Reviews

WWE No Mercy 1999 Review

wwe no mercy 1999 poster with mankind

The WWE No Mercy 1999 pay-per-view came at a time when WWE was trying to establish Triple H as a top heel by putting him up against “Stone Cold” Steve Austin in the main event.

Austin was dealing with injuries at this point stemming from the neck injury he suffered at SummerSlam 1997 due to a botched Owen Hart piledriver. While Austin would miss a few months after that, he didn’t have any surgery or anything like that. Two years later, the neck injury slowed him down enough that he missed the Unforgiven 1999 PPV as a wrestler and took about a month off. The break was good for him because Austin was cleared to compete in this main event match although it was about a month after this when it was determined he needed major neck surgery.

Another big story going into this show was the status of Intercontinental Champion Jeff Jarrett. It turns out that Jarrett’s WWE contract expired before this show, so Jarrett demanded a large sum of money to compete in the match on this show. After No Mercy was over, Jarrett was gone from WWE, he showed up on WCW Monday Nitro the next night and would not return to WWE in any capacity until his Hall of Fame induction in 2018. I’ll get into that story more when writing about his match.

Behind the scenes, there were changes in WWE because former WWE head writer Vince Russo (“bro”) left the company abruptly to take over the creative job in WCW. Russo left with Ed Ferrera, who was another main WWE writer. Vince McMahon was always in charge, but Russo and Ferrera were key in the WWE Attitude Era run of shows, so it was a big deal at the time.

As a side note, there was also a UK-only No Mercy PPV in May 1999. Just letting you know in case you search for this on Peacock/WWE Network and want to watch it. Pick the October one.

No Mercy 1999 did a poor buyrate with 327,000 buys, which was the lowest of any WWE PPV that year. In other years that would have been solid number, but 1999 was pretty big for WWE. October has always been a tougher month while competing against major pro sports leagues as well.

This show followed Unforgiven 1999 and led into Survivor Series 1999.

Here is the synopsis on WWE Network:

“WWE Champion Triple H battles “Stone Cold” Steve Austin in an Anything Goes Match with the WWE Championship on the line in the main event. X-Pac, Bradshaw, Kane, and Faarooq compete in a Four Corners Elimination Match. The Hardy Boyz face Edge & Christian. Mankind takes on Val Venis. The Rock collides with The British Bulldog and much more.” PG (D,L,V)

The VHS looked like this:

Let’s get to the show.

WWE No Mercy
From Gund Arena in Cleveland, Ohio
October 17, 1999

The opening video package featured clips of Triple H bragging about injuring Steve Austin and then clips of Austin fighting back against Triple H.

There was an impressive pyro display along with signs all over the place and a sold out crowd as usual in 1999. Jim Ross and Jerry “The King” Lawler welcomed us to the show. JR said that Austin returns to the ring after three months. Three? Austin was in the ring two months earlier at SummerSlam, but yeah it was Austin’s return after a bit of a layoff.

The Godfather entered with some lovely ho’s leading to his pre-match “Pimpin’ Ain’t Easy” promo. Mideon entered with Viscera to no reaction.

The Godfather vs. Mideon (w/Viscera)

Pre-match notes: The Godfather was the face while Mideon was the heel.

Godfather was in control early with a body slam and a standing back kick. Godfather whipped Mideon to the corner, Viscera got close to the ladies, so Godfather was distracted and Mideon knocked him out of the ring. Viscera got a cheap shot on Godfather sending him into the ring apron. Mideon with a back elbow followed by a chinlock. Godfather with a sunset flip, Viscera distraction and that got a two count leading to Mideon hitting a clothesline. Viscera punched Godfather along with an elbow smash behind the ref’s back. The fans were bored so they chanted “we want puppies” briefly for the ladies. Godfather charged, Mideon with a boot up and a clothesline for two. There were more cheap shot punches for Viscera on Godfather. Mideon with a body slam followed by Godfather avoiding an elbow drop. Godfather with two clotheslines, then a body slam and a leg drop for two. Godfather went for a splash off the ropes, but Mideon got the knees up and they left the ring, so Mideo sent Godfather into the ring post. Godfather moved out of the way of a Viscera splash. Back in the ring, Godfather with a whip, then the Ho Train splash (the crowd woke up) and Godfather did a ROLLUP OF DEATH~! for the pinfall win at 7:31.

Winner by pinfall: The Godfather

Analysis: 3/4* Boring match. They should have cut the time in half because it was tough to watch. Putting on an opening match that’s more exciting would have been smarter than this matchup between two bigger guys. Mideon got no reaction while at least Godfather got the crowd into it with his pre-match promo.

The Godfather got the win and danced with the ho’s, so then referee Tim White danced with the girls as well. That was funny.

They showed an interview with Triple H from Sunday Night Heat talking about how he beat up Steve Austin on Smackdown. Hunter bragged about how he made Austin as pissed off as he has ever been in his life, but Hunter is still going to leave as WWE Champion.

Ivory was interviewed as the Women’s Champion. Ivory said she didn’t care about Fabulous Moolah or Mae Young. Ivory said that they’ll never forget that Ivory is the Women’s Champion.

