Thursday, 22 August 2019

PPV REVIEW: WWF Unforgiven 1999

WWE / WWF - Unforgiven 1999 - Event poster
September 26, 1999
Charlotte Coliseum, Charlotte, North Carolina.

A lot had happened in a relatively short space of time for the superstars of the World Wrestling Federation. Back at Summerslam 1999, Mankind had triumphed in a three-way match against Stone Cold Steve Austin and Triple H to become our new WWF Champion, only to lose the title the following evening to The Hs.

A few weeks later, none other than Vince McMahon himself had dethroned Hunter thanks to assistance from Shane McMahon. McMahon had then added Triple H to a multi-man match at tonight's Unforgiven event, having him face off against The Big Show, The Rock, Mankind, The Undertaker and Kane for a shot at the title McMahon had declared vacant, though not before making him compete in a gauntlet match against all five competitors.

Meanwhile, Undertaker had gone down with a groin injury and required time off, forcing Vince to substitute a returning British Bulldog for The Dead Man.

Would Triple H be able to overcome the odds and regain his World Wrestling Federation Championship? Or would it be the Bulldog, Kane, Mankind, Big Show or The Rock walking away with the gold?





Let's head down to Flair Country as the WWF presents Unforgiven 1999.

Deliver us from evil...

WWE / WWF - Unforgiven 1999 - Jim Ross & Jerry 'The King' Lawler called the action
Playing on the Unforgiven theme, our opening video package focussed on the competitors in tonight's main event while the voice of an old man paraphrased the Lord's Prayer, talking about forgiving our sins and delivering us from evil.

Though it wasn't the best video package you've ever seen, it was at least effective and was followed up by Jim Ross and Jerry 'The King' Lawler telling us that, yes, tonight, we were guaranteed a new WWF Champion.

The referees are on strike

King & JR also reminded us that the referees were on strike because, as part of the whole convoluted world title picture, they had all been beaten up by the five men who were originally supposed to be competing for the title (Rock, Mankind, Undertaker, Kane, Big show) who were all mad that a match they were in ended in a no contest due to Mideon and Viscera interference.

Man did that feel like a long sentence.

Anyway, the announcers told us that scab referees had crossed the picket line and would be working tonight's show.

Val Venis vs. Steve Blackman

WWE / WWF - Unforgiven 1999 - Steve Blackman faced Val Venis for no reason
It feels like a long time since we last saw Val Venis on PPV. In fact, the last time he'd competed was earlier in the year, back at Over the Edge 1999.

Here, he took on The Lethal Weapon Steve Blackman in a bout that, for whatever reason, fell flat.

With Steve 'Brooklyn Brawler' Lombardi filling in as referee (and King making reference to Lombardi's time as Doink the Clown), Venis and Blackman seemed to try hard, but the crowd only really cared when Val was swinging his hips and making double entendres on the microphone.

Not the worst opening match in history by a long shot, but certainly nothing special, either.
Your Winner: Val Venis

Afterwards, Val went to attack Blackman with Blackman's own kendo stick, but The Lethal Weapon blocked it and split the thing right over Venis' skull.

That prompted EMTs including Barbara Bush (remember her?) to rush down to ringside. They tried to help Val, but Blackman kept blocking off Bush in particular, causing head of security Jim Dotson (and remember him?) to spear tackle Blackman.

All of that was way more fun than anything that happened in the match.

Sexual Chocolate wants some of Lilian Garcia

WWE / WWF - Unforgiven 1999 - Lilian Garcia interviews Sexual Chocolate Mark Henry
A quick video package followed, recapping the falling out between former best friends Mark Henry and D'Lo Brown.

D'Lo had recently been helping Mark to get in shape, only for The World's Strongest Man to turn on him and help Jeff Jarrett beat Brown for the Intercontinental and European titles back at Summerslam 1999.

Tonight, the two would go at it for Mark's European title (handed to him as a thank you from Jarrett), but not before Sexual Chocolate stopped by for a word with Lillian Garcia.

Quite what those words were, we'd never know. After Lilian asked Mark a question about his match, he whispered something clearly vulgar in Lilian's ear and got a slap for his troubles.

After a look at the referees picketing outside, we went to that match.

World Wrestling Federation European Championship
WWF European Champion Mark Henry (w/ two random women) vs. D'Lo Brown

WWE / WWF - Unforgiven 1999 - Mark Henry defended the European title against D'Lo Brown
Prior to the bell, Mark Henry insisted that Lilian's slap had given him a 'braineurysm' and, as such, he wouldn't be able to compete.

