November 14th 1999. Detroit, Michican.
Vince McMahon is so annoyed with Triple H having the WWF Title that he has decided to not only put the belt up for grabs in a Triple Threat match involving Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock but also to officiate the match himself. Jim Ross lets slip that Vince has assured him there will be a new WWF Champion tonight. The Rock looks ready to go, Stone Cold just has to make it across the car park. “You think the 97 Survivor Series was something, just you wait for tonight’ says Lawler in a bizarre link to an event from two years ago. Perhaps the insinuation is that Vince has had a say in who walks out with the title for the last two Survivor Series shows so perhaps this will continue.
The modern day WWE has certainly veered away from doing traditional Survivor Series 4v4 matches. The days of having wonderfully made up team names are long gone but the 1999 edition just about manages to squeeze some in even if they seem utterly thrown together and devoid of any story. As such The Godfather enters the arena first followed by his usual group of women for Jerry Lawler to scream about. As the Godfather waits for his team mates he’s confused to hear his own theme music hit once again as D’Lo Brown enters wearing his best Godfather cosplay complete with chains and cigar. Godfather finds this whole thing very funny indeed. Then The Headbangers enter, a team who I’m struggling off the top of my head to recall when they were last featured in this PPV Project. All that’s coming back to me is the awkward section of Summerslam 97. They too are dressed in even more elaborate Godfather costumes with oversized afro wigs. “That is a whole lot of hair” comments J.R.
Their opponents tonight are the combination of The Acolytes and The Dudley Boys. Bubba Ray asks if Godfather is going to give him the usual offer all his opponents get pre match. Godfather pokes fun at Bubba’s stammer in response. The crowd cheer. We are certainly in a completely different time.
Bubba is having none of this afro wearing nonsense as he instantly rips Mosh’s headgear off. Trasher later tags in onky to meet a Clothesline From Hell courtesy of Bradshaw and thus becomes the first eliminated. The 3D actually gets referenced on commentary as D’Von hauls up Mosh and Bubba face plants him to pin and eliminate the other half of The Headbangers. D’Lo comes in to save his team but Bradshaw has already got himself a steel chair. He welts both D’Lo and Bubba Ray in quick succession and gets himself an early shower as a result. With D’Lo prone both Bubba and Farooq argue about who is going to pin him. D’von and Farooq continue this argument by brawling down the aisle. A lone Bubba then falls victim to a Ho Train and a Sky High before being pinned. D’Lo and Tge Godfather are the survivors.
One of my regrets about ending this PPV Project at the end of 1999 is that I won’t be able to write much about Kurt Angle. The Olympic gold medallist would go from being a promising name in pro wrestling to an outright, grade A star in under a year. He makes his debut in singles competition tonight in what really amounts to nothing more than an exhibition match but he’s less than twelve months away from headlining Summerslam 2000 versus The Rock and Triple H. A whole video package airs before his match with him describing his feelings about winning the gold at the Atlanta games in 1996. Perhaps it was a character given to him, maybe it’s just Kurt being himself but a sanctimonious jock is gaining a complete heel reaction.
Angle and Stasiak engage in some amateur style takedown to start and the crowd chant ‘boring’. Angle throws Stasiak in a great looking Belly To Belly whilst the crowd sit on their hands. ‘I think Angle isn’t really into the entertainment side of wrestling’ says Lawler in something of a reflective moment. Stasiak goes right into a Chinlock to slow things down for a while. After the crowd boo some more Angle climbs out of the ring, gets on the house mic and tells the gathered masses that they ‘should never boo an Olympic gold medallist’. He sounds genuinely upset that this is happening to him. Stasiak then seems to pick Angle up only to dump him back down onto his shoulder. With no ill effects Angle jumps up and snaps an Olympic Slam on before pinning Stasiak for the win.
In another fine example of Sunday Night Heat actually meaning something, footage is shown of X-Pac and Road Dogg attacking Stone Cold and The Rock earlier on this evening at the command of Triple H.
“This team are four men who have very little in common” says J.R as the team of Val Venis, Mark Henry, Gangrel and Steve Blackman are introduced. He’s certainly not wrong. They’re going up against the team of Pete, Rodney and Joey of The Mean Street Posse and The British Bulldog. It’s not clear why Shane McMahon’s three mates from school would team with Davey Boy Smith but here we are. I’m also not sure why Bulldog walks down the aisle with a huge damp patch on the crotch of his jeans.
“Think about how Bulldog must have felt at Survivor Series 97” says J.R in the second reference to Montreal tonight. It’s almost like Vince is proud of it by now. Pete Gas is the first Posse member to enter the match yet a swift kick to his head means Steve Blackman pins him for three. Rodney has a go against Gangrel and nearly, so very nearly, pins him with a crucifix (how apt) but only gets two. Joey Abs ends up punching Rodney by accident which allows Gangrel to eliminate him. Joey Abs enters tge match officially but Mark Henry squashed him with a Splash before pinning him for three. Bulldog finally enters the match and seems to be the only one capable of doing anything. Gangrel climbs the turnbuckle but Bulldog punches him and then Superplexes him for three. Blackman then falls to a Bulldog Fisherman’s Suplex. Davey Boy’s momentum stops right there though as Mark Henry Splashes him and Val Venis follows with a Money Shot. Val Venis and Mark Henry survive and walk back up the aisle congratulating each other.
