Thursday, 17 October 2019

PPV REVIEW: WWF Armageddon 1999

WWE / WWF Armageddon 1999 - Event Poster
December 12, 1999
National Car Rental Center, Sunrise, Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Since they first launched them back in 1995, The World Wrestling Federation had never really seemed to care too much about their December pay per views.

Whether it was the Bulldog/Diesel fiasco back at In Your House 5: Seasons Beatings or Shawn Michaels taking on Ken Shamrock back at In Your House 19: D-Generation-X, the company's end-of-year offerings always gave you the impression that they'd turned on the autopilot button for the winter and were taking some well-earned downtime before the Royal Rumble.

While you can hardly blame them, that doesn't exactly fill this writer with a lot of confidence going into tonight's show.

Still, at least this one had some historical significance to it.

Apart from a year off in 2001 when in the wake of September 11th, it was changed to Vengence, Armageddon would go onto become the WWF's annual December PPV all the way until 2008.

But did this long-running PPV series get off to a good start?





Let's head to Sunrise, Florida to find out.

Triple H and Vince McMahon hate each other

WWE / WWF Armageddon 1999 - Jim Ross & Jerry 'The King' Lawler called the action
The show opened with an eerie video package in which a falsetto choir boy sang over shots of Vince McMahon and Triple H pulling faces to demonstrate the intensity of their various emotions.

This was all put together to remind us, in a somewhat subtle way, that Triple H had drugged Stephanie McMahon and married her - a somewhat dubious start to WWE's longest running partnership to say the least.

Clearly angry that Andrew 'Test' Martin wasn't going to be the man to eventually launch NXT and have five-hour long epic matches at Wrestlemania every year, Vince McMahon had begun a war with Hunter which would hopefully be settled tonight when the two met in no holds barred match.

From there, the cameras panned the arena as a very excited Jim Ross and Jerry 'The King' Lawler welcomed us to the show and took us straight into our first match.

Sixteen Man Tag Team Battle Royal
The Dudley Boyz (D-Von & Bubba Ray Dudley) vs. Edge & Christian vs. The Headbangers (Mosh & Thrasher) vs. The Hardys (Matt & Jeff Hardy) vs. The Mean Street Possee (Pete Gas & Rodney) vs. The Acolytes (Farooq & Bradshaw) vs. Too Cool (Scotty Too Hotty & Grandmaster Sexay) vs. The Godfather & 'Sexual Chocolate' Mark Henry

The winner receives a tag team title shot at the Royal Rumble
When one member of a team is eliminated, both have to leave the ring.


WWE / WWF Armageddon 1999 - Bubba Ray Dudley
Battle royals are rarely all that exciting to watch until the finish, and this one was no exception.

Yes, there's always the novelty of seeing the ring entirely filled with people, but nothing much exciting happens until you get down to the final.

In this instance, it came down to The Hardys vs. The Acolytes who managed to put together a very entertaining finish. At one point, both Bradshaw and Matt Hardy went over the ropes at the same time, leaving Jeff Hardy to battle it out with Farooq.

Hardy sent Farooq sailing over the ropes with a flying headscissors, but the referee was too busy tending to Matt Hardy to see it.

All four men returned to the ring until both Matt and Bradshaw ended up on the apron, at which point Farooq sent Jeff flying through the air to the outside in order to win the match.
Your Winners: The Acolytes

Out in the back, Kurt Angle bragged to Lillian Garcia about still being undefeated in the World Wrestling Federation despite losing a tag team match to The Dudleys on Smackdown.

According to Angle, the loss was all Steve Blackman's fault, and since it was The Lethal Weapon who ate the pin, Kurt's record stayed unblemished.

Kurt Angle vs. Steve Blackman

WWE / WWF Armageddon 1999 - Kurt Angle faced Steve Blackman
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, one month after debuting at the 1999 Survivor Series, Kurt Angle, Olympic Hero, future WWF Hall of Famer and one of the greatest of all time found himself in a feud with...Steve Blackman.