WWE Women’s Championship: Ivory vs. Fabulous Moolah (w/Mae Young)

Pre-match notes: Ivory was the heel Women’s Champion. Moolah was the babyface challenger that was 76 years old at the time of this match.

Ivory with a snapmare into a leg drop and an elbow drop. Moolah with some snapmare takedowns using the hair. They had trouble doing a corner whip, then Ivory had to slowly go into a knee from Moolah, who missed a splash off the bottom rope. Ivory tried to pin using the ropes, Mae Young hit the foot (sort of) and Ivory punched Mae down. Ivory tossed Mae out of the ring. Ivory went for a suicide dive on Moolah on the floor, but that was messed up and Ivory hit the floor hard. They left the ring with Moolah tossing Ivory into the crowd. Ivory hit a cross body block on Moolah and Ivory punched Mae a couple of times. Mae grabbed Ivory’s leg, then Mae grabbed Ivory’s hair and Ivory hit Mae in the head. Moolah got the weakest ROLLUP OF DEATH~! on Ivory for the pinfall win at 3:01.

Winner by pinfall AND NEW WWE Women’s Champion: Fabulous Moolah

Analysis: –1/2* Awful. One of the lowest points for the women’s division in WWE history. There were a lot of low points in this era too. Some of the spots were really bad. I felt bad for Ivory watching this match. It was the second straight match that ended with a ROLLUP OF DEATH~! too.

Fabulous Moolah was handed the Women’s Title and the fans cheered for it at least briefly.

Vince McMahon was shown talking to Triple H in the locker room. Vince informed Hunter it was going to be a No Holds Barred Match and Hunter complained that it wasn’t fair.

The New Age Outlaws duo of Road Dogg and “Bad Ass” Billy Gunn entered to a loud ovation. Road Dogg did the usual pre-match promo with the fans chanting along and Gunn ended it leading to the crowd chanting “SUCK IT” right on cue. The Holly Cousins cost the Outlaws the Tag Team Titles against Rock N Sock Connection on Smackdown.

The New Age Outlaws (Road Dogg & “Bad Ass” Billy Gunn) vs. The Holly Cousins (Hardcore & Crash Holly)

Pre-match notes: The New Age Outlaws were the faces and Holly Cousins were heels. The Holly Cousins were not actually cousins. Billy was a singles heel in the months leading up to this, but the heel run failed miserably, so the New Age Outlaws were put back together.

Dogg battled Crash in the ring while Gunn sent Hardcore into the barricade. Gunn tagged in with an elbow drop and Dogg with a double ax to Crash’s back. Hardcore into the ring illegally, Gunn beat him up and Dogg hit a knee drop for two. Dogg with hiptoss, then Dogg ran the ropes and Crash tossed him over the top to the floor so Dogg was the face in peril. Hardcore hit a delayed vertical suplex followed by a chinlock. The Hollys got in cheap shots on Dogg and Hardcore hit a scoop slam. Hardcore took way too long going up top, so Dogg got the foot up to block Hardcore’s dive attempt. Crash got the tag, he knocked Gunn off the apron hit a dropkick to the back. Lawler kept pushing the joke that Crash was 400 pounds even though he was less than half that. Hardcore back in with a clothesline and a chinlock. Dogg with a shoulder tackle followed by Hardcore hitting a dropkick for two. Crash was back in with a clothesline on Dogg, then Hardcore back in and he punched Gunn on the apron, so the Hollys got in some more cheap shots. Hardcore took way too long going up top again, so Dogg tripped him while on the top rope, which led to Hardcore getting crotched. Dogg hit a superplex on Hardcore. Gunn got the hot tag with powerslams for both cousins, then Stinger Splashes on both guys and Gunn hit a Jackhammer Slam, but the referee wasn’t able to count. Hardcore sent a chair into the ring, Gunn saw it and Gunn hit a Fameasser on Crash on the chair, so the Holly Cousins won by disqualification.

Winners by disqualification: The Holly Cousins (Hardcore & Crash Holly)

Analysis: **1/2 It was an average tag team match with a lame ending. I have written for years about how WWE booking disqualification finishes in matches that are this long are a lame way to book longer matches. Anyway, it was a typical tag with Dogg as the face in peril for most of it with Gunn getting the hot tag and then the finish. It wasn’t interesting to me.

Post match, Dogg gave Hardcore a pumphandle slam on Hardcore on the chair. The Outlaws music played even though they lost.

It was time for the Intercontinental Title match with Jeff Jarrett defending against Chyna just like at Unforgiven. The Unforgiven match was chaotic with Debra hitting Jeff Jarrett with a guitar and Chyna thought she won, but scab referee (meaning replacement referee) Tom Prichard reversed the decision. The next night on Raw, Chyna and Debra beat Jeff Jarrett and Tom Prichard to get a title rematch at No Mercy. They won because Prichard hit Chyna with a guitar and Chyna fell on Jarrett. That led to Jarrett saying Chyna’s rematch would be a Good Housekeeping match and then they showed highlights of Jeff beating up women since that was his gimmick at the time. Jeff put Chyna in a laundry bin and tossed her off a stage as well.

Jeff Jarrett entered as the Intercontinental Champion with Miss Kitty by his side. Lawler was excited for Kitty, who was married to Jerry for a couple of years. Kitty had on a short skirt and bikini style outfit. Jarrett brought a kitchen sink with him. Chyna entered alone.