This apparently didn't matter to D'Lo Brown, who showed up anyway and carried the champion through what was a pretty fun match.

D'lo worked like a trooper here, planting his opponent with an impressive Sky High and a sweet-looking tope before eventually powerbombing Henry off the middle rope and nailing him with the Lo Down frog splash to become European Champion for something like the 50th time.

If it wasn't for D'Lo, that would have sucked but, as it was, it turned into an enjoyable title match.
Your Winner and NEW European Champion: D'Lo Brown

WWE / WWF - Unforgiven 1999 - Michael Cole interviews The Acolytes
Out in the back, Michael Cole speculated that The Acolytes had met their match in recent WWF arrivals, The Dudley Boys.

Bradshaw disputed such claims, reminding cole that he and Farooq had already disposed of one ECW team (Public Enemy) and would soon destroy D'Von and Bubba Ray too.

For his part, Farooq played the race card, claiming that the only way The Dudleys and The Acolytes were a match was that both teams had one white and one black guy in the team.

Around the corner from this promo, a bunch of wrestlers beat up on Chaz Warrington owing to the fact that Chaz was rumored to have beaten up his girlfriend.

Man, what a horrible story that was.

Jarrett and Debra are over

WWE / WWF - Unforgiven 1999 - Lilian Garcia interviews Debra w/ Miss Kitty
Elsewhere in the building, Lilian Garcia interviewed Debra. With Miss Kitty standing by, Debra vowed that the first time Jeff Jarrett put his hands on her would be the last and that the two were definitely over. Jarrett, currently doing his misogynist thing, then stormed in, belittled Debra, and stormed off again with Kitty in tow.

This was followed by a quick look back to the moment on Smackdown when Chyna had stripped Jarrett of his pants, put them on herself and beat up the Intercontinental Champion.

The two would face off for the Intercontinental Championship in our next match.

World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Championship
WWF Intercontinental Champion Jeff Jarrett (w/ Miss Kitty) vs. Chyna

WWE / WWF - Unforgiven 1999 - Jeff Jarrett battles Chyna
On the surface, this looked like it could have been a good match. Jarrett and Chyna looked to have put some decent spots together, and the crowd popped big time for what was probably the first time all night whenever Chyna was in charge.

There was, however, something altogether off about this match, almost as though you were watching two rookies slowly walking through a meticulously planned-out sequence of moves that they were trying desperately not to mess up.

Honestly, it looked kind of fake, and that's not something you ever want from your pro wrestling.

In the end, scab referee Harvey Wippleman took a tumble, causing Mae Young and the Fabulous Moolah (who had both been beaten up by Jarrett) to run in and attempt to take him out. Jarrett however, clotheslined them out of their pantyhose then went for the Figure Four on Chyna, only for Debra to rush in and bash him over the head with his guitar.

Wippleman got up, Chyna made the cover, and three seconds later we had a new Intercontinental Champion...

...Except we didn't really because head scab referee Tom Pritchard came down and revealed to Wippleman what had really gone down.

The decision was reversed and Double J retained his title.
Your Winner and Still Intercontinental Champion: Jeff Jarrett

Afterwards, an angry Chyna beat up Pritchard and planted him with a pedigree.

Before the next match, we took a look back to that night's episode of Sunday Night Heat, during which Steve Austin -the special enforcer for the Unforgiven 1999 main event- promised that we would definitely have a new WWF Champion tonight.

The Dudley Boys (D-Von & Bubba Ray Dudley) vs. The Acolytes (Farooq & Bradshaw)

WWE / WWF - Unforgiven 1999 - Bubba Ray Dudley
Making their WWF PPV debut, the Dudley Boys were rocking the tye-dye and doing that whole thing where Bubba Ray had a stutter. Prior to the bell, they got on the microphone and said nothing interesting, then locked up with the Acolytes and proceeded to do nothing interesting.

I mean, this wasn't a horrible match, it just kind of had no life to it.

The crowd, who had been relatively quiet for most of the night, were absolutely dead. If you looked past the action into the audience, you could literally see people in watching the match without any emotion whatsoever. Not enjoyment, not even boredom.

In the end, Stevie Richards ran out dressed like an Acolyte and superkicked D-Von, allowing Farooq to pick up the win for his team.

What a big pile of meh that was.
Your Winners: The Acolytes

Post-match, Farooq and Bradshaw destroyed Stevie Richards.