Talk about an underwhelming start.

Here, the two locked up in what was a pretty mediocre match that elicited a 'boring' chant from the Florida faithful.

Though I wouldn't go quite as far as to call it boring, I will admit that this one was pretty forgettable.

In fact, the best part of the whole thing was Kurt Angle's over-the-top celebration, acting like he'd just won another gold medal when all he'd done was pin Blackman with a German suplex.
Your Winner: Kurt Angle

Post-match, The Lethal Weapon blasted Angle with a pair of nun-chucks, much to the crowd's delight.

Cole has a crush on B.B

Meanwhile, out in the back, Michael Cole got all tongue-tied and flabberghasted while trying to interview B.B about her upcoming evening gown match.

At one point, she asked him for help with fastening up her dress and poor ol' Cole turned into a gibbering goofball.

World Wrestling Federation Women's Championship Evening Gown Pool Match
WWF Women's Champion Ivory vs. Miss Kitty vs. Jacqueline vs. B.B

WWE / WWF Armageddon 1999 - Miss KittySpecial referees: Mae Young & Fabulous Moolah

#WomensRevolution

Honestly, Ivory and Jacqueline probably deserve their Hall of Fame inductions on the basis of having to suffer the indignity of this match.

That's if you can even call it a match. The four women basically chased each other around a giant paddling pool for three minutes then stripped each other to their bra and panties.

Eventually, Miss Kitty pulled off Ivory's dress to be crowned our new women's champion.

There was nothing sexy, or even entertaining, about it.
Your Winner and NEW WWF Women's Champion: Miss Kitty

Post-match, the new champion celebrated by reminding us that she had promised to get naked. She then proceeded to strip and flash us her boobs, only for Sgt. Slaughter to cover her up with a towel and whisk her backstage.

Not to be outdone, Mae Young claimed that we all wanted to see her naked and started to undress, only for Slaughter to carry her away too.

Admittedly, this fan laughed out loud at the Mae Young bit, but that was only because she played her part with such conviction that you couldn't help but laugh.

He did it for The Rock the fat people

WWE / WWF Armageddon 1999 - Kevin Kelly interviews Rikishi Phatu
Out in the back, Kevin Kelly interviewed a stern-faced Rikishi Fatu.

Kelly asked Rikishi why he thought The Hollys had developed such a problem with him since his recent arrival in the WWF. The big man reminded us that Bob and Crash had been mouthing off about his size, and the size of his upcoming tag team partner, Viscera, then claimed to represent "all the fat, healthy people."

Rikishi was pretty compelling here, even if his storyline with Viscera and The Hollys was completely uninteresting.

The Holly Cousins (Bob & Crash Holly) vs. Viscera & Rikishi Fatu

WWE / WWF Armageddon 1999 - Rikishi and Viscera faced The Hollys
There are some matches which sound pretty dull on paper but then actually surprise you.

This wasn't one of those matches.

The story was that Viscera and Rikishi didn't really get along, but were teaming up because they were both fat. That's literally the whole point of their union.

They tried their best to take out The Holly cousins in what was yet another very mediocre battle, with Rikishi even pulling out his Rikishi Drop. Sadly, it wasn't enough for the win as straight after he hit the move, the Hollys pulled out a fluke pinfall.
Your Winners: The Hollys

Afterwards, Rikishi and Viscera predictably came to blows, with 'Kish kicking Vis out of the ring.

Pretty sure there wasn't a single person in the world who cared about this.

Val seduces Lillian

WWE / WWF Armageddon 1999 - Val Venis seduced Lillian Garcia
Out in the back, Lillian Garcia reminded Val Vanis that he had once been the Intercontinental Champion and that tonight, he had the opportunity to become the European Champion.

Val responded by promising to win the title then head over to Europe and seduce all of the continent's most beautiful women.

Proving the bilingual prowess that should serve him well when he went to Spain, The Big Valbowski began speaking Spanish to Lillian and managed to seduce her.