Good Housekeeping Match for the Intercontinental Championship: Jeff Jarrett (w/Miss Kitty) vs. Chyna

Pre-match notes: Jeff Jarrett was the heel Intercontinental Champion while Chyna was the babyface challenger. I remember Debra doing a promo saying she would support Chyna in the match, but there was no sign of her in the match. That made me sad as a Debra fan.

There were household items in the ring and surrounding the ring. Chyna attacked Jarrett right away and hit a big clothesline followed by an atomic drop. Chyna with a suplex. Chyna hit Jeff with two trash can shots to the head. Chyna hit Jeff with a stick of salami, a broom and a frying pan to the back. Chyna hit Jarrett with a toilet seat, which drew a pop because I guess that’s funny to see. Chyna with a trash can shot to Jeff’s head and Chyna even smashed a banana as well as whipped cream onto Jeff’s face. Chyna hit Jeff with a trash can lid to the head. Chyna set up a table on the floor, Chyna jumped off the apron, Jeff moved and Chyna went crashing through the table. Jeff got a two count there. Jeff hit Chyna in the head with a trash can. Jeff hit Chyna with a piece of fish, then she sold that (a piece of fish really?) and a trash can to the back. They were back in the ring with Jeff sending Chyna into the ironing board. Jeff with a corner whip leading to Chyna doing a bump over the top to the floor. Jeff and Kitty put a bunch of objects in a bowl, Jeff had some flour and Chyna knocked the flour in Jeff’s face. Chyna poured a bowl on Kitty’s head, which led to Jeff hitting a chop block to Chyna. Jarrett applied a Figure Four Leglock on Chyna, who managed to get out of it. Jeff jumped off the ropes, Chyna with a low blow and Chyna used tongs against Jeff’s groin. That drew a big pop. Chyna smashed two pies to Jeff’s head. Chyna hit Jeff with the kitchen sink for a two count. It’s the old “kitchen sink” expression coming into play. Chyna set up for a Pedigree on a cake, but Jarrett countered and did a catapult on Chyna into the referee Teddy Long, who did a bump. Jarrett hit Chyna with the IC Title for the pinfall win.

After the match, referee Teddy Long went to Jarrett saying you can’t use the IC Title to hit Chyna because it’s not a household item. The match was restarted.

Jarrett tried doing the Figure Four Leglock to Long, but Chyna was there with the guitar shot to the head. Is that a household item? I’m not sure. Depends on the household. Anyway, Chyna covered Jarrett for the pinfall win at 8:37.

Winner by pinfall AND NEW Intercontinental Champion: Chyna

Analysis: **3/4 It was fun for a garbage brawl. I say garbage brawl because they used a lot of weapons and didn’t really have a traditional match while they barely did wrestling moves. It was more about using the weapons leading to a lot of comedy bumps. The tongs to the groin were crowd-pleasers. It was a big moment for Chyna and I think a lot of fans were genuinely happy for her.

Post match, Chyna celebrated as the first-ever woman to win the Intercontinental Title. Miss Kitty left with Chyna. That would lead to a new on-screen pairing.

===

More Info On Jeff Jarrett’s WWE Departure

Getting back to the Jeff Jarrett story, he ended up getting a big one night payoff for this match. Jim Ross has said many times over the years that he blamed himself for letting Jeff’s contract expire in this situation and not coming to some sort of agreement beforehand. To me, I always thought it was weird that they would keep the title on somebody who has an expiring contract that was expired the day before. They should have done the title change a month earlier. Anyway, good for Jeff getting a huge payday and then he was on WCW Nitro the next night.

Here’s how Jeff Jarrett explained the payout he received that night on his My World Podcast. Thanks to 411Wrestling for the transcript:

Jeff Jarrett on being told he was taking a pay cut early in his return to WWE and his trust issues with Jim Ross: “He wanted to cut my pay from $350,000 to $250,000 after I had a two-year deal, and my downside was because I was taken off the road for a large part of 1997 and early 1998 in that contract year. It was we’re starting a new slate in October, and your downside is gonna be $250,000 as opposed to $350,000……I always really had a problem to go against my nature to go ‘complain’ about pay-offs, but when the contract shift happened into that deal one year, I kind of knew the gloves were off in so many ways. I didn’t let it be known. I didn’t go to the dressing room and bitch and complain and moan about this, but that was a really hard pill to swallow because that was [Jim Ross], ‘Here’s the deal: I’m gonna change it.’ I said, ‘OK, I don’t have a choice because you’re the boss, but I don’t trust you. I don’t trust the hand that’s feeding me.”

On rumors that he held up Vince McMahon and WWE for money and his conversation with Jim Ross at the Gund Arena at No Mercy 1999: “Jim comes to me and said, ‘We’ve done pen to paper and we’re thinking $150,000 will get it all cleaned up.’ I said ‘OK, alright Jim, $150,000 is what you think the number is. You sure?’ We more or less did a head nod, and I said, ‘Jim, let me think on this.’ He said, ‘I’ll be back, and let’s close this deal up.’ However much time transpired – he came back in and sat back down, and I said ‘Jim, remember how you changed the deal on me a year in? I understand all the reasons you did and I respect the hell out of it, but we kind of agreed but we didn’t really agree on 150. I don’t really agree with that right now, and I’ve had time to reflect on my last two years. So, if we’re going to get a deal done, this place [Gund Arena] is sold out and they’ve got a lot of WWE’s money in their box office. So, let’s double that and get me to $300,000 and give me the money out of the Gund Arena’s bank and not WWE’s bank and let’s go to work.’

