Thursday, 8 August 2019

PPV REVIEW: WWF Summerslam 1999

WWE / WWF - Summerslam 1999 - Event poster
August 22, 1999,
Target Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

It is often said that, despite making many a rival over the years, Vince McMahon is willing to build bridges with just about anybody if it made for good business.

If there was ever one show that was proof of that, it was Summerslam 1999.

At one time, Vince can't have been too happy with Jesse 'The Body' Ventura, the former colour commentator who had publically sued Titan Sports in a dispute over royalties.

Aggrieved, McMahon famously had much of Ventura's work overdubbed on home video releases but now, taking advantage of The Body's status as Governor of Minnesota, he had welcomed The Body back into the fold in order to referee tonight's main event.

Speaking of that main event, it would be -as far as this writer can remember- the first time Triple H had headlined a Pay Per View as a singles competitor.






He had been in the main event of No Way Out of Texas: In Your House 20, back in early 1998, but that was part of a multi-man tag team match, rather than a world title fight such as the one he'd be in tonight.

With that interesting little tidbit out of the way, let's head to Minneapolis for Summerslam 1999.

I Have the Power

WWE / WWF - Summerslam 1999 - Jim Ross & Jerry 'The King' Lawler called the event
Our opening video tonight began by reminding us of Stone Cold Steve Austin's history with special guest referees and enforcers, including the time Iron Mike Tyson took out Shawn Michaels in the main event of Wrestlemania 14, the time Vince McMahon refereed the Austin vs. Dude Love main event back at In Your House: 22 - Over the Edge 1998, and the time Vince's son Shane donned the stripes at Survivor Series 1998.

Tonight, the video package told us Austin would now defend his title with Jesse 'The Body' Ventura as the special guest referee. Ventura had repeatedly claimed that he would be bringing law and order to Summerslam, but both Austin and one of his challengers, Triple H, had both vowed to beat him up if they have to.

Finally, the video ended with Ventura telling us "I have the power," because he was, obviously, He-Man.

Out in the arena, Jim Ross and Jerry 'The King' Lawler welcomed us to the show before we went backstage where Ventura was busy confronting Triple H and Chyna.

The Body Lays Down the Law

WWE / WWF - Summerslam 1999 - Special referee Jesse Ventura lays down the law to HHH and Chyna
Jesse repeated his claim to be the law and order and reminded Chyna that she'd better not interfere in tonight's main event.

"Listen," said Triple H. "You make all the rules you want. I'll break them if I feel like it."

"You do that and you won't become champ," replied Ventura, stating a very obvious part of pro wrestling which was often overlooked in this era.

Y2J is Here

Elsewhere, Chris Jericho made his WWF PPV debut by standing in the parking lot waiting for his lackey, Howard Finkle, to catch up.

Last seen on PPV back at WCW Superbrawl IX, Jericho lambasted "Harold" for not being on time then headed out into the arena.

Everyone in both of those past two segments played their parts really well. It's fair to say Summerslam 1999 was off to a fun start, and that's before we'd even had our first match.

World Wrestling Federation European and Intercontinental Championship
WWF European and Intercontinental Champion D'Lo Brown (w/ Debra) vs. Jeff Jarrett

WWE / WWF - Summerslam 1999 - Debra and her puppies
Jeff Jarrett had been doing a bit where he was sick of Debra flaunting her puppies everywhere and would yell at her. Tonight, he yelled at her to go backstage and leave him alone rather than accompany him to the ring. The former Queen of WCW did as she was told, only to come back out in D'Lo Brown's corner instead.

Once the bell rung, both champ and challenger put on a very solid opening contest with lots of high-impact offence.

To be honest, I was never a huge fan of Jarrett's at the time, but the more I watch matches like this one, where he really impressed, the more I start to like him.

Towards the finish, Debra got up on the apron where Jeff pretended like he was going to hit her with his guitar, only for referee Tim White to get in the way. With White distracted, Mark Henry ran out and turned heel on long-time friend D'Lo Brown by waffling him with Jarret's guitar.

Double J made the cover, White turned around, and three seconds later we had a new dual champion.
Your Winner and NEw European and Intercontinental Champion: Jeff Jarrett

Post-match, Debra lept into the ring and into Jarrett's arms, revealing the whole thing to be a rouse.

Edge and Christian Want the Tag Team Titles

WWE / WWF - Summerslam 1999 - Michael Cole interviews Edge & Christian
Out in the back, Edge and Christian spoke to Michael Cole about leaving The Brood and how one of the teams they'd be facing in a few moments -The Hardyz- had aligned themselves with Gangrel.

