a Legdrop in for a two count. He also tries a Senton but Jarrett moves.
D’Lo’s running buddy Mark Henry appears whilst Jarrett argues with Debra. Henry picks up Jarrett’s guitar and beats D’Lo with it behind the ref’s back. Jarrett turns around to pin D’Lo and walk off with both titles over his shoulder and Debra on his arm. First match in and a betrayal already.
Edge and Christian are with Michael Cole to explain why they left Gangrel. “We were tired of his life and we outgrew him” says Christian. Gangrel himself is with The Hardy Boys tonight but we’ll see if that’s an advance over Michael Hayes.
This is a Tag Team Turmoil match which means the losing team departs the ring and is replaced by another. There are six teams in total and the winner gets a shot at the champions on Raw tomorrow night. This seems slightly backwards as they’re hyping a match on a PPV that you can watch for free tomorrow night.
Christian begins the match with a great looking Heel Kick to Matt. He follows this up with a Springboard Moonsault. Jeff connects with the Senton Bomb to Christian but Edge breaks up the pin. Edge runs around the top of the railings to meet Jeff coming the other way with a spear. The tradition of Edge knocking Jeff out of midair continues. Christian pins Matt after a Top Rope Elbow. It’s a fast paced match from two teams with great chemistry.
Slowing it right down though is the introduction of Viscera and Mideon. There’s an impressive moment when Viscera Heel Kicks Edge but that’s the only one. Viscera accidentally hits Mideon with a Splash and he falls victim to a Spear from Edge.
Droz and Albert wander down. Droz had an extremely short wrestling career due to his injury in a match later in 1999 and that’s a true shame as he looks really good here. He certainly impresses in the limited time he has on this show, his first appearance in the PPV Project. Albert and Droz work really well together until Christian chop blocks Albert’s feet out from under him whilst he Press Slams Edge. It results in him falling to a Downward Spiral soon afterwards.
Next up come The Acolytes. Edge gets a Swinging Neckbreaker on Bradshaw but Farooq soon responds with a Spinebuster that looks like it would clean many clocks. Christian does a Tornado DDT on Bradshaw for 2.
It’s at this moment somebody stuffs a cue because Crash and Hardcore Holly appear suddenly almost like they think the match is won. J.R announces them as the next team so they have to hang around outside for Bradshaw to deliver the Clothesline From Hell that dispatches Edge and Christian.
Most of the match here is Crash and Hardcore blind tagging each other and eventually falling out completely. Hardcore punches crash out of the ring leaving him alone to suffer a Slinebuster from Farooq. The Acolytes will face the winners of the tag title match on Raw tomorrow which could mean facing The Undertaker.
Speaking of the Dead Man he’s seen backstage walking into the locker room with Big Show. Al Snow has a dog it seems and it’s a tiny thing called Pepper. He talls to it in the same way he used to talk to Head.
Usually, when the WWF signed anybody from WCW, they couldn’t wait to put them in a match on PPV. It’s unusual here then that Chris Jericho only cuts a promo on Road Dogg from a crane at the side of the stage. He talks about how the event should be called ‘Summersham’ and how everybody in the company apart from him is a terrible wrestler. He essentially runs down the entire company rather than Road Dogg himself. Was there a deliberate effort by somebody to garner Jericho unnecessary heat backstage by scripting this promo in this fashion? Road Dogg’s ‘Shut up bitch’ line also seems really stupid.
Jericho goes away after pouting for a while and Road Dogg sticks around to give roving commentary on Bossman versus Al Snow for the Hardcore Championship. From the opening moments Snow leaps off the stage props onto Bossman. They’re soon backstage and hitting each other with white boards and a soft drinks machine. At one point the small carrier that Pepper is allegedly in is flung towards Snow’s head. A side door is soon opened and they cross the street and to a bar outside. One patron hands Snow a chain and he welts Bossman with it before Moonsaulting off the bar. Road Dogg, who has followed them all the way, attacks Bossman with a nightstick leaving Snow to pick up a pinfall on the pool table. Al Snow is Hardcore Champion once again. Upon his return to the arena Al Snow is jumped by Stevie Richards and The Blue Meanie who were apparently about to take off with his dog.
Ivory goes up against Tori next for the WWF Women’s Title and she seems to be doing the Big Swing years before Cesaro will. Ivory sits on a Tori Sunset Flip attempt for the winning three count. There isn’t a whole lot to say apart from we’re firmly in the type of women’s wrestling booking when they call each other ‘skank’ all the time.
The Rock is with Michael Cole and it’s the full version of The Brahma Bull. Brash, loud, smart and talking about Cole’s three dollar tie. Meanwhile Mr Ass is guiding somebody around the catering area who is hidden under a black blanket. It looks like he auditioning for the sequel to ET.
