The 12th SummerSlam occurred when WWE was crushing WCW in the Monday Night Wars and business was going very well. In terms of show quality, I thought 1999 was a down year with one of the worst Royal Rumbles and just an average WrestleMania 15. Financially speaking, it was one of the best years in WWE history with huge gates as well as big buyrates for the monthly PPVs.
While 1999 was very profitable for WWE, it wasn’t the best year in terms of matches. Vince McMahon was still the boss in charge of creative while Vince Russo and Ed Ferrara had become the head writers under him with a lot of influence. The Russo style of booking was called “Crash TV” with a lot of short segments that were more violent, raunchy and sometimes really stupid. I still enjoy most of 1999 WWE, but the match quality was at a low point. Russo and Ferrara ended up leaving in October 1999 and I thought 2000 was WWE’s best year ever.
Steve Austin was still the man in WWE although by this point there were a lot of reports about his neck injury bugging him a lot. The Rock turned face after his Backlash 1999 match with Austin, so he was firmly entrenched as the #2 face and poised to become the top face after that. Triple H was one of the top heels by this point. He hadn’t won his first WWE Title yet, but he got to main event this show to go for it.
There was a bit of controversy with this show because Jesse Ventura (former WWE wrestler and announcer) was the Governor of Minnesota at the time and the show took place in Minneapolis. Ventura was announced as the referee for the main event. A lot of people complained about it, but Ventura said he would do it and that it was a Sunday, so it’s not like he had work anyway. I thought it was a smart move on WWE’s part.
I was fully entrenched in the “Internet Wrestling Community” in 1999. I was almost 19 years old and everybody was starting to get on the internet at home. Writing about wrestling also became a hobby for me. I had no idea I’d still be doing it 18 years later, but here I am reviewing SummerSlam 1999 in 2017. Let’s roll.
WWE SummerSlam 1999
Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota
August 22, 1999
The opening video package focused on Austin vs. Triple H vs. Mankind with Jesse Ventura as the referee. It featured some controversial moments of past referees like Mike Tyson (more of special enforcer), Vince McMahon and Shane McMahon. It ended with Ventura’s promo about being the referee, so it made Ventura look like the biggest star.
The pyro went off in the arena, which was full of signs and a loud crowd in Minneapolis. I noticed a “Big Show = Fat Bastard” sign in the crowd.
The announce team of Jim Ross and Jerry “The King” Lawler welcomed us to the show mentioning the six title matches and Jesse Ventura refereeing the main event. Ross mentioned they sold out the show in less than an hour.
Jesse Ventura was backstage with Triple H and Chyna. Jesse said he’s law and order in the main event. Ventura said the pinfall will take place in the ring. Triple H told him he can make the rules, but he’ll break them if he wants. Hunter left.
Chris Jericho was shown earlier in the day with Howard Finkel, who he called “Harold” and was his assistant at this point. Jericho debuted in WWE a few weeks earlier.
Jeff Jarrett made his entrance with Debra, who was his valet that showed off a lot of cleavage including a lovely blue outfit for this event. Massive ovation from the crowd, mostly for her since Jeff was a heel. Her gimmick was she was the manager that liked to show off her body to distract his opponents to help him win, but he was jealous of the attention she was getting. Jeff sent her to the back. Fans chanted “Asshole” at Jarrett.
Analysis: Debra was a favorite of mine, no question about it. She was dating Steve Austin by this point and they got married about a year later. They were divorced in 2002 after a domestic incident.
There was a shot of Debra backstage with D-Lo Brown and she asked him if she could go to ringside with her. D-Lo said sure, so off they went. Lawler was going nuts on commentary yelling about “puppies” at her. Brown was the Intercontinental and European Champion at the time. Debra got a massive ovation with Brown while Jarrett was furious about it.
Analysis: The “puppies” name was used to mention her boobs. It was actually coined by Road Dogg on a Raw in April 1999 because he’s the “D-O-G-G” and he asked to see her puppies. Some people think Lawler came up with it, but it was a Road Dogg line. Lawler just shouted “puppies” to refer to boobs for many years.
Intercontinental and European Championship: D-Lo Brown (w/Debra) vs. Jeff Jarrett
(Pre-show notes: Brown was the face that held both titles. Brown beat Jarrett for the IC Title a few weeks earlier. Jarrett was the heel.)
Running forearm from Brown early on. Brown hit a powerslam for a two count. Jarrett did his leaping spot right into a spinebuster. It would be like he was trying to a do a hurricanrana, but he never did it and it was just a way to set up a slam. Suplex by Brown, who was in full control until he jumped off the ropes and Jarrett slammed him down. Dropkick by Jarrett sent Brown to the floor. Jarrett yelled at Debra on the floor. They battled on the floor with Brown hitting a clothesline that sent Jarrett over the guard rail to the floor. Jarrett recovered by sending Brown into the ring apron and also into the ring post. Jarrett with a one armed slam as the camera zoomed in on Debra again (good job by them) and the fans chanted “we want puppies.” Back to the match, Brown hit a running sitout Powerbomb followed by a tilt-a-whirl slam. Brown with a jumping heel kick, body slam and leg drop for two. Back suplex by Brown. Brown up top, he jumped off and Jarrett moved to avoid the Frog Splash attack. Debra on the apron, Jarrett grabbed the guitar, the ref held Jarrett back as he argued with Debra and Mark Henry went into the ring to grab the guitar from Jarrett. Henry hit Brown in the back with the guitar and the ref didn’t see it (or hear it apparently), so when Jarrett covered the ref was there to count the pin at 7:28.