The duo also spoke about how they were coming after the tag team titles in a promo that felt a little bit disjointed. On the one hand, Edge was already coming into his own as a character. On the other, Christian didn't seem to have much of a character at all and was a long way off being the Captain Charisma we'd all later get to know.

Tag Team Turmoil Match
Featuring: Edge & Christian, The Hardy Boyz (Matt and Jeff Hardy), Viscera & Mideon, Droz & Prince Albert, The Acolytes (Farooq & Bradshaw) and The Hollys (Hardcore and Crash Holly)

WWE / WWF - Summerslam 1999 - Christian and his face
The winner earns a tag team title shot
The idea here was that two teams would start, and every time a team got pinned, they would be replaced by another until all six teams had been involved.

Edge, Christian, and The Hardyz started things off and absolutely tore it up. With a white-hot crowd cheering for their every move, the two teams displayed flashes of the brilliance that would make their rivalry so epic. That included Edge and Jeff Hardy running along opposite sides of the security barrier then leaping towards each other and Edge spearing Jeff in mid-air.

The whole thing was awesome and led to a well-earned win for Edge and Christian.

Mideon and Viscera were the next team up, quickly followed by Droz and Prince Albert, but despite taking their already tired opponents, both teams were disposed of by Edge and Christian in dramatic fashion.

The two eventually got the better of the valiant youngsters, but not before Edge and Christian gave it everything they had.

Honestly, if there's one match that you could argue was the making of E&C as tag team stars, it was probably this one.

Alas, it wasn't to be their day, and The Acolytes were left to duke it out with Hardcore Holly and his recently debuted cousin, Crash Holly.

The two looked to be a good match for a weakened Farooq and Bradshaw, but alas, they couldn't get on the same page. The two cousins argued so much that they were easy pickings for the Acolytes, who battered their way into an upcoming title shot.
Your Winners: Farooq and Bradshaw

Post-match, Hardcore and Crash Holly argued some more.

Backstage Shenanigans

Out in the back, we saw The Undertaker and The Big Show arriving at the arena in preparation for their WWF tag team title match against Kane and X-Pac. Man, I can't tell you how much I hated that team back in the day.

Elsewhere in the arena, Al Snow was seen talking to Pepper the Chiuaua, telling his little dog not to be afraid of The Big Boss Man.

Chris Jericho Interrupts The Road Dogg

WWE / WWF - Summerslam 1999 - Chris Jericho interupts Road Dogg
Up next, Road Dogg came out to lament his fate at being left out of the upcoming Hardcore Title match and challenge the winner to a title match the following night on Raw.

Before he could wrap up, the D-Generation-X mainstay was interrupted by 'The Saviour of the WWF' Chris Jericho.

Taking to the mic, Y2J complained that 'Raw is Snore' was boring and that 'Summersham' wasn't much better, adding that all of the WWF's performers were crap, especially Road Dogg.

Though Jericho had always been wildly entertaining in his WCW run, there was something off about his performance here. It was stilted and forced, almost as if he were reading directly from a script.

That wasn't even the worst part though. The worst part was that none of this had any point. Jericho insulted Road Dogg for a bit, Road Dogg called Jericho a bitch and invited him to suck it before joining the announce table for the next match, and that was it.

Though I get that it was a good way to get both men on the show, it just kind of ended without anything actually happening.

World Wrestling Federation Hardcore Championship
WWF Hardcore Champion The Big Boss Man vs. Al Snow

WWE / WWF - Summerslam 1999 - Al Snow beats up Big Boss Man in a bar
Man, was this fun. With Road Dogg following them around as a kind of roving-reporter, Al Snow and Big Boss Man didn't even make it into the ring.

Instead, they brawled through the backstage area to the outside and into a bar across the street. There, they engaged in all the usual hardcore brawling, albeit with the added fun and games that a unique location provided.

After several minutes of entertaining action, Boss Man pissed off Road Dogg, prompting the D-O-Double-G to hit him with his (Boss Man's) own nightstick. Al Snow then picked up two pool balls and smacked Boss Man in his actual balls with them before pinning him on top of the pool table to become your new Hardcore Champion.
Your Winner and NEW Hardcore Champion: Al Snow

Post-match, Al ran back into the arena, only to find Blue Meanie and Stevie Richards having after his dog, Pepper. Naturally, the new hardcore champion beat them up.

Hilariously, there was a spot earlier in the match in which Boss Man saw a guy with crutches, stole one of them and hit Snow with it. Now that they were back in the arena, Snow took the other guy's crutch and hit Stevie and Meanie with it, causing the poor, crutchless guy to fall over.

It was hysterical.