Michael Cole is seen backstage just wandering into the women’s locker room without knocking and without any permission whatsoever. Ivory soon sends him heading for the hills. Speaking of Ivory she’s up next in the women’s Survivor Series match.
How far can a joke stretch before it breaks and nobody finds it funny anymore? Mae Young walks down to tge ring with a crown on as Lawler suggest she won it in a match against King Tut. She’s in a team with Moolah, Tori and Debra against Jacqueline, Luna, Terri and WWF Women’s Champion Ivory. The match is announced as ‘Sudden Death’ which apparently is an overcomplicated way of saying it’s only one fall. After two minutes of flailing around that single pinfall comes when Moolah and Mae Young Double Clothesline Ivory and pin her. There’s a huge ruckus and somehow Terri gets her shirt torn off. I feel sorry for Ivory who, as champion, has had to sell for the near 70 year old Young for two shows in a row.
“I’ve been carrying round the big goof Kane” says X-Pac as he prepares to take on The Big Red Machine tonight. X-Pac jumps Kane before the flames die down but his punches and kicks don’t do anything. A Bronco Buster attempt results in Kane going for a Chokeslam instead that doesn’t quite connect. Kane gets a Clothesline from the top rope and tge resulting cover is stopped when Road Dogg drags Kane out by his feet. Kane then tries a Tombstone but Triple H runs down to crown him with the WWF title belt to cause the DQ. As a three on one assault breaks out Tori runs down to the ring, taps X-Pac on the back and it levelled by the resulting Heel Kick. A remorseful X-Pac is hounded out of the ring by his DX team mates as Kane tends to his fallen girlfriend.
The Rock is just about to get a promo in until Triple H struts in and a fight breaks out. The two are pulled apart by a legion of referees.
Whilst I wasn’t watching full shows in 1999 I was reading the results on WWE.com every Monday morning in college. I have a memory of reading about Bossman telling Big Show that his Father had died and dragging the casket along behind his car. Here I am watching it fully for the first time and I have no idea what to make of it. It’s obviously an effort to make fans sympathetic towards a man previously portrayed as a raging monster. Big Show was supposed to have team mates but he’s beaten them up because he wants to go alone. Perhaps he would have been better just asking them politely to stay away but then grief does effect us all in different ways.
Albert, Viscera and Mideon form the rest of team Bossman. Big Show hits the ring, Chokeslamming and pinning all three in under a minute. Bossman runs off down the aisle to get himself counted out. I cannot help but feel this was a waste of time for all involved.
Stone Cold Steve Austin is about to give some words backstage until Triple H gets involved. Instead of brawling Triple H runs off. Austin follows him out to the car park but cannot find him. It’s at this moment a car comes bursting through a chain link fence and mows Austin down before speeding off. Vince McMahon runs to where Austin is and bellows for the medical crew to help. Soon there’s Shane, Stephanie, Vince, Test and the medical crew all gathered round The Texas Rattlesnake. Triple H does show his face eventually but Vince tells him to leave. By now even Jim Ross has left the commentary table to help. Austin is strapped up and bundled into a waiting ambulance ensuring he’ll take no part in the main event tonight.
Farewell then Stone Cold who, in real life, had found his neck injuries so bad by now that surgery was needed. This was a convenient way of writing him off television for the next few months. My first ever exposure to Stone Cold at the time was his appearance at Backlash 2000 during The Rock versus Triple H title match. He would return properly at Survivor Series 2000 and go on to have a barn storming match with The Rock at Wrestlemania X7 in his home state of Texas. When I started this PPV Project with the shows in mid 1996 it was pre ‘Austin 3:16, pre the I Quit match versus Bret Hart, pre his first WWF title win against Shawn Michaels and pre the multitude of wild fights he had after that against Vince. Put simply, getting to go back and watch the rise of Stone Cold Steve Austin has been one of the definite pleasures of doing this series for the last six years.
Onwards however to the Intercontinental battle as Chyna defends her title against Chris Jericho. It would appear that nobody can wrestle Chyna without going down the ‘ranting misogynist ‘ route as Jericho seems to be doing exactly the same thing Jeff Jarrett was doing before him. Chyna also comes down to the ring with Miss Kitty who is dressed in exactly the same gear she is.
The match starts with Jericho choking Chyna out with a mic cord before the bell. Jericho gets so confident in himself that he tries to nut shot Chyna, a move she literally shrugs off. J.R admits his mind might be more on how Stone Cold is than this match. Jericho responds to Kitty getting in his way by forcefully kissing her (another Attitude era trope that would never fly today). Jericho’s Powerbomb only gets a two. Chyna just about comes back with a Springboard Elbow for a two count.