Winner by pinfall and New Intercontinental & European Champion: Jeff Jarrett
Post match, Debra hugged Jarrett and they were laughing to show that it was all their plan that worked to perfection.
Analysis: **1/2 Decent match with a swerve finish. The finish worked because Henry was the long-time tag team partner of Brown, Henry got hurt and when he came back, people figured he’d be with Brown again. Debra was also part of the swerve because it was done to trick Brown. I thought the finish was done well.
Edge and Christian were interviewed by Michael Cole. They talked about how they are ready for tag team turmoil.
Tag Team Turmoil
Two teams start the match. One team wins and moves on while the other team is eliminated. Winners of the TTT get a tag team title shot.
TTT: Edge & Christian vs. The Hardy Boyz aka The New Brood (w/Gangrel)
(Pre-match notes: Edge and Christian were faces that were aligned with Gangrel. Hardys were portrayed as heels with Gangrel, but it didn’t last long and Hardys were mostly faces.)
Double hip toss from Edge and Christian on Matt. Gangrel did a cheap punch to the head of Christian while Jeff distracted the ref leading to a rollup from mat. Double team face first slam from the Hardys on Christian. Jeff hit a springboard moonsault for two on Christian. Hardys did the Poetry in Motion move that didn’t have a name at this point, but it led to Jeff hit a leaping leg lariat on Christian. Matt hit a suplex, Jeff went up top and hit what would become known as the Swanton Bomb on Christian as Edge broke up the pin. Christian hit a double reverse DDT on the Hardys leading to a hot tag to Edge to a huge pop. Edge was on fire until Matt dumped Edge to the floor. Edge and Jeff did a spot where both guys ran the barricade leading to Edge hitting a Spear on Jeff. Cool spot. Christian hit a cross body block onto Gangrel on the floor. Matt hit a moonsault off the top onto Christian on the floor. Edge back in with a face first slam on Matt when Matt was on his shoulders. Christian jumped off the top with an elbow drop and pinned Matt to eliminate them. It went 7:30.
Winners by pinfall: Edge & Christian
Analysis: *** That was really exciting and a good match between two young tag teams that ended up becoming two of the best teams in WWE history. Two months later at No Mercy 1999, they would have their breakout match in the first ever tag team ladder match won by the Hardys. That match was my WWE Match of the Year in 1999. This match was a nice tease of what was to come down the road.
TTT: Edge & Christian vs. Viscera & Mideon
Viscera sent Christian into the turnbuckle and hit a Samoan Drop. Mideon tagged in to do some choking on Christian followed by a knee drop. Mideon went for a move off the middle ropes, but Christian moved and brought in Edge. Running clothesline from Edge followed by a back body drop. Viscera in the ring, Edge clothesline did nothing and Viscera hit a running heel kick to knock Edge down. Edge put Mideon in the way of a Viscera splash. Double shoulder block by E&C sent Viscera to the floor. Edge hit spear on Mideon and pinned him at 2:02.
Winners by pinfall: Edge & Christian
Analysis: 1/2* The heels controlled about a minute of action, Edge got the tag and he worked well with Christian to win. Crowd loved it.
TTT: Edge & Christian vs. Droz & Prince Albert
Double clothesline by E&C sent Albert over the top to the floor. Droz hit a running back elbow on Edge. Albert sent Edge into the corner and missed a running attack in the corner. Albert came back by putting Edge on his shoulders and hitting a neckbreaker to bring him down as Christian broke up a pin. Droz missed an attack on Christian, so Christian came back with a cross body block to take out Droz on the floor. Edge hit the Downward Spiral on Albert to pin him at 1:50.
Winners by pinfall: Edge & Christian
Analysis: 1/2* Another quick match where the heels didn’t do much in terms of making the crowd believe they could win. Nice comeback by E&C again.
TTT: The Acolytes (Faarooq & Bradshaw) vs. Edge & Christian
Bradshaw hit a boot to the face of Edge in the ring while Faarooq went after Christian on the floor. Edge hit a neckbreaker on Bradshaw. Edge up top and he connected with a missile dropkick. Edge did some corner punches, so Bradshaw did a Powerbomb out of the corner for two. Spinning heel kick by Edge on Faarooq. Bradshaw decked Christian while he was on the apron and Bradshaw hit a back suplex for a two count. Backbreaker by Farooq earned a two count. Spinebuster by Faarooq that looked very impressive. Dominator attempt by Farooq, but Edge slipped out of it with a DDT. Christian tagged in with dropkicks for both heels and a double clothesline with Edge on Farooq. Edge dropkick on Bradshaw. Christian went up top, Faarooq tripped him up and Christian got a great nearfall with a Tornado DDT on Bradshaw. Edge slammed Christian onto Bradshaw and the Holly Cousins ran down to the ring. Christian with a running splash on Faarooq in the corner. When Christian turned around, Bradshaw nailed him with a Clothesline from Hell for the pin as Farooq held Edge to prevent the pin breakup. It went 4:57.