Hardcore Match for the World Wrestling Federation Women's Championship
WWF Women's Champion Ivory vs. Luna Vachon

WWE / WWF - Unforgiven 1999 - Ivory defended the Women's title against Luna in a hardcore match
If you recall, Luna had returned back at Summerslam 1999 and stopped Ivory from attacking Tori. That set up a feud between the two ladies that I'm sure nobody remembers to this day.

That's sad too because I was -and still am- a big fan of Luna Vachon.

Though short, this match was actually a lot of fun. Neither lady held anything back. They threw TVs at each other, they threw telephones at each other, at one point, Luna slammed Ivory's face into a photocopier then later jumped off the top of a forklift and crashed onto Ivory for a two count.

A short while later, Tori came in to attack Ivory but immediately got her ass handed to her and ended up looking like an idiot.

Ivory then took the stick that Tori had tried to beat her up with, smashed Luna with it, and got the rather underwhelming pinfall.
Your Winner and still WWF Women's Champion: Ivory

Round the corner, Lilian Garcia advised Moolah and Mae Young to stay out of Jeff Jarrett's business. Before the two old women could fully respond, Ivory interrupted and got beat up until Sgt. Slaughter and a gaggle of officials came to the rescue.

World Wrestling Federation World Tag Team Championship
WWF World Tag Team Champions The New Age Outlaws vs. Edge & Christian

WWE / WWF - Unforgiven 1999 - WWF Tag Tam Champion The Road Dogg
It had only been two months ago, back at Fully Loaded 1999 that Road Dogg and Billy Gunn had been on opposite sides of the ring, fighting for the rights to the DX name along with Chyna and X-Pac.

Now, after Gunn's unsuccessful singles push, the two had been reunited and were once again your WWF Taaaaaaaaaag Teaaaam champions of the Worrrrrrrrrrrrrrrlllllllllllld.

With both teams sitting on the babyface side of the fence, it was up to Road Dogg to play his old, familiar role of face-in-peril while Edge and Christian dominated the bulk of the context.

The result was the best match on the card so far by a quarter mile.

OK, so it wasn't the greatest tag team match in history, but after what we'd seen so far, the level of enjoyment to be found here was very, very welcome.

Towards the finish, The New Brood (Gangrel and The Hardy Boyz) ran in and beat up Edge & Christian behind the referee's back, allowing Bad Ass Billy Gunn to pick up the three thanks to the Fame Asser.
Your Winners and Still WWF Tag Team Champions: The New Age Outlaws

Out in the back, British Bulldog and Triple H talked about Bulldog turning on The Rock to help Hunter beat him on Smackdown. Davey Boy and Trips seemed to have formed an alliance of sorts and told Lillian Garcia that both of them knew what they had to do in the upcoming six-pack challenge.

Kennel from Hell is Coming

WWE / WWF - Unforgiven 1999 - Al Snow faced Big Boss Man in a Kennel from Hell match
Out in the back, Michael Cole asked Big Boss Man if he regretted all the terrible things he'd done to Al Snow's dog, Pepper. Boss Man responded by threatening to shove his nightstick up Cole's butt, then promised us that the upcoming Kennel from Hell match was something we'd never forget.

He was right, of course, though the reasons we'll never forget this next contest probably aren't the same ones Boss Man was thinking of.

As the two cages were put in place for the match, Al Snow was interviewed by Lilian and got, really, really intense as he repeatedly called Boss Man fat and promised to make him pay.

Both men cut compelling promos here, but the whole storyline between was so ridiculous that it was impossible to take this seriously.

Kennel from Hell match for the World Wrestling Federation Hardcore Championship
WWF Hardcore Champion Al snow vs. Big Boss Man

WWE / WWF - Unforgiven 1999 - The awful Kennel from Hell match
So yeah, this happened. Basically, you had a Hell in a Cell structure around the old-school, blue-bar steel cage and, to win, you basically had to escape both cages.

Oh, and did I mention that between the two cages there were rottweilers?

Yep. This was supposed to be the big scary part - that the wrestlers didn't want to go where the dogs were because -shock horror- if they did, the dogs might attack them.

The whole match was sold on this, but then the rottweilers actually had handlers restraining them, so you never got the idea that Snow and Boss Man were ever in any real danger.

This is normally the part where I'd tell you what the actual action was like, but there barely was any.

Snow and Boss Man climbed around the cages a bit, then tried to make up for not doing very much by hitting each other really, really hard with the back end of a shovel.