The Body Warns Mankind

WWE / WWF - Summerslam 1999 - Jesse Ventura lays down the law to Mankind
Elsewhere in the arena, Jesse Ventura told Mankind that he wasn't going to disqualify him if he used a steel chair in the main event, but that Mankind would at least have to pin either Austin or Triple H inside the ring.

Foley basically ignored Ventura's warning and wanted to talk about politics instead.

After a quick look at the Lion's Den setting for Ken Shamrock's upcoming match against Steve Blackman, it was onto our next contest.

World Wrestling Federation Women's Championship
WWF Women's Champion Ivory vs. Tori

The best thing you can say about this one is that it is a thing that happened.

Both girls did the best that they could but the crowd just didn't care at all and it was a hard match to get into which is a shame because I really rather liked Ivory.

Speaking of the future WWF Hall of Famer, she picked up the three count here to retain her title.
Your Winner and Still WWF Women's Champion: Ivory

Afterwards, the champion tried to take off Tori's pants and top, but Luna Vachon ran in and saw her off. Honestly, I had no idea Luna was even still with the company at this stage.

The Rock is Ready to Lay the Smackdown

WWE / WWF - Summerslam 1999 - The Rock lays the Smackdown on Michael Cole
Out in the back, The Rock questioned Michael Cole's sexuality before claiming that he didn't care about Billy Gunn's so-called surprises. A generic Rock promo followed, and when I say generic, I don't mean that as a bad thing.

The Great One was as charismatic and electric as ever here and, even from backstage, had the Minnesota faithful eating out of the palm of his hand.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the arena, Billy Gunn was seen ushering an unknown mystery person through the backstage area under a black sheet.

Lion's Den Match
Ken Shamrock vs. Steve Blackman

WWE / WWF - Summerslam 1999 - Ken Shamrock vs. Steve Blackman in a Lion's Den match
The last time we saw Shamrock face Steve Blackman, it was the previous month at Fully Loaded 1999.

Tonight, the two would lock up in a Lion's Den Match, a concept not seen since Shamrock faced Owen Hart in one the previous year at Summerslam 1998.

Though Blackman was no Owen Hart, he did work well with Shamrock in what was essentially a cross between a no-rope cage match and a worked version of an MMA fight with weapons.

Yes, the two had hidden nun-chucks, kendo sticks and other assorted martial arts weapons around the top of the cage and used them to beat each other senseless in between brawling, suplexing, and generally trying to destroy each other.

The result was a very entertaining, unique match which Shamrock run by knocking Blackman out with a kendo stick.
Your Winner: Ken Shamrock

Out in the back, Kevin Kelly told us that Shane McMahon had attacked his opponent and potential future brother-in-law Test on the Sunday Night Heat show that preceded Summerslam.

Almost as if wrestling were scripted or something, Test himself just so happened to walk past Kelly at that exact moment, but was in no mood for an interview.

"Talking time's over!" he snapped as he marched to the ring.

Love Her or Leave Her Match
Test vs. Shane McMahon

WWE / WWF - Summerslam 1999 - Test faced Shane McMahon
So yeah, McMahon was mad because he didn't want Stephanie McMahon in a relationship with Test. As such, this 'Greenwich Street Fight' was set up with the stipulation that, if Shane won, Test would have to leave Steph, but if Test won, Shane would have to leave the couple alone.

Before things got underway, The Mean Street Posse came out sporting various casts and other 'LOOK HOW INJURED WE ARE' paraphernalia after Test had beaten them all up in the run-up to tonight's match.

Then, the bell finally rang, and this quickly built into one of the most entertaining matches on the card.

The street fight rules, plenty of Posse interference and general overbooking (including a run in by Pat Patterson and Gerald Briscoe on Test's behalf) all helped the two put on a brilliant contest without having to do much actual wrestling.

Not that the wrestling they did do wasn't noteworthy.

I know Shane O' Mac gets a bad wrap for his sloppy punches these days, but back in 1999, he was busting out corkscrew moonsaults which didn't look half bad given his limited in-ring experience. OK, so said moonsault missed, but his later elbow from the top rope to the outside onto Test and through the Spanish announce table landed and was truly impressive.

After one hell of a fun ride, Test hit Shane with a pumphandle powerslam and a top rope elbow of his own then made the cover and got the fall.
Your Winner: Test

Afterwards, Stephanie ran down to congratulate her boyfriend in what was genuinely a nice moment.

Man, did I ever enjoy that one.

You hurt Sean, You Hurt Me...

WWE / WWF - Summerslam 1999 - X-Pac and Kane
Before our upcoming tag team title match, we got a look at how The Undertaker and Big Show came together, and how their rivalry with Kane and X-Pac developed. This was mainly through Show and 'Taker beating up the faces and Kane telling them 'you hurt Sean, you hurt me, now I'll hurt you.'