Winners by pinfall: The Acolytes
Analysis: ** It was decent. I thought the finish was booked well with Bradshaw recovering and Christian walking right into the Clothesline from Hell. Great showing by E&C on this show.
TTT: The Acolytes vs. Hardcore & Crash Holly
This is the last match in the TTT.
Hardcore went after Bradshaw on the floor. Faarooq with a shoulder block on Crash in the ring. Hardcore sent Bradshaw into the ring post. Faarooq hit a Dominator on Crash in the ring, so Hardcore went after him. Bradshaw back in the ring as the Acolytes hit a double shoulder block. Hardcore nailed a suplex on Faarooq. Crash tagged himself in and Faarooq hit a clothesline on Crash and dumped Crash to the floor. Back in the ring, Bradshaw with a neckbreaker on Crash. Hardcore tagged in with a clothesline. The Holly cousins argued with Hardcore kicking Crash in the face. Faarooq recovered and hit a Spinebuster on Hardcore leading to the pin for the win. It went 3:09.
Winners by pinfall: The Acolytes
Analysis: *1/4 Easy win for the more dominant team. The Hollys fighting eachother was their downfall. They weren’t really cousins, in case you were wondering.
Winners of Tag Team Turmoil: The Acolytes
The win meant that The Acolytes got a Tag Team Title shot on Raw the next night. They did not win the titles in that match.
There was a shot of The Undertaker and Big Show walking backstage together.
Al Snow was backstage with his little dog Pepper. Snow talked to the dog and acted as if the dog was talking back to him.
Road Dogg walked out in his street clothes as he did his entrance to a big ovation. Dogg went into the ring and said he’s going to get his Hardcore Title back on Raw.
Chris Jericho’s countdown played as Jericho made his WWE pay-per-view debut. He started on WWE’s main roster a few weeks earlier. Jericho appeared on a stage near the entrance area.
Jericho said he was disappointed because WWE put on this PPV called Summer-Sham and the people were conned into wasting their money. Jericho mentioned the boring list of matches while noting the worst of which is standing in the ring right now. Jericho told Road Dogg that nobody cares about him. Jericho ripped on Road Dogg for his stupid clothing and Stevie Wonder hairstyle. Jericho noted that Degeneration X sucks, Road Dogg sucks and now that Jericho is there to save the WWF, Road Dogg and others in the locker room will never bore these people again. Dogg: “Why don’t you shut up, bitch?” Dogg said he’s got two words for him: “Suck it.” Dogg’s music played to end it.
Analysis: It was just a way to kill a few minutes and get Jericho on the show. The material in the promo wasn’t very good. Just average. I thought Jericho should have been in a match at this show. There was no good reason for him not to be in a match.
Road Dogg joined the commentary team for the next match.
Snow was shown backstage putting Pepper the dog in a doggy cage backstage.
Snow waited for Big Boss Man by the entrance area and he jumped on Boss Man with a cross body block.
Hardcore Championship: Big Boss Man vs. Al Snow
(Pre-match notes: Boss Man was the heel champion and Snow was the face challenger.)
Road Dogg had a microphone and followed the wrestlers backstage as they brawled. Boss Man threw a chalk board onto Snow. Boss Man hit him with the doggy cage (dog wasn’t in it). Boss Man hit Snow in the back with a crutch two times. They ended up brawling out of the building were fighting across the street. Snow actually pinned Boss Man on the sidewalk for two. They went over to a bar with some drunks outside. They went into the bar to continue the fight. Snow nailed Boss Man with some uppercuts. The bar patrons were cheering them and chanting “Head” as well. They each hit eachother in the back with pool sticks. The fight continued into the bathroom briefly. Boss Man drove Snow’s back of the head into the wall repeatedly. Snow hit Boss Man with a beer bottle and a fan had a chain that Snow used to choke Boss Man. Snow went up to the bar, jumped off with a moonsault and Boss Man moved out of the way, so Snow went through a table. Boss Man hit Snow with a beer bottle to the head. Boss Man shoved Road Dogg, so Road Dogg hit Boss Man in the back with a nightstick. Snow grabbed two pool balls and hit Boss Man in the groin with them. Snow pinned Boss Man on the pool table and covered him to win the match at 7:25 with ref Teddy Long counting the pin on the table.
Winner by pinfall and new Hardcore Champion: Al Snow
Analysis: **1/4 It was fine for the time given. The match was common for what we were used to in that era of Hardcore matches. They worked hard, so give them credit for that at least.
Post match, Snow ran back across the street towards the arena. Snow ran into Stevie Richards and the Blue Meanie, so Snow beat them up with crutches in the backstage area.