On Ross’ reaction to his proposal: “He didn’t like it. He said, ‘Nah, Jeff, we can’t do that.’ I said ‘Jim, look at me because I really want you to understand where I’m coming from, you’re absolutely right. You do not have to do this, Vince doesn’t have to do this. Nobody has to do this. I’m wanting my money, and I’m talking about multiple pay-per-views, I’m not under contract. Let’s just end this deal one way or another. You know as well as I do tomorrow my value in payoffs are not even remotely important. They’re kind of important today, but it’s y’all’s decision on how important they are, it’s not mine.’ He goes, ‘I’m gonna go to talk to the old man.’ 30 minutes go by, 45 minutes go by, whatever it may be. Jim and Terry [Taylor] walk up and go, ‘Go get your bag, get dressed, we’ll have it for you before you go to the ring.’ I had seen Chyna walking around multiple times. Not that it was my responsibility to be worrying about her personal feelings, but I did have some compassion for her. I really did because it was her night in so many ways, and she deserved every bit of it. She worked her ass off. She deserved everything she was getting that night.”

That’s a wrap on that story. As I noted earlier, Jarrett would return to WWE 19 years later for the 2018 Hall of Fame ceremony and he did have a few matches after that.

===

A video package aired about The Rock’s match against British Bulldog. It was set up because Bulldog cost The Rock in repeated matches. There was a memorable moment where Rock was a guest referee and told Bulldog: “It doesn’t matter if The Rock counts to three!” Then Rock did the legendary sliding People’s Elbow. That led to Bulldog challenging Rock to a match and Rock making fun of him. There was even a spot where Rock gave Bulldog int some “dog poop” in the ring.

Analysis: Bulldog had a back injury from his WCW run and he rejoined WWE leading up to the Unforgiven PPV. He didn’t look or move the same way like he was moving in the 1994-1997 days when he was at his best in WWE.

The British Bulldog entered to some generic music while wrestling in jeans. The Rock got a big pop as always with Rock turning face earlier in the year in late April after the Backlash 1999 PPV. JR put over the pop for Rock, who did not bring his Tag Team Title with him.

The Rock vs. British Bulldog

Pre-match notes: The Rock was a face while Bulldog was a heel.

Rock worked over Bulldog with punches with Bulldog bumping to the floor. Rock and Bulldog exchanged punches. Bulldog threw a chair at Rock’s head while right in front of the referee. No disqualification for that. Rock whipped Bulldog into the steel steps. Bulldog sent Rock face first into the hood of the announce table. Back in the ring, Bulldog applied a chinlock, Rock back up and Bulldog hit a knee to the ribs. Rock whipped Bulldog towards the corner with Bulldog doing a somersault flip into the turnbuckle. Rock with a neckbreaker for two. Bulldog hit a delayed vertical suplex for two and a chinlock. Rock broke free with Rock going for a Samoan Drop, it didn’t go smoothly and JR had to call it a back body drop even though it was the Samoan Drop that Rock usually did. Bulldog hit a low blow punch that the referee didn’t see (the crowd didn’t even react to it). Bulldog charged, Rock moved from his spot against the ropes and Rock hit a DDT for two. Bulldog hit the Powerslam that was his finisher, but Rock got his foot on the bottom rope. No reaction for that nearfall. Rock came back with a Rock Bottom and People’s Elbow (the crowd came alive for both moves) for the pinfall win at 6:20.

Winner by pinfall: The Rock

Analysis: *1/4 This was a rough match to get through and it was smart to keep it short. Rock matches usually have a lot more excitement with a hotter crowd, but the fans barely got into this. They did all these spots that the fans should have cared about, yet there was no reaction until Rock hit a Rock Bottom and People’s Elbow. I was always a Bulldog fan. This one just wasn’t that interesting of a story or match.

A video was shown from Heat with Terri Runnels on a ladder with Jerry “The King” Lawler getting excited about her really short shirt and revealing top. Terri demonstrated the ladder climb, so Terri climbed up and Lawler looked up her skirt like a pervert. Terri said “you ain’t seen nothing yet” to end it.

The deal for the next match was the winners have to grab a bag that has $100,000 in it. The winners get the “managerial services” of Terri Runnels since it’s the finals of the Terri Invitational Tournament (T.I.T.) because WWE thought that acronym was clever, of course. There were five matches in the T.I.T. so it was 2-2 going into the final match.

Analysis: The tournament was a great idea because it meant more attention for these teams. The T.I.T. was unique I guess, but also fitting for this time period in the company where they tried to be more risqué. The same can be said about Terri’s very short skirt and revealing top. Good for her. She’s a pretty woman.

Ladder Match: The Hardy Boyz (Matt & Jeff Hardy) vs. Edge & Christian

Pre-match notes: The Hardys were faces with Gangrel joining them as “The New Brood.” Edge & Christian were faces too although heelish at times earlier in the year. They were all so young too since Edge & Christian were both 26 years old in 1999 (the match was before their birthdays that year), Matt was 25 and Jeff was just 22 years old.