Later, 'Taker would tell them that Summerslam would now be known as Armageddon. He was wrong of course, but you have to imagine that someone in the WWF's PPV-Naming Committee was paying attention to this one.

World Wrestling Federation World Tag Team Championship
WWF Tag Team Champions Kane & X-Pac vs. The Undertaker & The Big Show (w/ Paul Bearer)

As I've probably told you before, I absolutely hated The Undertaker and Big Show back in 1999. This wasn't me hating them because they were heels and I was supposed to, but because they were slow, boring and as dull as the proverbial dishwater.

I'll give it to you though, this match was actually pretty fun.

The hot crowd, the whole story of X-Pac having a heart as big as any of the other three men despite being the smallest guy in there, everybody actually trying, it all added up to a create a bout which, while by no means the best thing on the card, at least held its own.

After a very decent contest, Undertaker Tombstoned 'Pac to win the titles for his team.
Your Winners and NEW Tag Team Champions: The Undertaker and The Big Show

Afterwards, 'Taker and 'Show had a little tiff because Show believed he already had Pac beat.

Meanwhile, backstage, Jesse Ventura tried laying down the law to Stone Cold Steve Austin, but Austin merely walked off.

Kiss My Ass Match
Bad Ass Billy Gunn vs. The Rock

WWE / WWF - Summerslam 1999 - Bad Bum Billy Gunn and a Big Fat Woman
Prior to the bell, Mr Ass finally revealed his mystery surprise - a big, fat woman with a big, fat ass.

The stipulation here was that the winner would have to kiss the loser's ass (welcome to the Attitude Era), but according to the King of the Ring 1999 winner, when he beat The Rock, he would make The People's Champion kiss the big, fat woman's big, fat ass instead.

Finally, the match got underway and, you know, what? It wasn't half as bad as people make it out to be.

I've seen people dump on this match and Gunn's singles push as a whole, but I honestly don't think it was all that terrible. Ok, so it won't go down as one of the greatest of all time, but this was a perfectly serviceable contest in which both men at least worked hard to entertain.

Towards the finish, Gunn was in control and had his big, fat woman stand in the corner and show her big, fat ass (she was wearing pantyhose with a hole cut out). He went to ram Rock's face into the big, fat woman's big, fat ass, but Rock reversed it and Billy got a face full of booty.

Considering his whole gimmick was that he was an Ass Man, I can't really see how that was a bad thing for him.

What were bad things were the Rock Bottom and People's elbow which followed, giving Rock a somewhat predictable three count.
Your Winner: The Rock

Finally, we got a look back at the build-up to our world title match and with that, it was show time.

World Wrestling Federation Championship Triple Threat
WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Mankind vs. Triple H (w/ Chyna)

Special guest referee: Jesse 'The Body' Ventura
WWE / WWF - Summerslam 1999 - Jesse Ventura, HHH, Chyna and Mankind
Pre-bell, Ventura took to the mic and claimed that, despite the media calling him a disgrace for associating with the World Wrestling Federation, he was proud to be a wrestler and proud to be there tonight.

Once things got underway, this turned into one of the better Triple Threat matches Austin would have for the WWF title. Indeed, while the likes of his three-way with Undertaker and Kane at Breakdown: In Your House 24 left a lot to be desired, this was pretty good from bell to bell.

With all three wrestlers busting ass, Ventura played his role as the strict but fair referee to perfection, even refusing to make a three count when Triple H slammed Mankind with a chair and tried to get the pinfall.

After that, Shane McMahon came down to insist that The Body make the pin. Austin got up, stunned him, then had Jesse throw him out of the ring. At that point, Austin stood on the ropes to yell at Shane, but then Ventura did too and Austin ended up falling and getting himself all tangled up in the ropes until Triple H came to get him out again.

It was pretty funny.

Not that Hunter would have much to laugh about.

After nailing Stone Cold with a Pedigree, Mankind blasted The Game, hit the champion with a double-arm DDT and got the one, the two, and the three.
Your Winner and NEW WWF Champion: Mankind

Post-match, Mrs Foley's baby boy walked backstage with Ventura as Triple H reached for another chair and destroyed Austin's knee with it, effectively writing Stone Cold out of the show to go and deal with some legitimate injuries.





And so one of the better Summerslams in the company's history was finally over, and what a night it was. Although not every match sparkled, there was far more good here than bad. The opening Jarrett/D'Lo match was solid, the tag team gauntlet match was the making of Edge & Christian as stars and that Shane/Test match was far, far better than anyone could have ever expected.

I feel like I haven't said this in any of these reviews for a long time, Summerslam 1999 is a definite must-watch show. Go check it out, you won't be disappointed.



1999 events reviewed so far

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