Analysis: Sadly, the feud between Snow and Boss Man continued leading to Boss Man killing Pepper the dog, feeding it to snow and that led to the infamous Kennel in a Cell match at Unforgiven 1999 that is one of the worst matches ever.
Backstage, Ventura talked to Mankind and told Mankind that he’s going to call the match down the middle with the pinfall taking place in the ring.
Ivory made her entrance. A clip aired of Ivory attacking Tori on Heat a few weeks earlier with Ivory writing “SLUT” on Tori’s stomach and “SKANK” on her back with shoe polish.
Analysis: What a great storyline huh? Not really.
WWE Women’s Championship: Ivory vs. Tori
(Pre-match notes: Ivory was the heel champion and Tori was the face challenger although neither woman was getting much of a reaction. Tori was the Sable stalker that started earlier in the year.)
Tori was aggressive early with a powerslam as JR said this won’t be a scientific matchup even though they are actually trained wrestlers. Way to have faith, JR. Ivory sent Tori into the ring post. Back in the ring, back elbow by Ivory. Tori came back with a two vertical suplexes and a dropkick for two. Ivory took control with a grab of the hair into a bulldog type move. No reaction for any of this. Weak leg drop by Ivory. Swing by Ivory into a slam for two. They messed up a corner whip spot and Tori came back with a Spear. Tori grabbed Ivory around the waist leading to a slam across the ring. Tori hit a cross body block off the second rope for a two count to no reaction. Tori hit a sunset flip, Ivory sat on top of her and that was likely the finish, but they messed it up as Ivory rolled off. Ivory sat on top for the cover and the win at 4:11.
Winner by pinfall: Ivory
Analysis: -* This was painfully bad. They messed up a couple of spots including the finish. Like I said they were trained wrestlers, but it didn’t look like it. The crowd hated the match too.
Post match, Ivory took down Tori. Ivory took off Tori’s top by taking off the strap on the back as Tori was face down on the mat. Luna ran out to save Tori. Luna chased Ivory to the back. Tori was left in the ring with her hand covering her chest and holding her top.
Analysis: I have no memory of this or what happened next. The women’s division was not very good in 1999. That’s putting it mildly.
The Rock was interviewed by Michael Cole backstage. The Rock took the microphone as he spoke about how he didn’t care about Billy Gunn’s surprise. Rock said that every Rock fan is going to stand on their feet and chant “Rocky” for him. Rock said the millions and millions of Rock fans are going to chant his name if ya smell what The Rock is cooking.
Billy Gunn had somebody walking with him and that person had a cover on them, so we couldn’t see who it was.
There was a video package about the intense rivalry between Ken Shamrock and Steve Blackman leading to a Lion Den’s Weapons Match.
Lion’s Den Weapons Match: Ken Shamrock vs. Steve Blackman
(Pre-match notes: Shamrock was the face and Blackman was the heel.)
The Lion’s Den was positioned to the left of the entrance area. There was a stage above the cage with referee Jimmy Korderas on there.
Blackman hit Shamrock in the leg with the nunchucks. Blackman choked him with a nunchuck around his throat. Takedown by Shamrock into an armbar. Shamrock tossed the nunchucks out of the cage. Shamrock tossed Blackman face first into the cage. Shamrock whipped Blackman into the cage leading to a kick to the face by Shamrock. There was a kendo stick above the cage, so Shamrock grabbed it. Blackman sent Shamrock into the cage a couple of times. Atomic drop by Blackman. There were some sticks that Blackman grabbed and used them to hit Shamrock repeatedly. Blackman whipped Shamrock into the cage, so Shamrock climbed the cage and hit a forearm to knock Blackman down. Back suplex by Shamrock. Blackman came back with a DDT and both guys were down. Powerslam by Shamrock. Blackman nailed an enziguri kick to the head. Blackman grabbed a kendo stick and hit Shamrock in the chest with it. Blackman nailed Shamrock with a hard stick shot to the head. After some selling, Shamrock got back to his feet with a belly to belly suplex followed by the yell. Shamrock nailed Blackman with three kendo stick shots to the body. Shamrock hit another kendo stick shot to the head. Blackman was staggering, so Shamrock hit him with the kendo stick again. Blackman was out in the ring and the bell rang, so Shamrock was declared the winner.
Winner by knockout: Ken Shamrock
Analysis: **1/4 Tough match to rate because it’s in the Lion’s Den rather than a ring. I thought Shamrock/Owen one year earlier was better. Blackman wasn’t the worker Owen was obviously. There were some slow spots in the match, but some of the violence helped carry it.
Test was shown backstage, Kevin Kelly tried to interview him, but Test said talking time is over. Test entered with his ribs taped because Shane attacked him earlier in the night.
Shane McMahon entered to the “No Chance in Hell” song that was Vince’s theme song. Shane didn’t have his song yet. The Mean Street Posse trio of Joey Abs (with cast on ankle), Pete Gas (with neck brace) and Rodney (with arm in sling) were there.
Analysis: Pete and Rodney were legitimately two of Shane’s best friends. Joey Abs was a wrestler signed to be a part of the group. They were selling injuries after Test attacked them all separately.