She wrapped her arm around Val's and off they went together. To give Venis his credit, he was very charismatic here and delivered an entertaining segment.

World Wrestling Federation European Championship Triple Threat
WWF European Champion The British Bulldog (w/ The Mean Street Posse) vs. D'Lo Brown vs. Val Venis

WWE / WWF Armageddon 1999 - European Champion British Bulldog w/ The Mean Street Posse
Prior to the bell, Jim Ross told us that D'Lo Brown was the only person to hold both the European and Intercontinental Championships at the same time, proving that Jeff Jarrett (who also held that honour) was persona non grata within the WWF.

Since he didn't yet have the authority to book tag team matches, referee Teddy Long sent The Mean Street Posse to the back as soon as they arrived, leaving The British Bulldog to defend his title by himself.

The resulting match was the best thing on the card so far, but that really isn't saying much of anything.

It had some fun spots, like D'Lo Brown's super plancha to the outside and the finish, in which D'Lo hit Bulldog with his frog splash, only for Val to Money Shot them both and win the match.

It was kind of entertaining, but the more I think about it, anything was going to look entertaining compared to the snoozefest the entire undercard had been so far.
Your Winner and NEW WWF European Champion: Val Venis

WWE / WWF Armageddon 1999 - Michael Cole interviews X-Pac
Out in the back, X-Pac told Kevin Kelly that since Kane had demanded a cage match against him, he (Pac) had a demand of his own.

He demanded that while he could win via pinfall or cage escape, Kane was only allowed to win via pinfall. Apparently, that demand had been accepted by The Big Red Machine.

You know, I'm a huge fan of Sean Waltman, but most of his promos were terrible, this one included.


Steel Cage Match
Kane (w/ Tori) vs. X-Pac

This was the first truly good match on the card and very enjoyable performance from start to finish.

X-Pac was the consummate heel here, getting his DX buddies The New Age Outlaws to break into the cage and hand him a steel chair. He used that before drilling Tori with the X-Factor when she tried to stop him escaping the cage.

Pac then tried escaping again, only this time, Kane left the cage via the door (which had been busted open by The Outlaws), caught his opponent on his shoulders and carried him back into the ring.

Then, he climbed all the way to the top of the cage and came crashing down on X-Pac with a wicked looking clothesline that got the live crowd more excited than they'd been all evening.

One tombstone later and this very fun match was at its end.
Your Winner: Kane

Up next, we got a look at the rivalry between Chris Jericho and Chyna. Those two would duke it out next.

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

WWE / WWF Armageddon 1999 - Chyna defended the Intercontinental Championship against Chris Jericho
Though this match will have its detractors (as all matches do),  it was actually a very good outing for Jericho and Chyna.

The former worked hard to be a complete and utter bastard, at one point snogging Miss Kitty before turning his attention to Chyna's injured thumb and just destroying it.

Meanwhile, the valiant champion fought back with all that she had, resulting in a dramatic and thoroughly engaging contest.

Unfortunately, it wasn't to be Chyna's night and she eventually surrendered to the Walls of Jericho.
Your Winner and NEW WWF Intercontinental Champion: Chris Jericho

Out in the back, Jericho bragged to Michael Cole about his new title, only to be interrupted by Chyna.

In a display of true sportswomanship, The Ninth Wonder of the World extended her hand as a mark of respect to Jericho. Y2J accepted it and was baffled when Chyna simply walked away rather than wanting to fight some more.

World Wrestling Federation Tag Team Championship
WWF Tag Team Champions The New Age Outlaws (Road Dogg Jesse James & Bad Ass Billy Gunn) vs. The Rock & Sock Connection (Mankind & The Rock)

WWE / WWF Armageddon 1999 - The Rock & Sock Connection faced The New Age Outlaws
Nobody involved in this one had the best match of their career here, but it was still a pretty decent effort for what it was.

Not that it started off that way. The only thing that garnered any reaction from the crowd at all was The Rock tagging in, after which it went back to being a generic tag team match for a bit.