The Lion’s Den is back as Ken Shamrock takes on Steve Blackman. It’s a far better match that the Iron Circle last month and both men make it work mainly because they come across as legit fighters. Nunchucks and Kendo sticks are involved. Blackman lays out Shamrock with two stick shots to the head but refuses to leave the cage. He regrets this later as Ken goes to town on him with another Kendo stick before walking out the door himself. Credit should go to both men for making this match work as well as it did despite being minus ropes and the ability to fight outside the cage.
“Talking time is over” says Test as he stomps on past Michael Cole for his Greenwich Street Fight versus Shane McMahon. NOt for the first time in this PPV Project we have a woman being given as a prize in a wrestling match again. Test loves Stephanie McMahon, Stephanie loves Test also but Shane doesn’t think the relationship is good for either of them. He’ll only stand aside and let them go out with each other if Test wins this match tonight. We’re kind of back to Ryan Shamrock levels of booking again here.
Before the match begins the Mean Street Posse, each sporting injuries inflicted by Test, hobble to ringside and take seats in the front row. Shane and Test exchange some belting Spears right after the bell rings. Shane jumps off the guardrail only to be caught by Test in a Powerslam. The fight then goes out to the crowd as The Posse gets involved handing Shane weapons. One is a Greenwich mailbox and another is a framed picture of them all which promptly gets smashed over Test’s head.
Shane attempts some kind of Red Arrow off the top rope but Test moves. Test misguides and Big Boot and the ref takes it instead. “Shane loves his sister so much he’s going through all this because of her” waffles Lawler. Perhaps if he loved his sister he wouldn’t be trying to say who she can and cannot have a relationship with?
Test is laid out on a table by The Posse and Shane Elbow Drops him off the turnbuckle. This move is replayed six times directly afterwards. It’s almost like he’s related to the owner of the company. Both men trade near falls as the Posse gather around the ring to help Shane. Eventually Test win’s this entertaining brawl with a Pumphandle Slam followed by a Top Rope Elbow. Stephanie comes down to celebrate with her boyfriend. Somewhere in a parallel universe Test is about to inherit the WWE from Vince.
Have they finally found something for The Big Show to do? Here he is teaming with Undertaker to go up against the champions X-Pac and Kane. The Big Read Machine seems to have been roped into DX lately which is good because there was plenty of room left there right now. This match can pretty much be summed up as ‘Three large men fight whilst X-Pac flies in from out of shot’. There are also occasions when Kane lifts X-Pac out of trouble. It’s like watching Scooby and Scrappy Doo as wrestlers.
Big Show’s contribution to all this is to headbutt X-Pac in the nuts. A while later Show falls victim to a Bronco Buster which just looks like it wouldn’t do anything to him. Big Show Chokeslams X-Pac but only goes to pin him with one foot meaning he only gets a two. Undertaker tags himself in almost like he’s totally pissed off with Show taking ages. X-Pac gets Tombstoned and is pinned for three before Kane has a chance to break it.
Jesse Ventura tries to talk to Stone Cold but the champion just walks off. Ventura seems obsessed with the idea of a pinfall being ‘in the middle of the ring’.
Mr Ass comes down to the ring with his blanketed friend. Apparently it’s a ‘Kiss My Ass’ match which J.R and Lawler bleat about how it’s the first ever one. Wasn’t Owen Hart versus Austin from two years ago under that same stipulation?
Mr Ass says The Rock won’t be kissing his ass but ‘hers’ as he takes the blanket off and reveals a woman that Lawler begins to describe as ‘wide’. We’ve had a match tonight when a woman was a desired prize and here we have one in which it’s a undesirable one. Lawler and J.R make absolutely sure you know about it too.
Mr Ass only gets one mention on commentary that he’s won the 1999 King of the Ring and it’s never reference in his ring entrance. Considering last month he lost the rights to the name ‘DX’ and Chyna, his partner that evening, is currently alongside Triple H on his elevation to the main event you would be forgiven for thinking that this is something of a demotion for somebody who seemed top of the pile a few short months ago.
The Rock spends the first few minutes of the match smacking Mr Ass all about the shop. Both men go up the aisle and take turns in using security railings as a weapon. Back at the commentary desk Rock takes Lawler’s crown, plonks it on Gunn’s head and promptly punches it off again. Maybe that’s about as much as he’s going to get as a King. Jerry Lawler then spends far too long talking about what underwear the unfortunate woman has on.