Greenwich Street Fight: Test vs. Shane McMahon
(Pre-match notes: Test was the face and Shane was the heel that didn’t want Test dating his sister Stephanie. Shane was introduced as a regular character in 1998 and Stephanie a few months before this. Shane had his first match a few months earlier at WrestleMania, but he showed he was capable in the ring.)
Test was aggressive early on. Test sent Shane into the ring steps and then sent Shane over the barricade into the crowd. Clothesline by Shane when they were by the barricade to knock Test down. Shane tried a diving attack, but Test caught him with a powerslam. The Posse was at ringside on a couch drinking champagne. Test shoved the Posse guys. Test tossed Shane onto the Posse at ringside. Stephanie was shown watching backstage looking happy. The Posse guys joined in the fight by attacking Test. Shane hit Test in the face with a MSP sing as well as a “Do Not Enter” street sign that Shane used to hit Test in the back. Shane grabbed a framed photo of the Posse that he used to hit Test over the head with it, which broke the frame. They use sugar glass for spots like that. Shane got a two count back in the ring. Leaping back elbow by Shane. Shane went up top, he did some flip, Test moved and Shane hit the mat hard. Shane tried a leap frog, Test caught him and hit a Powerbomb. Rodney distracted the ref, which led to a delayed two count for Test. Shane ducked a Test kick that led to Test nailing ref Mike Chioda with a big boot, so the ref was out. They were on the floor with Test nailing Shane with the Do Not Enter street sign. Body slam by Test on the floor. The Posse guys went after Test outside the ring. They were all faking their injuries. The Posse cleared off the Spanish announce table and put Test on it after they beat on him. Shane went to the top rope, jumped off and connected with an elbow drop off the top rope through the announce table. Huge spot at that time and really at any time. Shane nailed it perfectly. Stephanie was shocked while watching backstage.
The Posse guys rolled Test and Shane back in the ring. Shane did a pin with one arm for a two count. Gas went into the ring and hit Shane with a street sign. Test covered, but Abs pulled Shane out of the ring. Rodney into the ring and he hit Test in the head with his cast while the ref was looking at Abs, so that led to a two count. The duo of Pat Patterson and Gerald Brisco went to ringside to beat up Gas and Rodney using street signs. Test hit a boot to a chair to the face of Abs to take him out. Shane hit the ring post after a charge. Test hit a pumphandle slam. Test went up top and hit an elbow drop for the pinfall win at 12:14. The crowd loved it.
Winner by pinfall: Test
Analysis: ***1/4 It was a fun match in front of a hot crowd that exceeded expectations. Test was still early in his career and Shane was far from proven, but they set it up really well with a lot of cool spots using the Posse guys followed by Patterson/Brisco helping Test. It was a very entertaining match. This was the most over that Test would ever get in his career. This storyline really worked although a few months later he was written out of the story as Triple H married Stephanie, Test never really got his revenge and became a midcarder for the rest of his career.
Post match, Stephanie went in the ring to hug Test. JR said this was a special relationship and that she was free at last. Test left with Stephanie, Patterson and Brisco as the winner.
A video package aired to set up the face Tag Team Champions Kane and X-Pac against The Undertaker and Big Show as heels. Kane saying “suck it” using the voice box was always good for a laugh.
X-Pac did an interview with Kane where he said they can trust eachother.
WWE Tag Team Champions: Kane & X-Pac vs. The Undertaker & Big Show (w/Paul Bearer)
(Pre-match notes: Kane and X-Pac were the faces while Undertaker and Big Show were the heels.)
The heels tried to get control early, but X-Pac tagged in Kane, who nailed Undertaker with a clothesline to send him out of the ring. X-Pac went after Taker on the floor, but Kane saved his partner. Big Show went after Kane on the floor and Kane hit a boot to the face. Clothesline off the top rope by Kane. Taker came back with a DDT when Kane lowered his head. Show worked over Kane with punches, kick to the chest and an elbow drop. Powerslam by Big Show got a two count. Taker back in, he had a slugfest with his “brother” Kane and they did a double clothesline spot. X-Pac got the hot tag with the crowd going wild as X-Pac hit a spin kick on Taker. Show nailed X-Pac in the back, so Taker sent him to the floor and Show worked over X-Pac. Big Show and Kane ended up fighting on the floor as Taker worked over X-Pac in the ring. Taker drove X-Pac groin first into the ring post. Ouch. Show with a headbutt to the groin even though he wasn’t the legal man. Show hit a knee drop and missed an elbow drop. X-Pac comeback was stopped by a bearhug by Show, so X-Pac bit him on the nose. Show nailed a two handed Chokeslam for a two count as Kane made the save. Kane punched Show and X-Pac hit a low blow on Show. Taker grabbed Kane and X-Pac hit a low blow kick to Taker right in front of the ref, who did nothing. Hot tag Kane with a clothesline in the corner on Taker, clothesline for Show and X-Pac spinning heel kick sent Taker to the floor. X-Pac sent Taker into the ring post. Kane worked over Show in the ring. X-Pac tagged himself in and hit a Bronco Buster on Big Show. Show got right back up and hit a Chokeslam on X-Pac. Show covered with one foot for a two count. Taker tagged in, hit a Tombstone and Kane was too slow to make the save. The match went 12:00.