The only way to win this match was to climb the ladder and retrieve the bag of money above the ring.

It was the first tag team Ladder Match in WWE history. Christian and Edge got knockdowns right away and tried to get ladders, but the Hardys stopped them. Edge with a shoulder tackle on Matt and Christian with a clothesline on Jeff. Matt and Jeff took over against E&C with the Hardys hitting a double elbow on Edge and they stomped on Christian. Gangrel tried to give the Hardys a ladder, but referee Tim White ejected Gangrel. Edge with a back body drop on Jeff over the top to the floor. Edge with a dropkick on Jeff on the floor. Matt with a clothesline on Edge and Christian jumped off the turnbuckle onto Matt. Christian tried the first climb, Jeff threw him down, Edge tried a climb and Matt turned the ladder over. Christian drove the ladder into Jeff’s ribs followed by a dropkick. Edge missed a corner splash on Matt, who moved, so Edge hit the ladder. Jeff went up, so Christian dropped him a reverse DDT. Christian climbed and then Matt gave him back body drop off the ladder. Matt climbed up, so Edge got a hold of him and gave him a Powerbomb off the ladder. Edge climbed the ladder, which led to Jeff jumping off the top with a dropkick. Edge was placed across the ladder, so Jeff hit a Senton Bomb (later known as the Swanton Bomb) onto Edge on the ladder. Jeff hit the Poetry in Motion corner attack on Christian with a leaping leg lariat. The Hardys used a ladder to knock down Christian. Jeff did a leapfrog off the top over a ladder and leading to leg drop on Christian. The fans cheered for that. Matt did a moonsault off the top onto Christian, who was under a ladder. That didn’t get much of a reaction, but was still impressive. Edge brought a second ladder into the ring and threw it at Jeff, who was climbing. Edge sent Jeff into a ladder that was against Matt, who was by the turnbuckle. Edge climbed up a ladder, so Matt threw a ladder at Edge. Christian jumped off the top with a cross body block off the top onto a ladder to knock both Hardys down. E&C drove a ladder into Matt’s groin and then they dropkicked the edge of the ladder. E&C trapped Jeff between a ladder and rammed it onto him. Edge slammed Christian onto a ladder that was on Jeff. E&C launched Matt into a ladder that was against the turnbuckle. Jeff with a Twist of Fate neckbreaker on Christian before that became a meaningful move. Jeff and Edge climbed two ladders, so Edge hit the Downward Spiral (flatliner) off the ladder on Jeff. Edge climbed up and Matt followed him with a neckbreaker into the ring. Jeff and Christin went up top opposite sides of a ladder, so Christian hit a hiptoss off the ladder to the mat. Edge hit Matt with a ladder to knock him out of the ring.

Christian set up Jeff on the top turnbuckle. Christian teased a superplex, but Matt saved Jeff from a double team attack. Jeff jumped onto a ladder bridge and it was used like a catapult to hit Christian/Matt in the face! That was brutal-looking. The fans were loving this match so much that most of them were standing. There were two ladders set up with the four guys climbing up, then all four guys took bumps with Christian going groin first into the top rope, Jeff hit the top and then Edge/Matt went crashing on the other side of the ring on the top turnbuckle with Matt bumping over the top to the floor. The view from the roof was awesome. Edge and Matt battled on a ladder while Christian and Jeff were on another ladder nearby. Edge knocked Matt off the ladder, then Matt bumped into the Jeff/Christian ladder, which led to Jeff jumping onto Edge’s ladder while Christian bumped to the mat. Jeff knocked Edge down with a punch, then Jeff maintained his balance and Jeff reached up to grab the bag of money. JR incorrectly said “Matt Hardy” but it was Jeff. It went 16:30.

Winners: The Hardy Boyz (Matt & Jeff Hardy)

Analysis: ****1/2 This match is awesome. It was awesome in 1999 and it still is as I write this over two decades later. Kudos to the Hardy Boyz and Edge/Christian for the amazing effort they put on in this match. They came up with a lot of creative stuff during the match using the ladder as a weapon a lot and doing a bunch of high spots off ladders. It was very telling that the crowd went into the match treating it like another match, but then the work was so great that the fans were standing for most of it because they loved the action. I admire the wrestlers in this match so much because guys in their early 20s like this weren’t always given chances to have a big PPV stipulation match like this, but they made the most of their time and put on a memorable match here. Some of the spots were so innovative like the catapult ladder splash, the leg drop over the ladder, the four guys all bumping at the same time and then the finish was done masterfully with Matt knocking Christian down, Jeff knocking Edge down (while moving from one ladder to another) and Jeff getting the win. It was my WWE Match of the Year in 1999. While I think their WrestleMania 17 TLC match topped this, this was still an incredible match as well as the breakthrough match in their careers. I think what’s the most amazing thing about it is that as I write this in 2021, all four guys are still actively wrestling on a regular basis. Amazing!

The Hardys went to the back with referee Tim White helping them. Replays were shown of the action.

Edge & Christian were walking around the ring as the fans gave them a standing ovation for their impressive performance in defeat.