By now the commentary is getting uncomfortable with Lawler suggesting Jericho will need a sex change if he loses to a woman. Jericho wraps Chyna in the Walls of Jericho but she makes the ropes in time. The crowd seem to really hate Chyna as they boo this entirely. Chyna climbs the turnbuckle, Jericho follows and Kitty distracts the ref enough for Chyna to punch Jericho in the crotch. She then dumps Jericho with a top rope Pedigree for three. Chyna retains her Intercontinental title in a really good match which the crowd gathered don’t seem to appreciate.
Perhaps my ears are deceiving me but I think I heard J.R describe The Holly Cousins as ‘former tag team champions’ during their introduction. A quick Google search reveals this to indeed be the case as they defeated The Rock and Sock Connection on an episode of Raw in October. That fact alone would have been strange enough but, one month after smashing each other with ladders, The Hardy Boys and Edge and Christian are working alongside each other. Too Cool make up the other quarter of this contest so we’ll have plenty of Jerry Lawler denying all knowledge of anything to do with Brian Christopher.
This match is an odd one simply because it feels like none of these guys should be in it. The Hardys should still be fighting Edge and Christian whilst Too Cool versus The Hollys has opening match written all over it. Almost everybody brawls outside in the opening minutes which gives Jeff a chance to dive over the top rope. Grandmaster Sexay tries to adjust his goggles before setting up a Bulldog. His showing off costs him though as he’s shoved directly into a cameraman.
Jeff somehow manages to run into Edge meaning the future ‘Rated R Superstar’ gets pinned by Hardcore Holly. Matt is pinned not long after for very similar reasons. There’s then a few moments of Christian and Jeff doing all the doible team moves they would usually be doing with their regular partner. Eliminations are traded back and forth until Christian and Hardcore Holly are the last two remaining. After a few short moments Hardcore squashes Christian’s Sunset Flip for the winning three count.
Shane McMahon gives a medical update on Stone Cold. Apparently he’s broken about one hundred and fifty bones (at least that’s what it seems). “There will still be a Triple Threat match tonight” he says.
The New Age Outlaws are back as tag team champions again as they gp up against the combination of Al Snow and Mankind. “Tonight we’re going to be thinking about two words…your asses” says Mankind in a promo that perhaps plays better in America than over here in the UK. Early on in this match Road Dogg accidentally punches Mr Ass in the jaw. It leads to a heated exchange of words on the apron. Road Dogg takes a heap of offense for a while which includes Al Snow reversing Dogg’s punches into his Repeat Headbutts.
Jerry Lawler seems utterly convinced that Mr Ass was driving the car that ran down Stone Cold Steve Austin. Back in the ring Mankind produces Mr Socko and actually gets a Mandible Claw snapped onto both Mr Ass and Road Dogg. Both Outlaws swiftly kick him in the nuts. Mankind is then hauled up for a Spike Piledriver and a winning pinfall. The New Age Outlaws are still tag team champions despite Lawler accusing them of hit and run.
More footage of Austin is shown and Jerry Lawler gets his Sherlock on. “The driver has blonde hair” he screams. He’s far closer than anybody else seems to have been at this time. With Vince McMahon being at the hospital with Austin it’s up to good old Earl to referee this main event. The Rock gets his entrance followed by the WWF Champion Triple H. Both men wait to see who the third entrant is. In an ideal world this wouod have been The Undertaker coming back but alas it was not to be. The Big Show’s music hits to general crowd apathy. The Rock looks disgusted by the whole thing. Both Triple H and The Rock double team the much larger Show. The Rock breaks out a People’s Elbow to Show but Triple H breaks up the pinfall. Everybody goes off down the aisle and The Rock manages to find a fire extinguisher to beat Big Show over the head with. “Big Show taking his time” says J.R in an attempt to cover the lumbering. Big Show does take a huge bump as he’s Double Suplxed through the announce table. At this moment Earl gets knocked to the ground and is out of action. There’s a Rock Bottom to Triple H but nobody is around to make the count.
Shane McMahon runs down with his ref shirt on. A second Rock Bottom to Triple H looks like the end but Big Show pulls Shane out of the ring by his feet. Triple H has words with Shane which involves a Pedigree to the son of the boss. DX then turn up and beat up everybody else. In amongst this chaos Vince struts down and gets a hold of the title belt. He has a swing at Triple H, misses, hits once he goes back round again and then counts The Big Show’s pinfall onto the champion. The Rock goes berserk on the outside as The Big Show breaks down in tears of joy. The audience don’t seem to really care as it’s a fine example of the WWF pushing a name for their own convenience rather than any favourable fan reaction. No amount of chasing a casket at a funeral was going to get him into the hearts of the crowd.
Survivor Series 99 is a show that gives the impression of a WWF trying to fit together a product after both Undertaker and Stone Cold had to leave because of injury. The Attitude Era is in danger of fizzing out as the millennium comes to a close because Triple H and The Rock aren’t quite there yet and the vast influx from WCW have yet to arrive. The Chyna and Chris Jericho match is actually the most pleasant surprise on this entire card.
Onwards to the next show which will be the last stop on the PPV Project. It’s Armageddon 99 or ‘Bossman? Really?’ as it should be known.