Winners by pinfall and New Tag Team Champions: The Undertaker & Big Show
Analysis: **1/2 It was a decent tag match to put over the dominant heel team of two seven footers. I thought the finish could have been set up better because it was a pretty flat ending. X-Pac taking the pin made sense since it was about the big guys on the other side dominating the match.
Post match, Undertaker looked angry at Big Show because of his lazy cover on X-Pac. The two big men known sometimes as the Unholy Alliance left with the Tag Team Titles.
Steve Austin, the WWE Champion, was shown talking to Jesse Ventura backstage. Jesse let him know the pinfall will be in the ring. Austin walked away defiantly.
Billy Gunn made his entrance under the ring name of Mr. Ass, which is what they called him officially. I’ll refer to him as Billy Gunn. He had a person under a sheet that we couldn’t see. JR said it’s a Kiss My Ass match. Gunn said this person under the sheet is the big surprise. It was a fat woman in a dress and he said The Rock will kiss her ass, then find out what she is cooking.
The Rock entered to a thunderous ovation. This was the same night where Rock did a legendary promo on Heat ripping on Gunn and doing the “it doesn’t matter what your name is” bit when “Billy” was trying to talk to God. I believe it was the first time Rock did the “it doesn’t matter” thing, so that makes it historic. It’s a classic.
Kiss My Ass Match: The Rock vs. “Bad Ass” Billy Gunn
(Pre-match notes: The Rock was a very popular face. Gunn was a heel that WWE really wanted to push as a singles star, so this was a big test for him.)
The stipulation is that the loser has to kiss the winner’s ass.
They went brawling up the aisle even though this was supposed to be a regular match, but in this period they let guys fight outside the ring a lot. Gunn sent Rock into the guard rail and hit a clothesline. Rock sent Gunn into a steel barricade. Rock sent Gunn into the side of the Lion’s Den cage followed by a clothesline. Back at ringside, Gunn whipped Rock into the top half of the steel steps. Rock drank some water and spat it in Gunn’s face. Gunn hit Rock in the face with the ring bell. Back in the ring, Gunn hit a neckbreaker. Lawler kept making jokes about the fat woman at ringside. Gunn sent Rock into the turnbuckle followed by a bulldog for two. Corner splash by Gunn. Rock started his comeback with the floatover DDT. Rock came back with a neckbreaker and Samoan Drop with each move getting a two count. Gunn slipped out of a Rock Bottom attempt and Gunn hit a Fameasser, which was his finisher. Gunn told the fat woman to enter the ring and hike up her skirt. Rock ended up shoving Gunn’s face into her ass. JR: “The Rock just put Billy Gunn’s face into that large woman’s ass.” Rock hit a Rock Bottom. Rock tossed the elbow pad away and hit the People’s Elbow for the pinfall win at 10:11.
Winner by pinfall: The Rock
Analysis: **1/2 Basic match without much excitement. They could have used some better nearfalls to make people get into it more. Clean win for Rock as it should have been since he was the bigger star. Rock tried his best to help Gunn get over more, but it just never worked for Gunn. I wasn’t a huge fan of Gunn’s push. He was just an average singles wrestler, but very good as part of a tag team. Gunn’s push didn’t get very far after this as this was his highest profile singles feud and he did get some singles gold too.
A video package aired to set up Steve Austin vs. Triple H vs. Mankind. There was a match on Raw where Chyna pinned Triple H in a three way with Undertaker after Austin hit Hunter with a chair to the head. That made Chyna the number one contender. Triple H called her an ungrateful bitch, so he had a match with Chyna. Mankind showed up to hit Hunter with the steel steps and Chyna pinned Hunter again. Mankind said he wants a piece of SummerSlam too. It led to Chyna vs. Mankind, which was a win for Mankind using Mr. Socko against Chyna. That led to Triple H vs. Mankind to determine the #1 contender for SummerSlam. There was a controversial double pin with two refs (Shawn Michaels and Shane McMahon), so Linda McMahon said it would be a triple threat at SummerSlam.
Analysis: It was a very confusing build to this match. They could have set up the triple threat a lot easier. That’s WWE, though. They like to make things complicated.
Jesse “The Body” Ventura made his entrance. He was the Governor of Minnesota and a former WWE superstar/announcer, so he got a nice ovation from the crowd. Ventura said that a lot of media types think he shouldn’t be there, but he’s proud to be a wrestler, proud he was a wrestler and proud of being there tonight. The crowd loved that.
Mankind made his entrance to a lot of cheers from the crowd. He was a popular face that was probably third in the face pecking order at the time behind Austin and Rock. JR noted that Mankind was out for about three months before this due to a knee injury.
Triple H entered with Chyna by his side to his “My Time” theme. They were booed. When they entered the ring, Ventura warned Chyna about trying to interfere.