Analysis: I always remember that moment. E&C were not that well known yet, so to see them get that kind of reaction was so cool to me as somebody that saw them on the indies a few years before this before they started in WWE in 1998. I was so happy for these guys.

There was a backstage scene with The Hardy Boys celebrating with Terri, who had champagne. They got hugs from her. Lawler was jealous.

Analysis: There wasn’t really much of a story of Terri with the Hardy Boyz. It went on for a few months, then it just ended and that was it. No sense of a long term plan, really.

Mankind was backstage earlier in the day and he was shown walking around with his book. Mankind asked Hardcore and Crash Holly where The Rock was. Mankind was in the locker room talking to somebody in a stall thinking it was The Rock and Mankind handed the book to whoever was in the bathroom. The Rock was shown talking on a cell phone, Mankind asked about the book and The Rock said he didn’t have a book. Rock wanted him to sign the book to “The Great One” and Mankind cut him off before he could finish. When Mick went back into the locker room, calling his book a “little rascal” and Val Venis beat him. Val thanked Mick for the book.

Analysis: This was right before Mankind/Mick Foley’s first book came out. It was mentioned it was coming out on Thursday. I got that book the first day and loved it.

Let’s Hear from The Rock

The Rock made his entrance in a dress shirt and slacks with the fans popping big for him as usual. Rock did his “finally” promo to pop the crowd some more. Rock said he had a challenge in mind for the winner of tonight’s main event saying he didn’t care if it was Triple H or “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. Rock said that when the match is done, The Rock will be the WWE Champion, then the millions (and millions) will be chanting The Rock’s name leading to “Rocky” chants. JR said he hadn’t seen anything like this in over 20 years in this business. Rock said when it’s done, he’ll be the People’s Champion, the People’s Choice and the WWE Champion if you smell what The Rock…pause for effect…is cooking.

When The Rock left the ring, he was met by Triple H attacking Rock with a sledgehammer to the gut. Hunter hit Rock in the ribs with the sledgehammer about four times. Referees showed up to break it up. The fans booed the attack. Rock was placed on a stretcher while he was holding his ribs. They replayed Triple H’s attack again.

Analysis: They set up an angle that would come into play later in the show. Rock getting back into the WWE Title made sense after he was part of other non-title feuds in the last few months prior to this.

The next match was up with Val Venis entering first. Mankind was shown checking on The Rock on the stretcher. Mankind walked out with a Tag Team Title since Rock/Mankind were the champions.

Val Venis vs. Mankind

Pre-match notes: Val Venis was in heel mode while Mankind was a babyface often doing a lot of comedy bits in this era.

Venis attacked Mankind on the floor before the match started. Mankind came back with a slam that sent Venis head/throat first across the barricade. Back in the ring, the bell rang to start the match. Mankind with a kick to the gut followed by a running knee. Mankind worked over Venis with punches, then Venis got a foot up to block a charging Mankind and Mankind hit a running knee. Mankind with a leg drop to the lower body. Mankind reached into Val’s tight and pulled out “Rocko” the sock, but then Val punched him in the ribs and put the sock back in his tights. They left the ring to brawl for a bit with Mankind hitting a left clothesline on the floor. Mankind whipped Venis into chair that was open on the floor and then Venis gave Mankind a backdrop driver through the chair. No disqualification for the chair usage in this era. Mankind was up with the Mandible Claw on Val, but then Val shoved him into the ring post. Mankind went for the claw again and Venis shoved him into the ring post again with Lawler doing a joke about Val having nasty things in his mouth (due to being a “porn star”), but nothing like a claw. Venis brought a chair into the ring and hit a Russian legsweep on the chair. The referee Teddy Long moved the chair out of the ring while again not calling for a DQ or anything like that. Venis tripped up Mankind leading to punches and slamming Mankind’s head into the mat a few times for a two count. Venis with a forearm to the back of the head. Venis with a body slam followed by a knee drop on the back of the head. Venis went up top, Mankind back up and Venis came back with a clothesline followed by a bulldog. Venis with an elbow smash to the back of the head. Venis went up top and hit went for a Money Shot splash, but Mankind rolled away to avoid it. Mankind was back up with a double arm DDT for two. Mankind reached into his pants to grab Mr. Socko and then Venis applied Rocko on his hand, so Mankind went with the Mandible Claw and Mankind went with the Testicular Claw. They were holding eachother in position for a few seconds, then collapsed and Venis covered Mankind for the pinfall win at 9:26.

Winner by pinfall: Val Venis

Analysis: **1/4 It was a decent match that never got into that next gear. What a lame finish. So cheesy. It didn’t work well or impress this crowd. The story was Mankind was dazed a bit with Venis working on the head, but the fans never got into it that much in terms of booing Venis for being the heel. The idea was that they wanted to elevate Venis since they needed some upper midcard heels, so they were using a former WWE Champion like Mankind to put Venis over, but it failed.

After the match, Mankind punched Venis to knock him down and Mankind got a hold of the Rocko sock, so he put him on his left hand. Venis left to avoid a double sock attack.

Analysis: The socko stuff was popular. No doubt that. I just don’t think this particular angle and storyline was very good.

The Rock was shown getting tended to by medical personal. The hot blonde woman there would be revealed as “BB” about a month after this.