Then, Al Snow ran in and things started to pick up. No, I'm not saying Al Snow was the reason things started to get good, more than his arrival was the cue for the wrestlers to start working towards the finish.

Snow was jealous of Mankind's success and partnership with The Rock. He attacked him here but got his ass handed to him by The Rock instead.

Back in the ring, Mankind barely escaped a couple of near falls then, just when it looked like Rock & Sock had won the thing, Al Snow returned to cause the DQ.

It was a smart move. Nobody would have believed The Outlaws getting a clean win over The Rock while nobody wanted to see The Great One saddled with the tag team titles either.

Not the best match ever, but it could have been worse.
Your Winners via DQ: The Rock & Sock Connection

Up next, we got a look back at that terrible feud between The Big Show and The Big Boss Man. You remember the one, right? Where Big Boss Man revealed that Big Boss Man was a "nasty bastard" whose "fake daddy" had died?

Yeah. That would all come to an end tonight.

World Wrestling Federation Championship
WWF Champion The Big Show vs. The Big Boss Man (w/ Prince Albert)

WWE / WWF Armageddon 1999 - WWF Champion The Big Show defended his title against Big Boss Man
It's only when you watch this back that you realise how badly the WWF screwed up Big Show.

He looked to be in the best shape of his life here, was the WWF Champion, and yet his first PPV title defence was basically a three-minute squash match to end a really terrible feud.

Big Show won with a chokeslam.

Nothing about this was good.
Your Winner and Still WWF champion.

Up next, we took a look at the hatred that had been building between Vince McMahon and his new son-in-law, Triple H.

No Holds Barred Match
Triple H vs. Vince McMahon

WWE / WWF Armageddon 1999 - Triple H and Stephanie McMahon join forces for the first time
If Vince wins, Triple H's marriage to Stephanie is annulled. If Hunter wins, he gets a WWF title shot.

With his daughter's freedom on the line, Vince McMahon really went for Triple H, but was no match for his powerful opponent, even when he started to use the trolly full of weapons that Mankind helpfully brought to the ring in the early going.

Watching this, you got what they were going for:

A dramatic, epic battle for the ages that tugged at the emotions and had you on the edge of your seat, rooting for Vince to give Triple H what was coming to him.

Instead, all that you got was 30 minutes of Hunter beating McMahon to a pulp and Vince occasionally getting a shot or two in.

At one point, they left the arena and Triple H tried to run his opponent over with a car. Vince escaped with his life, then the two climbed all the way to to the top of some big tower by the entrance and HHH knocked Vince off it. Those were the only two high points of the match, and even they couldn't stop the majority of this match from boring the arse off everyone who would ever watch it until the end of time.

At the finish, Triple H looked to finish off Vince with his sledgehammer but McMahon countered with a low blow, grabbed the sledgehammer and looked to seal Helmsley's fate.

Instead, Stephanie Mcmahon -who had been watching from the front row- stepped into the ring and begged her Dad to let her to the honours. Yet alas, the younger McMahon couldn't bring herself to do it. HHH snatched the hammer from her and laid out Vince for the win.
Your Winner: Triple H

Post-match, Helmsley lifted the sledgehammer aloft as though to bring it crashing down on Stephanie's skull. The heiress to the WWF empire stared down The Game then smiled a wicked, evil smile and embraced him, celebrating with her husband, the once and future King of Kings, as Armageddon 1999 went off the air.





And so it turned out that tonight wasn't important just because it was the start of a PPV series that would run for nigh on a decade, but because it marked the start of The McMahon-Helmsley Era, the reign of WWE's power couple that is still wielding control over their empire some 20 years later.

Not that such historical events make up for Armageddon being a pretty lousy show.

Yes, there were some great moments in the cage match, the Intercontinental match and, to a lesser extent, the tag team title match, but there was far too much stuff here that just bored your writer -and the Florida crowd- to tears. If that's not proof that the company were still in the habit of going on autopilot in December, I don't know what is.



1999 events reviewed so far
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    Retro Pro Wrestling

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