“Stone Cold” Steve Austin was the WWE Champion and he got a massive ovation as usual. Austin was still working a full time schedule, but there were a lot of reports about his neck bothering him again, so he was going to take some time off.
Analysis: Going into the match, I thought Triple H was going to win because it really did feel like his time. The problem with that is that Ventura was the referee, so having a face referee raise the hand of a heel was unlikely.
WWE Championship: Steve Austin vs. Mankind vs. Triple H (w/Chyna)
(Pre-match notes: Austin and Mankind were faces while Hunter was a heel.)
First fall wins this match.
The faces worked together against Triple H early leading to a Mankind hug, but Austin came back with punches. Mankind shoved Austin into Hunter to knock Hunter out of the ring. Austin sent Mankind to the floor by avoiding a running attack. They battled outside the ring with Austin hitting a clothesline on Mankind. Chyna sent Mankind into the ring post with Ventura not seeing it. Austin sent Hunter into the top of the announce table Austin choked Helmsley with a cable. Hunter got a chair and hit Austin in the left knee with it as Ventura was on the ring. Ventura asked the crowd if Hunter hit him with a chair and the crowd cheered, but Jesse couldn’t do anything about it. Knee smash to the face by Hunter on Mankind. Chyna tripped up Mankind and sent him groin first into the ring post, which Ventura saw, so Jesse kicked her out. Austin went after Triple H in the aisle as they brawled with Austin in control. Austin was limping to sell the knee attack. Back in the ring, Hunter hit Austin in the back of the left leg with a shoulder to the left leg. Mankind double teamed Austin with Hunter, which led to boos as they hit a double clothesline on Austin. Mankind and Hunter battled eachother with Mankind hitting a clothesline that sent Hunter over the top to the floor. Cannonball attack by Mankind missed as Mankind hit the floor hard. Ouch. Austin sent Hunter face first into the ring post. All three guys went over the barricade to brawl around ringside. Austin hit a back body drop that dropped Mankind back first on the floor. Ouch again. Austin sent Hunter over the barricade to the floor. Hunter sent Austin into the steps.
The three men were back in the ring with Austin hitting a low blow on Hunter. Austin hit a catapult move on Hunter that sent Hunter into Mankind for a collision. Austin hit a Stone Cold Stunner on Mankind. Hunter broke up the pin with a chair to the back. Jesse to Hunter: “What’s this bullshit?” referring to the chair. It was bleeped, but I remember it live. Hunter hit Mankind in the head with the chair. That was nasty. Hunter covered, but Jesse refused to count the cover because of the chair shot. The fans cheered as Jesse shook his head no. Hunter had a “bullshit” of his own as they argued. Ventura teased a fight with Hunter, so Shane McMahon (an ally of Triple H) went into the ring. Shane argued with Jesse. Austin hit a Stunner on Shane. Jesse picked up Shane and tossed him out of the ring, which drew a massive ovation. Jesse to Shane: “That’s for your old man, you little bastard!” The crowd loved it. Double clothesline spot by Austin and Hunter. Mankind grabbed Mr. Socko out of his trunks. Double Mandible Claw by Mankind, so Austin kicked him in the groin. Austin with a clothesline on Hunter and all three guys were down. Austin fought off both guys and hit a Stunner on Hunter. Austin covered for one…two…and Mankind broke up the pin. Austin sent Mankind into the ring post. Hunter hit Austin with a Pedigree. Mankind knocked Hunter down with a punch. Mankind picked up Austin, hit a double arm DDT and covered for the one…two…and three. Hunter got there a half second too late to break up the pin. It went 16:24 with the crowd reacting to it in a positive way, but it wasn’t a huge ovation. I think they wanted Austin to win.
Winner and New WWE Champion: Mankind
Analysis: ***1/2 That was a good main event and one of the better main events in 1999, which was not great year for in-ring action in WWE. It was an entertaining match with a surprising finish because I don’t think a lot of people expected Mankind to win. I had forgotten some of the crazy bumps from Mankind because Foley did those hard falls all the time. It just makes me cringe watching it now because of how willing he was to put his body on the line to entertain us. The finish felt a bit flat because like I said people wanted Austin to win, so when he got beat that killed the crowd a bit. It’s not what they paid money to see. It was weird for a main event match because there weren’t a lot of pinfall attempts. I imagine that was by design because they didn’t want Jesse to have to go to the mat to count a lot of pinfall attempts. I thought the Chyna spot and the Shane spot were well booked to really pop the crowd by having Jesse show his authority.
Mankind was handed the WWE Title by Ventura. Mankind left the ring with Ventura as the crowd cheered. Ventura held up Mankind’s hand again.
Back in the ring, Hunter attacked the right knee of Austin with a steel chair. Hunter hit Austin with the chair several times. Chyna was in the ring preventing the referees from helping Austin. Hunter kept on attacking the knee of Austin. Another hard chair shot to the knee by Hunter. Triple H kicked Austin out of the ring. Austin was on the floor with referees looking at him. Hunter’s music played because I guess when you beat somebody up after a match, you get your music played.
The show went off the air with Austin getting looked at by officials.