It was time for a four corner elimination match. Replays were shown from Smackdown with The Acolytes beating Kane in a handicap match and then X-Pac made the save.

Four Corner Elimination Match: Kane vs. X-Pac vs. Bradshaw vs. Faarooq

Pre-match notes: Kane and X-Pac were faces that were former Tag Team Champions. Bradshaw and Faarooq were heels that were known as The Acolytes tag team.

Two guys are in the ring while the other two are on the apron. A wrestler is eliminated when they got pinned or submitted.

X-Pac went Bradshaw out of the ring, then X-Pac went for a dive, but Bradshaw drove him into the ring post and then a body slam. Bradshaw and Faarooq with a double shoulder tackle to Kane. Kane with a clothesline on Bradshaw and Faarooq tagged in with punches. Kane hit an enziguri kick on Faarooq. X-Pac tagged Faarooq to be the legal man against Kane. X-Pac with kicks, but then Kane decked X-Pac with a clothesline. Bradshaw hit Kane in the back to become legal. X-Pac tagged in Faarooq, so Bradshaw went after Faarooq with punches along with a boot to the face. Faarooq with a shoulder tackle. Faarooq tagged in X-Pac, then shoved him into a Clothesline from Hell from Bradshaw and Kane saved X-Pac from being pinned. X-Pac drove Faarooq face first into the mat to no reaction. Bradshaw back in with a hard whip into the corner on X-Pac. Bradshaw tossed X-Pac out of the ring, so Faarooq sent him into the steel steps. Kane went in illegally with a kick to Bradshaw so X-Pac covered for two. Faarooq with a backbreaker. The fans were dead quiet as X-Pac got out of a chinlock and Faarooq hit a powerslam for two because Kane made the save. Bradshaw back in with a bearhug on X-Pac, who fought out of it and Bradshaw hit an elbow drop for two. X-Pac got a boot to the face, but when he wanted a spin kick, Bradshaw caught him. X-Pac hit a Tornado DDT out of the corner to no reaction. Kane tagged in, clothesline off the top on Bradshaw, kick to Faarooq and Kane clotheslined Faarooq out of the ring. JBL with a kick to Kane’s face. Kane got a hold of Bradshaw and hit a Chokeslam for the pinfall.

Bradshaw has been eliminated

X-Pac jumped off the top rope with a spinning heel kick on Kane and he landed on top of Kane for the pinfall. Kane kicked out right after the two count. Kane was mad about it.

Kane has been eliminated

Faarooq sent X-Pac out of the ring. X-Pac slipped out of a slam attempt and hit a DDT on the floor. Back in the ring, Faarooq with a spinebuster. Faarooq went for a move off the middle ropes, Faarooq jumped off and X-Factor did the X-Factor (sort of) into the mat for the pinfall.

Winner: X-Pac

Analysis: *3/4 This was below average with a bad finish since the final X-Factor wasn’t responded to well. The crowd was not into this at all. Even though X-Pac was the smallest guy in the match, he found a way to get the win. The fans just didn’t care.

The Rock was shown in the trainer’s room again while people there put bandages around Rock’s ribs.

The video package aired for the main event – Triple H defending the WWE Title against Steve Austin. Hunter attacked Austin after SummerSlam. Austin spoke about how Hunter had hell to pay when he gets back. They showed the main event of the Six-Pack Challenge at Unforgiven one month prior to this. Triple H beat The Rock with a Pedigree (after a chairshot from British Bulldog to Rock) and Austin had to count the pin. That set up this Triple H/Austin match. They even did a cheesy bit where Hunter said that a rattlesnake bit him in the face and then there was some ridiculous makeup on his face. Hunter did it to fool Austin, so Hunter attacked Austin in the locker room and took the makeup on his face. Hunter made it clear to Austin that the WWE Title means more to him than it does to Austin.

The legendary “Stone Cold” Steve Austin made his entrance to a huge pop. This was the loudest pop of the night. Triple H was up next as the WWE Champion for his first PPV title defense. Hunter brought the sledgehammer with him, but Vince McMahon took the sledgehammer from him and Hunter punched Vince.

No Holds Barred Match for the WWE Title: Hunter Hearst Helmsley (Triple H) vs. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin

Pre-match notes: Triple H was the heel WWE Champion while Austin was the babyface challenger.

Austin punched Triple H while in the aisle and they brawled around the entrance era. They were over by the technical era. They got into a slugfest with Austin working over Hunter with punches. Austin jumped off a railing with a clothesline. They were fighting on a hardwood flair were the Cleveland Cavaliers played and Austin hit Hunter with a trash can. Austin whipped Hunter into the barricade and ran Hunter over with a steel guard rail. They went brawling into the crowd, Austin was in control for most of it. Austin got a crutch from a fan and he used the crutch on Hunter’s back. They were back by the entrance and Austin used the boom camera to hit Hunter in the head although it was obvious that Hunter avoided it, but he still had to sell it. Austin hit a suplex while they were in the aisle. Austin with a clothesline. Austin suplexed Hunter on the barricade leading to a clothesline. Austin teased a piledriver while they were in the crowd, but Hunter turned it into a back body drop. Hunter teased a Pedigree, Austin tripped him up and Austin did a catapult that sent Hunter into referee Mike Chioda, who bumped on the floor. Hunter finally got control sending Austin into the announce table and sent Austin into the ring. Austin managed to hit a Stone Cold Stunner shortly after that, but there was no referee to count the pin. Austin brought Chioda back into the ring. Hunter was back up, Chioda was on the apron so Hunter shoved Austin into Chioda, who bumped into the barricade. Hunter hit a Pedigree, he went for a cover, Earl Hebner slid into the ring to count and Hunter got a two count. Hunter shoved Hebner, so Hebner shoved him back. Austin sent Hunter into the ropes leading to a Thesz Press followed by the punches and the elbow smash for two. Austin tossed Hunter over the top to the floor.