It was brutal in more ways than one. In fact, it was so bad that even in the early going, JR & King all but publically apologized for what we were watching.

Though the crowd had been quiet for much of tonight, they outright booed the crap out of this one and were especially displeased when Al Snow managed to break free from being handcuffed to the corner and stop Boss Man climbing out of the top of the cage.

From there, Snow himself escaped both cages and this terrible atrocity was over.
Your Winner and Still WWF Hardcore Champion: Al Snow

Out in the back, Mankind promised Michael Cole that, despite his friendship with The Rock, he would have no problem laying the smackdown on his candy ass in the six-pack challenge. Hilariously, Mankind finished his entertaining promo by muttering "don't tell him I said that."

Chris Jericho (w/ Curtis Hughes) vs. X-Pac

WWE / WWF - Unforgiven 1999 - Chris Jericho faced X-Pac
After making his WWF PPV debut last month at Summerslam by trading words with The Road Dogg, Chris Jericho got set to meet the D-O-Double-G's DX buddy X-Pac in his first WWF PPV match.

Before he did, however, Y2J promised us that he was here to save us from this brutal, boring PPV.

Now, I know he only said that to get heel heat, but boring and brutal was a pretty good summary of this show so far.

Though the match wasn't the all-time classic you might have hoped for, it was still a tremendous effort and far surpassed the two's last PPV outing back at WCW Halloween Havoc 1996.

Rivalling the earlier tag team title match for MOTN honours, the only downfall was that the Charlotte crowd (who, I repeat, had been weird all night), spent most of the match distracted by something going on somewhere in the crowd.

Regardless, X-Pac and Jericho carried on and delivered a wonderful little match until Curtis Hughes came in on Jericho's behalf and decked scab referee Tom Pritchard.
Your Winner via Disqualification: X-Pac

Post-match, Road Dogg ran in to save Pac from a two-on-one beatdown at the hands of Y2J and Hughes.

Prior to the main event, we got a look at how the Six-Pack Challenge came about.

Six-Pack Challenge for the Vacant World Wrestling Federation Championship
The Rock vs. The British Bulldog vs. Mankind vs. The Big show vs. Triple H vs. Kane
Special Enforcer: Stone Cold Steve Austin

WWE / WWF - Unforgiven 1999 - Big Show puts a hurting on Kane
As all six men took turns in beating the hell out of each other, special enforcer Austin cracked open a case of beers and joined King & JR on commentary, proving that, if he'd wanted to, The Rattlesnake could have made an effective color guy post-retirement.

With him calling the action, Rock, Bulldog, Show, HHH, Kane, and Mankind developed a compelling main event that was just about as enjoyable as you were going to get in the Attitude Era.

A technical masterpiece?

No, of course, it wasn't, but it was very, very fun to watch.

At one point, the referees who had been on strike the entire evening came out to ringside to watch scab referee Jimmy Korderas do his thing. Later, when Big Show looked to have the match won thanks to a punishing chokeslam to Mankind, they dragged Korderas out of the ring and beat the hell out of him.

Since it cost him the WWF title, this understandably made Big Show mad, but damn if it wasn't funny to see Earl Hebner, Mike Chioda and Tim White go into a full-scale beat down mode.

Having seen enough, Austin left the commentary booth and laid waste to the referees before taking over the officiating itself as the match reached a rousing crescendo.

Bulldog laid out Rock with a chair, but before he could hit Hunter with one too, Austin grabbed it and walloped Davey Boy. Hunter covered Rock and arch-rival Austin made a reluctant three count.
Your Winner and NEW WWF Champion: Triple H

Post-match, Stone Cold stunned the new champion and left him laying in the middle of the ring.





It's fair to say that Unforgiven 1999 was a very mixed bag. The opening match was boring, the Kennel from Hell match was one of the worst things I've seen in 25+ years of being a wrestling fan, and the Acolytes/Dudleys debacle was something nobody needs to see.

Still, the tag team title match, X-Pac/Jericho and especially the main event made for fun viewing, perhaps not enough to make Unforgiven a must-see show, but at least enough to make it worth your while sitting through an otherwise lackluster show.



1999 events reviewed so far
Other WWE Unforgiven events
  1. WWF Unforgiven 1998
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    Retro Pro Wrestling

    New reviews of classic WWF/WWE events recalling every moment from Wrestlemania 1 - 30. You'll also find reviews of WCW, ECW, TNA and the occasional indie event, along with a look at old school magazines, merchandise and more.