Analysis: It was an injury angle because Austin was given time off over the next two months because of his neck and knee injuries. Austin served as the referee at the September 1999 Unforgiven PPV. He returned for the ring at the October 1999 No Mercy PPV to put over Triple H.
This event has a run time of 2 hours, 39 minutes on WWE Network.
Analysis: There was controversy about the finish because a lot of people felt like it was the right time to put the title on Triple H. As I mentioned earlier, with a face Governor Ventura as the referee, that made it difficult for WWE to want to put Triple H over. With so much press there covering the event, WWE wanted Ventura to raise the hand of a good guy even though Mankind had a unique look with a brown mask covering his face.
The reason there was a controversy is because there were rumors that Austin didn’t want to put over Triple H because he felt Hunter wasn’t ready for it. In the Wrestling Observer at the time, it was written by Dave Meltzer that the plan was for Hunter to go over and that it changed because people on the internet figured it out. If that’s the reason or WWE’s Vince McMahon simply changed his mind, we don’t know. Plus, Austin put over Hunter relatively clean at No Mercy two months after this, which showed that Austin had no problem putting him over. Austin had a rep for holding down Jeff Jarrett, who WWE wanted him to feud with briefly, so this was the second story about Austin possibly being a top guy that didn’t want to put people over.
For what it’s worth, I always thought the “Ventura raises the hand of a good guy” finish was the smart thing to do. Having Foley pin Austin also made Foley look good because he pinned the champion rather than the other challenger.
FIVE RANDOM THOUGHTS
– I thought Ventura did a really good job as the referee. They could have explained the rules better and how it was legal for guys to use the chair as a weapon, but this was back when WWE was still figuring out triple threat matches. These days, WWE says they are no disqualification/no countout so we know there are going to be weapons.
– The heel side was definitely hurting a bit in this period. When Billy Gunn is slotted as the #2 heel that’s when you know there are problems. I guess you could say Undertaker was the #2 heel, but he was just in a tag match rather than facing off with The Rock.
– There were six title matches and five of them changed hands including the main event. The booking in 1999 was full of title changes because they just loved having short reigns for some reason. Titles can elevate talents, but when you do too many of them it does damage to the titles because they don’t come off as important.
– This may come off as a weird comment to some, but I have to say it: This show had too many low blows. That really stood out to me for some reason. I would guess there were at least eight of them. If so many people are hitting others in the junk then it loses its appeal. Less ball shots, please.
– In terms of PPV buyrates, SummerSlam 1999 was very successful with 600,000 buys. It was not at the level of 1998 with the SummerSlam record of 700,000 buys, but I’m sure WWE was happy with this number. The 600k buys number puts it at fourth all-time in SummerSlam behind 1998 (700k buys), 2005 (650k buys) and 1989 (625k buys).
Best Match: Mankind vs. Steve Austin vs. Triple H (***1/2)
Worst Match: Ivory vs. Tori (-*)
Most Memorable Moment: Jesse Ventura tossing Shane McMahon out of the ring and calling him “you little bastard.” Classic.
- Steve Austin
- Triple H
- Shane McMahon
- Edge & Christian
Shoutout to Test as well. I just went with E&C because they had several great matches.
Show rating (out of 10): 5
It was just an average PPV that was lacking in terms of a standout match. The main event three way, Test vs. Shane and Edge/Christian vs. Hardys were all really good matches that saved it from being a disaster of a show.
Matches With Ratings ****+ (out of 5*) and higher:
British Bulldog vs. Bret Hart @ SummerSlam 1992 (*****)
Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart @ SummerSlam 1994 (*****)
Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon @ SummerSlam 1995 (*****)
Triple H vs. The Rock @ SummerSlam 1998 (****1/2)
Bret Hart vs. Mr. Perfect @ SummerSlam 1991 (****1/4)
Shawn Michaels vs. Vader @ SummerSlam 1996 (***1/4)
Ranking SummerSlam Reviews (on 1-10 scale)
SummerSlam 1998 (Steve Austin vs. The Undertaker) – 8
SummerSlam 1992 (British Bulldog vs. Bret Hart) – 7
SummerSlam 1997 (Bret Hart vs. The Undertaker) – 5.5
SummerSlam 1996 (Shawn Michaels vs. Vader) – 5.5
SummerSlam 1989 (Hogan/Beefcake vs. Savage/Zeus) – 5.5
SummerSlam 1994 (Undertaker vs. Underfaker, Bret vs. Owen) – 5
SummerSlam 1999 (Mankind vs. Steve Austin vs. Triple H) – 5
SummerSlam 1988 (Mega Powers vs. Mega Bucks) – 5
SummerSlam 1991 (Match Made In Heaven & Hell) – 4.5
SummerSlam 1995 (Diesel vs. Mabel, Michaels vs. Ramon) – 4
SummerSlam 1993 (Lex Luger vs. Yokozuna) – 4
SummerSlam 1990 (Ultimate Warrior vs. Rick Rude) – 3.5
Next up is SummerSlam 2000 featuring the second straight SummerSlam with a triple threat main event.
Check out the SummerSlam Reviews archive.