They were brawling on the floor again with Austin tossing over Hunter announce table. Triple H did a blade job because he came up bleeding, so Austin punched him repeatedly. Austin was choking Hunter with a cable around the throat. Back in the ring, Austin beat on Hunter with punches for a two count. Austin threw Hunter out of the ring and into the steel steps two times. Austin choked Hunter with a cable again, but this time Hunter hit Austin in the head with the ring bell. Hunter hit Austin with the ring bell again. Hunter suplexed Austin onto the announce table. The table was not cleared off and the table did not break. They were back into the ring with Hunter choking Austin with his boot. Hunter went for a knee drop, Austin moved, but Hunter hit a kick to the leg and Hunter hit a chop block to the left knee. Hunter drove Austin’s left knee around the ring post. Back in the ring, Hunter jumped on Austin’s left knee. Hunter slammed Austin’s left knee into the mat. Austin kicked Hunter into the turnbuckle, but Hunter kicked the left leg. Hunter wrenched on the left leg, so Austin used his right leg to break free. Hunter with a facebuster into the knee for two. Hunter left the ring, brought in a steel chair and Austin did a gut kick. Austin grabbed the chair, but Hunter came back with a kick and clothesline. Austin set up Triple H on the top rope, Austin with punches and Austin hit a superplex off the middle rope. They fought for possession of the steel chair, Austin with a kick to the gut and a steel chair to the head (Hunter got a hand up to block). Austin beat on Triple H with repeated chair shots to the legs similar to what Hunter did to Austin at SummerSlam. After Austin posed for a bit, Hunter hit a low blow punch. Rock walked down to the ring with a sledgehammer while his ribs were taped. Rock swung the sledgehammer, Triple H moved and Rock hit Austin in the ribs with the sledgehammer! Hunter kicked Rock in the ribs and hit a Pedigree. Hunter covered Austin and got the pinfall win at 21:53.

Winner by pinfall: Triple H

Analysis: ***3/4 This was a great match that was full of action. Austin was on offense for most of it, Hunter took a beating and bled like he would do many times in his career in major title matches. It’s worth pointing out that they didn’t do a chinlock or any rest hold in the match. It was a brawl full of action for 20 minutes, so these guys had great cardio to be able to keep going at that pace. Austin nearly got the win after all of those chairshots to the body, but then Rock showed up for payback and accidentally cost Austin the win. Triple H winning in a manner like that where he capitalized on Rock hitting Austin was perfect for Hunter. It fit his character perfectly. If you want to watch the best Triple H/Austin match, check out my No Way Out 2001 review here. By having Triple H beat Austin, it helped to solidify Triple H as the top heel even though it wasn’t a clean victory overall.

Post match, Triple H left with the WWE Title. Austin went after Hunter from behind with a forearm to the back. Austin and Hunter went fighting in the backstage area. Austin sent Hunter into some equipment cases back there. There was a limo out in the parking lot. Chyna was there telling Hunter to come with her, so Hunter got in the limo with the WWE Title.

Analysis: This was supposed to set up Triple H vs. The Rock vs. Steve Austin for the WWE Title at Survivor Series 1999 one month later. Sadly, that match didn’t happen and Big Show replaced Austin, who had to have neck surgery soon after while missing nearly one year of action. A triple threat between Hunter, Rock and Austin would have been huge. Sadly, it was not meant to be.

This event had a runtime of 2:44:07 on WWE Network.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

Show rating (out of 10): 6.5

It’s a two-match show basically with the incredible Ladder Match and the entertaining main event sticking out above the rest. A lot of people remember the show for the Jeff Jarrett situation because of how rare it was for a guy to work a show with an expired deal only to negotiate a huge payday. Plus, Chyna as the first women’s Intercontinental Champion was a big deal.

I highly recommend the Ladder Match if you’ve never seen it. The match was a lot of fun to watch again all these years later.

 

FIVE STARS

  1. The Hardy Boyz
  2. Edge & Christian
  3. Triple H
  4. Steve Austin
  5. The Rock

 

OPINIONS

Best Match: The Hardy Boyz vs. Edge & Christian (****1/2 out of 5) – It was the WWE Match of the Year and a true breakout match for these four guys.

Worst Match: Fabulous Moolah vs. Ivory (-1/2*) – Really bad. As I wrote above, truly a low point in the women’s division.

Most Memorable Moment: The ending of the tag team ladder match.

That’s all for me. Check out the full list of my WWE PPV Review archive right here. Thanks for reading.

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My contact info is below.

John Canton

Email mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter @johnreport