Mr Ass gets a Bulldog for two. It’s quickly followed by a Splash in the corner which The Rock seems incredibly pissed off by judging by him quickly storming out of the corner and levelling Gunn with a mighty Clothesline. The Rock gets the DDT in and is about to go for a Rock Bottom but Gunn reverses into a Fameasser. With The Brahma Bull down on the mat (and bleeding from the nose it seems) Billy Gunn takes this time to tell the woman on the outside to get into the ring. She lifts her skirt to reveal that Lawler was miles off five minutes ago with his ‘thong’ guess. Sadly for Billy Gunn though The Rock is in no mood for such a thing and jumps him before shoving his face into her behind. “Billy Gunn has just had his face in that large woman’s ass!” screams J.R in a call that might not live as long as “He’s broken in half”. Somewhere in the back Rikishi is taking notes. There’s a Rock Bottom and a People’s Elbow and Billy Gunn is pinned for three.
Recapping the main event tonight is going to take a while but here goes. There was a Number One Contenders Triple Threat match on Raw between Triple H, Undertaker and Chyna which was won by the former DX bodyguard. The WWF were heading for the first ever intergender WWF Title match at this Summerslam. Somebody must have told Vince as a week later Mankind returns from a knee injury to face Chyna and beat her to claim her championship match against Stone Cold. Triple H arrives back on the scene and has a match against Mankind in which the two guest referees, Shane McMahon and Shawn Michaels, count both men down at the same time and declare different winners. As a result both Mankind and Triple H were deemed Number One contenders leading to this Triple Threat match tonight.
Side note, Chyna seems to bear Triple H absolutely no ill will despite him stealing her spot in this match. With all that admin over with let’s move on.
Jesse Ventura gets a fantastic pop from the crowd in Minnesota, the state in which he’s a governor. “A lot of media types were saying I should be ashamed of being here tonight but I’m proud to be a wrestler” he says to many cheers. Mankind enters first, followed by Triple H who argues with Ventura before the bell has even rung. Ventura maintains that the pinfall must be ‘here in the middle of the ring’ and points at Chyna saying “Nothing from you”.
Stone Cold Steve Austin enters holding his personal Smoking Skull belt. Austin and Mankind start the match by taking it in turns to punch Triple H. Mankind then tries to hug Austin only for The Texas Rattlesnake to punch him in the mouth. “There’s lots of sexual energy between Mankind and Chyna” says Lawler who must be watching a different show. Triple H hits Austin’s knee with a steel chair whilst Ventura is looking away. There’s a huge pantomime moment as Ventura asks the crowd if he used a weapon. Austin lays low by the announce tables as Chyna attacks Mankind and gets ejected by Ventura as payback.
Mankind and Triple H double team Austin by stomping on him as he’s prone in the corner. Triple H traps Austin in a Leg Lock as Mankind Legdrops him. The fight goes out to the crowd and Mankind ends up getting Backdropped onto the concrete floor. Later Austin gets a Stunner on Mankind but Triple H attacks him with a chair before he can make the pinfall. Triple H hits Mankind with the chair also and goes for a pinfall but Ventura refuses to count. Triple H is livid, Shane McMahon appears to argue the point and ends up falling victim to a Stunner. Ventura flings Shane over the top rope to the arena floor. Austin leans over the top rope to flip Shane the bird but in doing so ends up losing his balance and getting caught up in the ropes. I remember listening to an episode of Stone Cold’s podcast when he had Ventura on as a guest and Austin told the story about how he was trying to call to Ventura to help him back up but Jesse was far too busy grand standing in the middle of the ring. In the end Triple H has to untangle Austin and, to their credit, they make it as discreet as they can being that they are mortal enemies in the story.
Mr Socko is here as Mankind applies the Mandible to both Austin and Triple H. Mankind is eventually flung into the ringpost. Triple H gets a Pedigree to Austin and Mankind battles back. Mankind then applies the Double Arm DDT on Austin and pins him for three to become the new WWF Champion to a bit of a muted crowd reaction. Perhaps the audience in the arena thought they would either witness Austin retain which would be the happy ending to the show or a brand new champion in the shape of Triple H. Mankind’s win seems to come out of nowhere. As Mankind leaves the arena holding the belt up high Triple H batters Austin’s knee with a chair. “Triple H is trying to make sure Austin never wrestles again” are J.R’s words as this show goes off air.
So Summerslam 99 certainly ends on a possibility of Triple H being crowned champion. It also features The Rock running over a ‘King’. Austin’s injuries are catching up on him and it’s becoming clear that the motions for Plan B have begun. The summer of 2000 saw The Rock and Triple H go at each other over the WWF Title and it’s this event that sets all that up. Down in WCW Benoit, Guerrero, Saturn and Malenko are about to give a serious look at their contract situation. There’s also a matter of Kurt Angle to add to the mix in a few months time. The Attitude Era, so long powered by the beer drinking Austin, is about to give others a chance at the wheel.